PinoyXPat

A Pinoy Expatriate’s Insane Musings

Helpful Website For Expatriates: 10best.com

Posted by Marvin on September 18, 2007

One of the few perks of being an expatriate is the opportunity to travel. In my case, this is actually anti-climactic…

Prior to being an expatriate here in the U.S., I’ve been living via a suitcase and sleeping in business class lounges all over the world already. Case in point: I accumulated 400,000 frequent flyer miles prior to moving to California. The routine is typical airport-hotel-office-hotel-office-airport…In other words, no time to enjoy the place I’m visiting.

But now, travel is not as hectic and furious as before. I now have time to enjoy a city’s sights. And this is what 10best.com aims to to: assist travelers in enjoying a particular place.

10bestx.png

Most of the world’s key cities are represented and profiled into various 10 best lists…hence the name of the site: 10best.com. Such a no-brainer…

They have six (6) major headings: Events, Hotels & Lodgings, Nightlife, Restaurants, Shopping and Sights & Activities. Other cities have additional headings like A Day In The City, Local Transportation and the section Voted Best of the City – where readers vote their best selections. Basically everything that a traveler (whether on business or pleasure) would be interested in when visiting a foreign land. Each of these headings are further subdivided into more detailed 10 best lists like Asian food under Restaurants…

As much information is provided for each listing – price, operating hours, address/location, website, description and recommendations, user ratings and reviews. This site is a busy travelers wet dream…No more time spent on researching a place, no more questions to the hotel concierge (whose recommendations are basically biased and tainted) and no more bugging your hosts – you can basically enjoy the city by yourself.

Definitely for the busy traveler…

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Posted in Rave | 1 Comment »

Philippine Propaganda 101: Masters of Distortion

Posted by Marvin on September 17, 2007

Propaganda…

Such a big, high-brow word but one to which we are exposed to everyday via the relentless, omnipresent media. Ideally, the media should be able to distinguish the various forms of propaganda and shield the gullible masses from half-truths and lies from personalities. Unfortunately, “sound bites” sell newspapers…and so things fall through the cracks so to speak…

What is propaganda anyway?

Propaganda is the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist.”– Garth S. Jowett and Victoria O’Donnell, Propaganda And Persuasion

This definition is still too complicated for me…Let’s try some recent examples:

“…MANILA, Philippines — Freed communist leader Jose Maria Sison hurled invectives at Malacañang, calling President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo a “demon infant” who “fooled” the Dutch government into believing he was a murderer.In a phone interview, the 68-year-old Sison said his release confirmed that Manila simply filed trumped-up charges against him.“My release only proves that the Dutch government was fooled by National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales and the demon infant Arroyo,” he said…”
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

What does this example say to the readers? Joma is innocent. However, it you dive deep enough and actually look at the actual decision (very few readers have actually seen this) by the Dutch court, it will be evident that:

  • The Court rejects the demand of the Public Prosecutor and recommends termination of the accused’s remand in custody. The Court basically set the accused free but did NOT make any binding ruling on the charges themselves. It just says that based on the preliminary evidence, Sison should not be remanded to the custody of the government. Is Joma correct in saying that the court exonerated him? Not in a long shot…but his statements extoll this perception as fact. Half-truths…Hmmm…Classic example of propaganda…
  • The Court further states that “…There are also indications that the accused is still playing a leading role in the (underground) activities of the CC, the CPP and the NPA….” Joma keeps on denying that he is the one leading the rebels – always insisting that he is just a “consultant”. Wow! He must be the most powerful consultant I’ve ever known. Imagine folks in the hills follow his pronoucements even if he is cavorting free and eating three square meals a day in the relative safety of Utrecht. The Court looked at the preliminary evidence and deemed that this is NOT the case. Hmmm…Again, classic propaganda tactic by Joma…

The bottom line is this: The case against Joma is still alive. The only difference is that he will not be in custody from now until the trial starts. Joma should give the Dutch authorities more credit. They are not that gullible enough to be “fooled” by Malacanang…

Let’s try another example:

“…Sison described his 17-day stay at a prison center in The Hague as “torturous” and reminded him of his days in jail during the martial rule of former president Ferdinand Marcos. “I remember the time I spent in solitary confinement during the time of the late dictator President Ferdinand Marcos. They interrogated me every day and there was an overheated electric bulb overhead,” he said…”
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Joma is really laying it on thick on this one. He is basically comparing the Dutch government with Marcos’. The reality is that the Dutch government is one of the most progressive governments in the European Union and is averse to any maltreatment of prisoners. Pinapalabas ni Joma na sobra siyang nahirapan with flowery figures of speech like the “overheated electric bulb” comparison. Grow up! If the Dutch government is anything like the Marcos regime, you bet your Ho Chi Minh smile that you will not even notice the light bulb as you will be having an intense and “electric conversation” with Sgt. Jun “Jumper” Corriente about your bulbs. OA masyado itong si Joma! Shaping perceptions by false comparisons…Hmmm…Classic propaganda tactic…

From one fool to another fool:

“…MANILA, Philippines — Senator Ana Consuelo “Jamby” Madrigal on Friday urged Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Ma. Sison to file a case against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales for “malicious prosecution”…”
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Misguided…That’s one polite word to describe Madrigal. Media-hungry and “kulang sa pansin” are other apt decriptions but I won’t go into that. She is asking Joma to sue GMA and Gonzalez for “malicious prosecution”. The truth is that the Dutch case was prompted by the filing of murder charges in the Netherlands by the widows of Romulo Kintanar and Arturo Tabara. These poor widows are the plaintiffs while the prosecutors are the Public Prosecution Service of the Dutch government. The Philippine government provided information but the final decision on prosecuting Sison rests with the Dutch authorities. Talk about barking at the wrong tree.

At the end of the day, Joma’s case is about the senseless killing of two men dialectically opposite him in beliefs who have been freed from captivity and are looking at a different way of pursuing their dreams and aspirations.

This woman tends to overestimate the clout of the Philippine government. Kung Singapore nga na kapitbahay natin – hindi natin nakumbinsi na palayain si Flor Contemplacion, isang bansa pa kaya sa Europa? Misdirection or redirecting blame to others to further one’s plans and ambitions…Hmmm…Ito ang classic propaganda

Here’s another sore loser example…As they say, nobody ever really loses in the Philippines. Laging dinaya‘Ika nga

“…The NBN deal has been in the news over the past two weeks because of allegations of bribery and overpricing. Nueva Vizcaya Rep. Carlos Padilla accused Commission on Elections Chair Benjamin Abalos Sr. of brokering the deal and of receiving sexual favors from ZTE.AHI cofounder Jose “Joey” de Venecia III also said Abalos offered him $10 million in exchange for backing off from the deal…”
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

The “Liar, liar…Pants on fire!” routine is quite popular in the Philippines. One of the propaganda pitfalls is the fact that people tend to believe the whistle blower especially in cases of major scandals. In the case of the NBN deal, Joey de Venecia III has put on the mantle of Sir Galahad against the corrupt infidels. But before we extol him and his cause, let’s look at his case first. He is the son of Jose de Venecia, Speaker of the House of Representatives and is the co-founder and major stakeholder of Amsterdam Holding Inc. or AHI. AHI lost the NBN deal to a Chinese company. Questions:

  • Why did AHI submit an unsolicited bid? Why gate crash a party so to speak? Aren’t they part of the government list of qualified suppliers? If they are not in the list, why? Can they even undertake the project of this scale?
  • How did they find out about the NBN bid? If you are not invited, who do you know that will help you with inside info?
  • Section 5 of the Anti-Graft and Corruption Practices Act indicates that “…it shall be unlawful for the spouse or for any relative by consanguinity or affinity, within the third civil degree of the President of the Philippines, Vice-President of the Philippines, Philippine Senate President, Speaker of the House, to intervene directly or indirectly, in any business, transaction, contract, or application with the government…”. Does Joey de Venecia know this? An unsolicitied bid constitutes intervention in my book. Granted that this is an honest bid, de Venecia should have inhibited himself out of delicadeza

Folks who would like to stay clean should be careful about engaigng in a mud-throwing contest while in a muddy field…There is a good chance that you’ll have mud in your face even before you even throw the first shot…Sabi nga ni Joey de Leon: “Explain before you complain!” Hmmm…Propaganda again…

Be discerning…Don’t swallow everything – hook, line and sinker…Things are not as simple as it seems…

Posted in Links, Peeve, Rave | 2 Comments »

Your Taxes At Work: Philippine Senators’ Legislative Performance (Or Non-Performance)

Posted by Marvin on September 14, 2007

After the 2007 senatorial elections, I woke up to the sad fact that we as a people are nitwits when it comes to selecting leaders specific to our republican form of government. Filipinos still fail to grasp the basic fact that the Senate is a national legislative body – it is NOT a body for people who excel in executive action, it is NOT a body for popular personalities, it is NOT a body of people who shout loudly at the top of their lungs in order to get attention. The Senate is the upper chamber of Congress whose main function is to craft laws. Being composed of people with no direct constituents, the expectation is that the Philippine Senate will tackle bills/laws of national scope and importance. This is not the venue for parochial, inter-barangay or ordinance-like bills – leave that to the House of Representatives and to the thousands of municipal councils out there. In other words, you need to be properly equipped to be in the Senate.

The 14th Congress of the Republic of the Philippines opened last June. It’s been about 2 months since then…Ano na ba ang ginagawa ng mga senador ngayon? People mainly see all of their useless investigations (in aid of legislation kuno…more in aid of their popularity). But looking at their core competency (crafting laws), how are they performing?

Remember: Your taxes are paying for the Senate. Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago  mentioned in a radio interview that senators normally get P43,000 per month as their base salary. In addition, they get around P1.3 Million per month for their staff. Yes folks…senators are not solomonic in their wisdom – they need a staff of people to coach them on what to say and when to say it, research bills for them and basically be at their beck and call. Add to this, travel allowances for “official” trips within the country and abroad. And before I forget, senators are also given individual pork barrel funds. I am not privy to the number but let’s just say it’s P200 Million each annually for simplicity’s sake (the actual number might be higher than this). All in all, each senator gets an annual salary of P516,000 PLUS an annual staff allowance of  P15,600,000 PLUS their pork barrel of P200,000,000 PLUS travel and other allowances which I can’t estimate at this point. Bottom-line: P216.116 Million per senator per year or P18.00 Million per senator per month. That’s a lot of money not to mention taxpayer’s blood, toil, tears and sweat!

How then do our esteemed senators use this money for the betterment of the Filipino nation? Tough question? Surprisingly, the answer is available to the public via the website of the Philippine Senate . Let us take a look at their performance (June-July 2007):

SENATOR: Angara, Edgardo
BILLS FILED: 78
EXAMPLE OF BILLS FILED:
Renewable Energy Reserves Act of 2007 (filed June 30)
Children’s Health Insurance Program (filed June 30)
Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers (filed June 30)
Compressed Workweek/Flextime Arrangement (filed July 3)
[PinoyXPat: Angara’s experience in legislation is clearly evident here. Most of his bills are national in scope and addresses key areas where legislation is either lacking or inadequate.]

SENATOR: Aquino III, Benigno
BILLS FILED: 1
EXAMPLE OF BILLS FILED:
Workers’ Productivity Incentives Act of 2007 (filed July 26)
[PinoyXPat: He’s probably in the throes of the neophyte jinx. Or maybe he’s emulating his father, the late Sen. Benigno Aquino, Jr. – who is not known for being prodigous when it comes to legislation. My advice: Don’t even try emulating your father’s senatorial performance. You lack several key things of which he has tons of: wit, charisma and a brilliant mind for starters…]

SENATOR: Arroyo, Joker
BILLS FILED: 0
EXAMPLE OF BILLS FILED:
None.
[PinoyXPat: Say it ain’t so Jo(ker)…One of my favorite legislators because of his brilliant mind and the power of his arguments. Tumatanda na yata si Joker…I’d hate to give you the “Kalabasa Award” given your brilliant stint as congressman and senator…]

SENATOR: Biazon, Rodolfo
BILLS FILED: 44
EXAMPLE OF BILLS FILED:
Public School Teachers Tax Incentive Act (filed July 3)
Anti-Torture Act (filed June 30)
AFP Chief of Staff (Fixed Term) (filed June 30)
[PinoyXPat: I must say, Biazon has developed from a bumbling neophyte senator to someone whom I would call “average/above average”….The former goat of the Philippine Military Academy must be saying to himself: “Gedemit kadit! Who’s the goat now?”]

SENATOR: Cayetano, Pia
BILLS FILED: 32
EXAMPLE OF BILLS FILED:
Mt. Balatukan Range Natural Park Act of 2007 (filed July 4)
Granting The Governor The Power To Solemnize Marriages (filed July 4)
Anti-Drunk Driving Act of 2007 (filed July 3)
[PinoyXPat: Iha…Second-term mo na sa Senado…You should start shaping up! Most of the bills she filed are for the creation of obscure national parks. Remember that the environment is only one of the many focus areas of a senator. What the #$%^? Is giving governors the power to marry people a critical need of the country?]

SENATOR: Cayetano, Alan
BILLS FILED: 0
EXAMPLE OF BILLS FILED:
None.
[PinoyXPat: Zero…Itlog…Kalabasa…Cayetano is being true to himself and being consistent. He was a do-nothing congressman…He is a do-nothing senator now…Hoy Tisoy! Tigil-tigilan mo ang pagpapogi sa camera at sa pagsali-sali sa mga kung anu-anong imbestigasyon na wala namang katuturan! Sayang ang buwis ng taong-bayan sa yo!]

SENATOR: Defensor-Santiago, Miriam
BILLS FILED: 189
EXAMPLE OF BILLS FILED:
Battered Women’s Testimony Act of 2007 (filed July 24)
Anti-Discrimination Act (filed July 24)
Government Recycling Act of 2007 (filed July 18)
National Drug & Crime Emergency Act (filed July 5)
Government Data Privacy Protection Act of 2007 (filed July 4)
Anti-Hazing Law (filed July 4)
[PinoyXPat: Quite prolific…Seasoned legislator…]

SENATOR: Estrada, Jinggoy
BILLS FILED: 430
EXAMPLE OF BILLS FILED:
Breast Care Centers (filed July 3)
Prostate Cancer Public Awareness Act (filed July 3)
Ambulant Vendors Protection Act (filed July 3)
Aviation Noise Limit Act (filed July 3)
Mother’s Day Act (filed July 3)
Electoral Fraud (filed July 2)
[PinoyXpat: Aba…Mukhang nabasa ng isa sa mga staff niya ang blog entry ko tungkol kay Erap/Mini-Me…[link here]…Champion pag dating sa paramihan…But looking at the quality of the bills – very parochial…Pang-munisipyo ika nga…Protecting ambulant vendors – I just hope this is not similar to that STUPID Lina Law protecting squatters! Aviation noise and Mother’s Day – kritikal ba ito sa bansa? Folks, don’t be fooled by the numbers – I looked at his other bills and I think he is listed as co-authors of other bills filed by other senators…Not all his bills are originally his…“It’s not the numbers mate…It’s the content and substance…”]

SENATOR: Enrile, Juan Ponce
BILLS FILED: 16
EXAMPLE OF BILLS FILED:
Value-Added Tax Exemption on Sale of Services (filed July 25)
Philippine Anti-Trust Act (filed June 30)
[PinoyXPat: The quintessential political gadfly…I may spit on his principles (or lack thereof) but his performance in the senate is quite exemplary…He filed only a few bills but these are quite noteworthy in its scope and impact…] 

SENATOR: Escudero, Francis
BILLS FILED: 13
EXAMPLE OF BILLS FILED:
Anti-Influence Peddling Act of 2007 (filed July 17)
[PinoyXPat: Neophyte beady-eyed senator…Got his baptism of fire when he was verbally “bitch-slapped” by Miriam during interpellations…Marami pang bigas na kakainin…

SENATOR: Gordon, Richard
BILLS FILED: 29
EXAMPLE OF BILLS FILED:
Used Motor Vehicles Regulations Act of 2007 (filed July 16)
Volunteer Act of 2007 (filed June 30)
Disaster Preparedness & Mitigation Act of 2007 (filed June 30)
[PinoyXPat: I think some of his bills merit discussion within the Senate. His bill on disaster preparedness is something which should be considered as the Philippines has been declared as the “most disaster-prone country in the world” e.g. volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, typhoons etc. Had the Indian Ocean tsunami hit the Philippines, we might have been blown back to the Stone Age given our level of preparedness…]

SENATOR: Honasan, Gregorio
BILLS FILED: 2
EXAMPLE OF BILLS FILED:
National Security Act of 2007 (filed June 30)
[PinoyXPat: It is surprising that Honasan would file a bill on national security…The better to undermine the republic should he pull another coup attempt again? Imagine this, a disgraced soldier who led coup attempts to destroy the democratic pillars of the country – now crafting laws for the very republic he once tried to destroy? What can I say? We are nitwits when it comes to selecting leaders.]

SENATOR: Lacson, Panfilo
BILLS FILED: 27
EXAMPLE OF BILLS FILED:
Philippine Air Force Academy (filed June 30)
National Reference Card System Act of 2007 (filed June 30)
Wiretapping (filed June 30)
[PinoyXPat: May na-file din naman palang bill itong isang ito…Akala ko walang inatupag ito kung hindi mag-imbestiga ng kung anu-anong bagay…He reminds me of the velociraptors in “Jurassic Park”, they keep on attacking the electrified fence but never the same place twice – methodically looking for the weak spots of the government…And to what end and for whose benefit?  This guy scares the hell out of me…]

SENATOR: Lapid, Lito
BILLS FILED: 44
EXAMPLE OF BILLS FILED:
Caregiver Act of 2007 (filed July 3)
Senior Citizen’s Discount on Petroleum Products (filed July 3)
Medical Tourism Act (filed June 30)
Road Safety for Children’s Act (filed June 30)
[PinoyXPat: He surprised me…I wasn’t expecting much but he actually filed 44 bills…Wow! And some of them are not that bad (for his caliber that is)…]

SENATOR: Legarda, Loren
BILLS FILED: 97
EXAMPLE OF BILLS FILED:
Journalist Welfare & Reputation Act of 2007 (filed July 26)
Productivity Incentives Act of 2007 (filed July 4)
Botica sa Barangay Act (filed June 30)
Islamic Calendar (filed June 30)
[PinoyXPat: The political butterfly (or was it prostitute as Col. Victor Corpuz once so eloquently retorted)…What’s this about the Islamic Calendar bill? Is she courting the Muslim, pro-FPJ votes?]

SENATOR: Madrigal, Jamby
BILLS FILED: 18
EXAMPLE OF BILLS FILED:
Balinsasayao Twin Lakes Natural Park (filed June 30)
Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation (Repealing) (filed June 30)
[PinoyXPat: I must say it…This woman was only elected to the Senate because the gullible masses liked Judy Ann Santos – not because Madrigal deserved to be elected…Kaya hindi ko talaga mapapatawad itong si Juday eh…Hindi niya alam kung ano ang resulta ng endorsement niya…Just look at what she’s doing in the Senate. Bills about national parks? Aren’t there more important things? Repealing the Oil Deregulation Law? She probably thinks this will reduce the price of petroleum…Somebody should teach this woman that petroleum is expensive EVERYWHERE…Here in California, people are grumbling about gas…If the most powerful nation on earth couldn’t bring down the price of gas, does she think the Philippine Senate can? A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing…especially if you’re in the Senate…]

SENATOR: Pangilinan, Francis
BILLS FILED: 29
EXAMPLE OF BILLS FILED:
Overseas Filipinos Investment Act (filed July 18)
University of the Philippines Charter of 2007 (filed June 30)
Alien Social Integration Act of 2007 (filed June 30)
[PinoyXPat: This senator makes sense…His bills are a reflection of this fact…]

SENATOR: Pimentel, Aquilino
BILLS FILED: 66
EXAMPLE OF BILLS FILED:
Foreign Consultants Identity Disclosure (filed July 4)
Private Hospital Assistance Act of 2007 (filed July 4)
Total Log Ban (filed June 30)
[PinoyXPat: It’s hard for me to make a rational assessment…My respect for this man turned to revulsion the moment that he joined forces with Erap – the very man he tried to impeach…Politics really do make strange bedfellows…]

SENATOR: Revilla Jr., Ramon
BILLS FILED: 105
EXAMPLE OF BILLS FILED:
Tanodbata Act (filed July 3)
Seniors Safety Act of 2007 (filed July 3)
Anti-Drag Racing Act (filed June 30)
National Film Archive (filed June 30)
[PinoyXPat: Another suprising performance…He has now exceeded his father’s performance in the Senate i.e. Revilla Sr. was the  ertswhile chairman of the  Committee on Silence…]

SENATOR: Roxas, Mar
BILLS FILED: 34
EXAMPLE OF BILLS FILED:
LPG Industry Act of 2007 (filed July 5)
Lemon Law Act of 2007 (filed June 30)
[PinoyXPat: A lot of consumer-related bills along the lines of his “Mr. Palengke” persona…Preparation for the presidency?]

SENATOR: Trillanes IV, Antonio
BILLS FILED: 10
EXAMPLE OF BILLS FILED:
P125 Daily Across The Board Wage Increase (filed July 3)
[PinoyXPat: This is insane…First, we elected a coup plotter with a Messiah complex to the Senate. Then he files a bill basically dictating the wage of workers. The Senate is not the body to dictate the wage of workers – it should be left to what the market can bear. Also, prescriptive legislation and market forces don’t mix…He might as well file a bill repealing the Law of Supply & Demand…Will somebody please teach this boy the basics….please…or better yet wake him up from his megalomania…]

SENATOR: Villar, Manuel
BILLS FILED: 135
EXAMPLE OF BILLS FILED:
Credit Card Fraud Act (filed July 4)
Reduction of Metals In Packaging Act (filed July 4)
Prison Reform (filed June 30)
Books for the Barrios Act (filed June 30)
[PinoyXPat: Another seasoned senator…Or magaling lang ang legislative staff niya?

SENATOR: Zubiri, Juan Miguel
BILLS FILED: 1
EXAMPLE OF BILLS FILED:
Renewable Energy Act of 2007 (filed June 30)
[PinoyXPat: Since he was the last senator to be declared winner, he probably didn’t have enough time to prepare much…Hanggang ngayon kasi naghahabol pa itong anak ni Pimentel eh…]

There you have it folks…It is essentially a mixed bag. From a purely legislative point of view, some senators did well while others are mediocre with the mental performance of sea slugs (with apologies to the sea slugs). The much-coveted “Kalabasa Award” goes to Alan Peter Cayetano for essentially doing nothing while Antonio Trillanes gets the “Repeal the Law of Supply & Demand Award” for his utter lack of understanding of macroeconomic principles…Jinggoy gets the “Trying-Hard-To-Be-Senator Medal”

Posted in Introspection, Peeve, Rave | 22 Comments »

National Milestone: Convicting A President

Posted by Marvin on September 12, 2007

After a loooooong hiatus due to my disillusionment and disenchantment with the results of the senatorial elections, the ascerbic East Bay Pinoy expatriate is back online! Hold the applause and insults please.

The Philippines found itself back in the international limelight yesterday by doing something that no other government in recent memory has done: convicting a former president for the crime of plunder…again another unique crime under the Philippine criminal and justice system.

This is a breath of fresh air…This is what I would call a “national milestone” for the country. Sad to say, the Philippines have never been known for digging its heels and sticking to its principles. We have countless examples of rescinded business deals and awards, legislation repealed, convictions overturned, proclamations deemed unconstitutional…Let’s face it, we lack political will.

Not anymore…We have convicted Joseph Ejercito, a former President of the Republic, for the crime of plunder and sentenced him to reclusion perpetua.

We have finally learned the lessons of history (we let Marcos, Imelda and their mobster family get away with murder as well as our millions), conquered our bleeding heart culture (“Let’s pardon him…He has suffered enough…Kawawa naman siya…Malabo na ang mata at may problema pa sa tuhod…”), controlled our security paranoia (“Siguradong mag-aalsa ang mga kampon ni Erap kagaya nina Binay, Lacson, Rez Cortez etc. para ibagsak ang gobyerno…”) and basically said that NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW

“Fiat justitia ruat caelum…(Let justice be done though the heavens fall…)”

—-o0o—-

Consistent with the typical Filipino trait of blaming everyone but himself…Erap blamed everyone except himself for his dilemna. Vitriol spewed forth from his mouth against Malacanang, Luis “Chavit” Singson and the elite/educated class.

He is now saying that he gambled on getting justice from the Sandiganbayan as he will never get justice from the impeachment trial. A gamble which he lost. These statements don’t make sense. Consider the following:

  • Erap was NEVER impeached by the Senate. Recycle your neurons now…The trial was progressing with the Senate as the impeachment tribunal. However, Erap’s minions used their numbers in ensuring that the second envelope’s contents will never be known. FLASHBACK: Oreta doing the tribal “Dance of Joy”…Osmena smiling like the cat that ate the pink canary…Legarda crying like a banshee then but supporting Erap like a heart-lung machine now…Pimentel choking up and explaining his vote for opening the envelope then but leading the “Restore the Erap Monarchy Movement” now…So the statement that he will never get justice from the impeachment trial is baloney! He rigged the trial so that he will not be convicted.
  • Erap’s legal team blew it. They were pandering to the media and to the bleeding heart populace when the real battle is inside the court room. The old fogeys think that the media will judge their client…BIG MISTAKE. Flaminiano and Saguisag blew it big time. Singson said it so eloquently: “…They should look at their own lawyers, especially Rene Saguisag. He is just bad luck, he has never won a major case in his life. Our prosecutors did their homework while they resorted to publicity stunts. Saguisag argued his case in media rather than in court, so why should they wonder if the justices voted unanimously?…” Chavit can really say the darnest things and still make perfect sense…
  • Erap was not able to destroy the credibility of the key witnesses. Clarissa Ocampo basically said that Erap was Jose Velarde and Saguisag and his minions could not destroy or shake her testimony. Other witnesses were also pretty solid in their testimonies. Instead of refuting the statements or presenting evidence to the contrary, Erap’s lawayers used the “our-client-is-the-victim-of-a-conspiracy” card time and time again…
  • Erap didn’t quit while he was ahead…Instead of fleeing the coop, he was left holding the bag of rotten eggs. Where are his minions now? Charlie “Atong” Ang fled to the U.S., was captured and turned state’s witness against him. Lucio Co has vanished into thin air. Same goes for Dante Tan (of BW fame) and Jaime Dichaves. Mark “The Business Genius” Jimenez is doing some weird stuff right now and has become quite creepy after his U.S. incarceration.
  • Erap is the prosecution’s best witness….He basically buried himself…He admitted he was Jose Velarde. He said that he was using that name to help a friend (which in itself is a potential crime). He said that some of the money came from jueteng. The litany goes on and on…Talk about shooting yourself in the foot using your mouth! Or maybe he thinks that the Sandiganbayan is a movie set where he could use his screen persona “Diegong Daga” to weasel his way out of a conviction?

—-o0o—-

As this is a high-profile case, the focus of attention is centered around the disgraced former President. Unbeknownst to most of us, the trial wouldn’t have reached this stage without the dedication and hard work of the prosecution team led by Special Prosecutor Dennis Villa-Ignacio. The team is composed of Deputy Special Prosecutors Robert Kallos, John Torralba, Raymond Julio Olaguer and Humphrey Monteroso. This also includes former Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo who started the whole thing off driving the case against Estrada. These guys have slaved for years preparing and presenting the case while dodging immense political pressures (and getting paid the paltry government rate at that). Some of them even threatened to resign out of principle if the court will succumb to Estrada’s whims.

Gentlemen: The Filipino people owe you a debt of gratitude which could never be repaid. Maraming salamat at mabuhay kayong lahat…

Posted in Introspection, Peeve, Rave | 3 Comments »

Winners-Losers…Whoever Wrote This Should Be Glorified…

Posted by Marvin on June 18, 2007

The Philippine elections have been over and done with for over a month but I have yet to force myself to write a post-mortem. Like an autopsy, my stomach is in a maelstrom everytime I force myself to think about that comical political exercise.  The only good thing is that we have other characters out there who can instantly transform my vomiting and nausea attacks into loose bowel movements (the ubiquitous LBM): Philippine showbiz personalities.

I’ve switched from surfing Inquirer.net to surfing the Philippine Entertainment Portal….Not because I like the reports but because the posts and comments there are as funny and demented as my own rantings. Kris, Ruffa, Ylmaz…These are my new favorite whipping boys!  WAPAKKKK!!!!!

Fortunately for me, somebody else felt the exact same way and formalized it in an e-mail which has been floating around the Net recently. I got this from a friend of mine but there is no indication as to who wrote it. If anyone out there knows the person’s name or contact details – please let me know. I need to thank and glorify him for a magnificent piece.

Here is the note (with my comments):

Winners Losers : From Kris to Ruffa to Gretchen (Desperate Housewives Philippine Edition)
Or are we reaping some sort of a negative karma to deserve them?
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _

 

The month of June is a good time to review what transpired for the first six months of 2007. For this edition, Conventional Wisdom is focusing on showbiz-related matters instead of the usual politics (which in a way is also show-biz but for ugly people). Read on.

KRIS AQUINO. Loser. While she is the innocent one in the whole James-Hope brouhaha, Conventional Wisdom thinks that she could have handled the incident with more dignity and privacy. One wonders why this drama queen wants to inflict her day-to-day saga with the whole planet. From exaggerating her “life-threatening” pregnancy, to lambasting her husband in public (“O magsalita ka? Totoo naming pina-palayas na kita sa bahay a?”), to actually using Ninoy to promote a cake in her latest commercial. Kris’ next endorsement should neither be beer nor pastries but laundry detergent for her unquenchable desire to always wash her very dirty underwear in public.

MY COMMENTS: Conventional Wisdom hit the nail right on the head. I personally believe that Kristeta has “attention-deficit disorder” – a severe mental disorder more popularly known as “KSP” (Kulang Sa Palo). For an actress who knows how to put on a face or deliver a line, she made such a fuss with that snub on James during her birthday. Gusto talagang magpapansin sa buong Pilipinas…Saying in body language this line: “Hey, look at me I’m snubbing my husband – there must be something wrong with our marriage. Please write about us in the papers…” I’ve got a message for you sister: “Nobody gives a rat’s ass! We don’t care what happens to you, your pugilist-faced husband (parang laging nababalian ng ilong)  and your pointless marriage…So shut up!!!!”

JAMES YAP. Loser. One word : cad. As one writer succinctly said : “What do you expect from a provincial boy who suddenly became famous and wealthy?” The last time we witnessed a showbiz cad was during Gabby Concepcion’s time. James is now second in our list. Conventional Wisdom is giving them maximum of 3 years as a couple. Kris is starting to look more and more mature and matronic. James is still young. Give James sometime, and after Hope – – Faith and Charity will spring forth.

MY COMMENTS: To quote Jules Winfield: “…Correcto mundo…” Frankly, I would have described him using other synonymous words…Like…lout or bastard, boor, creep, heel, knave, louse, rascal, rat, rogue, scoundrel, sleazeball, slimebucket, worm….And my own personal favorite: maggot.

Moral of the story. Smoking is bad for marriage: Kris had Philip, James had Hope. Conventional Wisdom can’t take any more of this!!!

RUFFA GUTIERREZ/ANNABELLE RAMA: The mother and daughter (MAD) team strikes again. From a filmfest scam that made it to CNN, to Brunie-yuki scandal that merited a senate hearing, and now, the falling out with Ylmaz – – which is desperately being peddled out as Philippines vs. Turkey. Oppressor vs. Victim.

RUFFA GUTIERREZ. Loser. A desperate act from a has-been, middle-aged B-actress who is trying to make a come-back by capitalizing on whatever publicity that can be squeezed out from this split. From caterwauling one minute “Hindi ko na kaya Kuya Boy!”, to coyly saying the following week “Ligawan nya (Ylmaz) ulit ako” to having her born-again baptism rites captured on cam and then heading off to Las Vegas the following week to relax and do damage control (about his marriage five years ago in Las Vegas). Ruffa, you’re act is getting stale. You have become so predictable and boring.

MY COMMENTS: Conventional Wisdom is being too kind. I can still remember this so-called actress’ role in the Filmfest Scam…with her brother and Miss Mauritius Viveca Babajee shouting those classic lines: “Ruffa Gutierrez…Take it…Take it…” She should have been indicted and crucified for that scheme. Imagine being so desperate as to steal an award. I still feel that Lolit Solis was the fall guy and that Ruffa should have been put in the slammer. Pasalamat na lang siya dahil mas mukhang preso si Lolit. And now with this latest brouhaha…She is pandering to the (ignorant) masses by saying: “Ako po ang paniwalaan niyo…Ako po ang Pilipino…” Leche! I don’t give a damn even if you are the descendant of Lapu-lapu. I will not defend you just because you are Filipino with only your worthless word as evidence – like what the anti-establishment Gabriela did. In fact, don’t even mention that…Nakakahiya…Just read the posts at the Philippine Entertainment Portal, mas natutuwa pa ang mga tao na gulpihin ka…You’re damaged goods lady! Talk about karma…

ANNABELLE RAMA. Winner. For always a character that she is. For being consistent in her act and for being our constant source of amusement. Conventional Wisdom almost fell off its chair when this motor-mouth fish-wife asked Dolly Ann to return the cosmetics she gave her and then, proceeded on by actually naming two unknown women on national television to pay their debts to her since she now has to take care of Ruffa and her grandchildren: “Hoy, so and so magbayad na kayo ng utang nyo sa akin dahil marami na akong papalamunin ngayon” or something to that effect.

Panalo talaga si Bisaya. I strongly suggest to PGMA that we give this woman a postion in the government preferably as Head of our National Defense. ASAP.

MY COMMENTS: What do you expect from a palengkera, mahadera, or mata-pobre? How would try to reason with someone who admitted on public TV that her sole purpose in life is “maanakan ni Eduardo”? Who acts like a “floor manager” rather than a “talent manager” to her kids?

DOLLY ANN CARVAJAL. Winner and Loser. A lot of people don’t like this woman. For one, she is not pleasing to the eye. Her gay son looks a lot better than she. And admit it or not, she became a writer thru her connections – mom and aunt. But being objective about the whole thing, Conventional Wisdom thinks that Dolly Ann is on the right this time. Why can’t the mother and daughter (MAD) tandem just answer the questions posed by Dolly Ann? Why can’t Annabelle stick to the issues instead of pointing out something we already know: how ugly Dolly Ann is.

What makes Dolly Ann a loser is her constant use of her departed mom’s legacy and memory whenever someone would diss her out. Honey, stop hiding under the skirt of your mom. You are not a sacred cow.

MY COMMENTS: I agree. Enough said.

PIA GUANIO. Loser. What a lousy lousy interviewer. The depth of her talent as a host is as long as her irritating mini skirts. Do us a favor Pia, ask Bossing to marry you already and then fade into oblivion.

MY COMMENTS: Ibalik niyo na lang yang babaeng yan sa dati niyang role: “Traffic Angel Pia”!!!

GRETCHEN BARETTO. Loser. One word : Wow. The affectations of La Greta can only be matched by her delusions of grandeur. From the looks of it, she is experiencing the early on-set of a mid-life crisis. She has been picking fights left and right with Lani Mercado, and then with Dawn Zulueta. From her classic statement about the looks of her own daughter: “Naaawa nga ako dahil karamihan ng tao ang sabi kay Dominique, kamukha sya ng tatay nya?” And now the “friendly beso-beso” lip-lock with John Estrada. Please explain to Conventional Wisdom – – “How can this be a friendly kiss when you and John looked so orgasmic in that shot?”

Gretchen is a classic example of “langaw na nakatungtong sa kalabaw, pero feeling mataas pa sa kalabaw.” Someone should already tell this woman to seek professional help. Sober up and clean your act sister. You are no Paris Hilton. More like Plaster of Paris Hilton.

MY COMMENTS: Sana hambalusin si Gretchen ng tatlong PLDT directory ni Tony Boy para hindi humaba ang nguso…

CESAR MONTANO, RICHARD GOMEZ, MANNY PACQUIAO etc.  Losers. No further explanations needed.

BORGY MANOTOC. Loser. Please. Please. From one scandal to the next. From one basag-ulo to the next. We have enough of you and your sap-sap mouth face. Will someone already put this psycho behind bars?

MY COMMENTS: Sarap sapakin talaga ng mayabang na ito…

BUTCH FRANCISCO & DOLLY ANN AS WRITERS. Losers. Please don’t waste precious newspaper space writing about personal stories that nobody (repeat, nobody!) finds interesting at all. From your maid’s antics to your experience as a judge of Slimmers World Mr. and Ms. Ek-ek, to a current love who inspires you. Please! A tree gave up its life to have these newspaper printed. Have I mentioned that nobody is interested?

BELO’S BILLBOARDS. Loser. Hideous. Plain hideous. Whoever is advising Vicky (I can’t call her Doctora Vicky because as Osang said, she was a mere aerobics instructor before) to put out all those monstrosities should be charged with Human Rights violations. From the disturbing Chrismas billboard last December, to Richard Gomez’s billboard pre-campaign period, to Ai-ai’s scary shot. Conventional Wisdom would rather stare at the billboards of Ellen’s Beauty Salon (with Ellen as the model herself) than see these Belo ads.

NORA AUNOR. Loser. To be a has-been superstar drug dependent in your fifties is bad enough. To be caught doing drugs in another country is worse. To be found-out to have married another woman many years ago for a US green-card is worst. Ate Guy is a classic example of a person blessed with so much talent and opportunity gone to waste.

REGINE VELASQUEZ & OGIE ALCASID. Losers. Regine is what….nearing 40? As someone said “from her demeanor to her utterance, Regine is trying very, very, very hard to hold on to youth.” And if I may add, failing miserably. This home-wrecker who speaks with an American sleng-sleng should act her age. Seeing her kilig-reaction about the admission of Ogie made me lose my appetite for dinner. Conventional Wisdom is really worried that anytime soon, Regine’s face and body will collapse. From her hair extension, her fake long eyelashes, her fake nose, her man-made eye slits, her tooth-caps with gums, and her Gluthathioned skin, her fake boobs. Last we heard, her movie with Piolo flopped big time. Nobody wants to see a May/December love story anymore. Or more correctly, a May 1960/ December 2007 love affair story anymore.

These are the people that are giving Conventional Wisdom constant migraine the past months. If this trend continues until December, aneurysm can’t be far behind.

Pass this on until it reaches the following: Ylmaz Bektas, Mother-in-law of Gretchen, Hope, Vic Sotto, PGMA, Michelle Van Something, Letty Magsanoc, and Gov. Vi.

Posted in Peeve, Rave | 5 Comments »

City Of Makati: When Will You Wake Up?

Posted by Marvin on May 16, 2007

I’ve been remiss in updating this blog. To be blunt about it, I am dog-tired due to work and travel. I’ve been monitoring the elections in the Philippines even when I was away on business to South Africa. The news have not been encouraging…particularly for the City of Makati…

Here’s the latest posting from the Inquirer.net website:

Binay Is Reelected Makati Mayor
Lawrence Casiraya
INQUIRER.net
May 17, 2007

MANILA, Philippines — Reelectionist Jejomar Binay was officially proclaimed winner in the mayoralty race of Makati City on Thursday.Binay garnered a total of 198,814 votes from the city’s two districts while his nearest opponent, Senator Manuel “Lito” Lapid, had 22,462. A third candidate, Elias Dulalia, had 1,243 votes.Binay’s daughter, Marlen Abigail, was proclaimed winner in the second congressional district for garnering a total of 70,904 votes. Her opponent Erwin Genuino, son of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. president and CEO Ephraim Genuino, got 41,191. Reelectionist Representative Teodoro Locsin Jr. was declared winner in the first congressional district after he garnered 85,958 votes. Former councilor Oscar Ibay got 17,489 votes. Ernesto Mercado got 151,971 votes and was proclaimed vice mayor. His opponent, Nemesio Yabut Jr., got 48,456 votes. All the candidates for councilmen in Binay’s ticket, including his son Jejomar Erwin, were also proclaimed winners. Binay said his slate’s sweep of all elective posts was a testament to their sincerity and service to the people.

What the bloody fudge is wrong with this picture? Hanggang kailan maghahari-harian ang mga Binay sa Makati? Baka pati ang apo sa tuhod nitong si Rambotito ay ihalal ng mga taga-Makati? Por Dios por Santo…kampon ng mga tarantado!

I’ve been gritting my teeth and praying for a giant thunderbolt to jolt the people to their senses for the last couple of hours. I need to rationalize the people’s actions somehow or else it could only mean one thing: We really deserve the leaders we get. 

So why did Binay win?

  • A culture of mendicancy pervades Makati. Let’s face it…Binay was elected because he is supported by the poor and indigent citizens of Makati. If you are poor and the future looks bleak, the typical I-me-and-myself mentally kicks in i.e. I will vote for someone who can help me…not my fellow citizens, not the city…but ME. Binay, like every traditional mayor, has perpetuated the KBL approach or “kasal/binyag/libing”. He helps the people during their times of trouble by giving assistance or aid. Is this bad? Not really. Is this good? Not really. If you will note, most of the assistance he provides are palliative in nature. He supports fiestas, sportsfests and keeps the health centers well-stocked. This addresses the poor’s immediate needs – health care, entertainment and food. However, I couldn’t for the life of me understand why the richest city in Manila still has some pretty crummy slums. Have you seen the shanties near the South Cemetery? How about the shanties sourrounding Fort Bonifacio? Why not build decent housing? Why not promote small and medium-scale industries? Why not level all those shanties and replace them with more decent housing? I think it is not in Binay’s best interest to uplift the economic lot of the people of Makati. Economic alleviation goes hand in hand with education and enlightenment. Once people’s eyes are open…he can kiss City Hall good-bye. The sad part is that the poor people of Makati really couldn’t care less about economic alleviation…as long as the mayor gives them lechon for fiesta, pera for kasal and abuloy for libing…Why mess around with a good thing?
  • Binay knows how to hide his millions. Binay was a poor human rights lawyer during the days of Marcos (with emphasis on the verb WAS). After being appointed OIC of Makati during Cory’s inept administration, his net worth started rising until it hit the proverbial roof. How did he do it? Ask Newsbreak Magazine, they ran an article before highlighting the vast ranchos of the Binays in Batangas, their real estate properties and basically their millions. Di naman siguro nila nadiscover and kayamanan ni Yamashita ano? Of course hindi….So papano, nagkamal ng pera ang Rambotito Family? By hiding stuff. One of the reasons why the corruption charges failed to stick is because JesusJosephMary (JE-JO-MAR) knows how to hide his wealth. He doesn’t strut around with fancy clothes, he speaks like a stevedore from Port Area (to make him closer to his people…you should hear him on his radio program) and he knows public relations.
  • The poor people of Makati are illiterate when it comes to mathematics. Binay gets the votes because he “gives back” to the people i.e. ibinabalik ang pera. Unfortunately, Makati folk are not skilled in subtraction. For every 100 pesos the national government allocates to Makati, Binay probably gives back to the people 35 pesos – the rest goes to you know where. Guess which number the people sees? Siyempre yong 35 pesos lang…Nagpapasalamat pa sila dahil binahaginan sila ng pera ni Mayor… 
  • People love an “underdog”. The government has been so “atat” to kick his butt that they’ve given him the mythos of an underdog. And the poor, uneducated lot always go for the underdog…
  • Wrong administration candidates. If you want to kick out the Binay plague from Makati, you will need a Makati resident who has been around. Lito Lapid is not from Makati and the people of Makati will not associate with him.
  • Wrong campaign strategy. The government should not wage an honest campaign against Binay. Binay has been campaigning for the next election the day after the previous elections ended through his dole-outs and pa-charming PR activities with the poor (circumvention of election laws but no one can prove it). The only way to defeat Binay is to beat him in his own game…Dapat mamudmod din ng pera ang gobyerno at para makasigurado – dayain sa bilangan. The poor people will not raise a howl as long as may laman ang sikmura nila, may bubong sa ibabaw nila at may pera sa bulsa. O kaya ipalipat lahat ng squatter sa Makati sa Dasmarinas, Cavite at bigyan ng pabahay. Siguradong mag-rereklamo yang si Binay…Mark my words…

Nakaka-peste talaga ang eleksyon….

Posted in Introspection, Peeve | 5 Comments »

What Could Have Been…

Posted by Marvin on April 30, 2007

I am as tough as they come. Unlike most Filipinos, I call a spade a spade. In fact, my parents feared that I might become one of the “desaparecidos” (or the “disappeared ones”) during the days of Marcos (Remember him? He was a dictator that ruined the country and not just Borgy Manuntok’s “lolo”.). For a 13-year old kid living in a dormitory in Diliman, this is saying a lot.

Okay…Okay…So maybe I’m laying the paint too thick on this one. But suffice to say that during a time when opposition to Marcos was a touchy topic – I plastered his stickers wherever I went. It read: “Marcos for Sale, Tolentino for Rent”…Not exactly Che Guevara revolutionary material…but it is a kid’s revolt against oppression…

Fast forward thirty-one years, I’ve become as cynical as a cynic could be. While reading Dr. Martin Bautista’s blog On My Way Home, he mentioned this particular Youtube video:

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooGtSV7UafI]

The moment I saw the title, I snickered saying this is sooo corny and milking the long-dead EDSA cow all over again. However, as the video played – I started to remember the darkness we were in back then and the struggle to see the light.

I recalled the collective effort we as a people exerted in order to unite (something which we Filipinos find so hard to do) against a regime that has brought us discipline but curtailed our freedom.

I reminisced about that sense of euphoria that came from the realization that we are a great country and a great people.

I felt the renewed sense of hope of every Filipino back then – hope that somehow we would defeat our own worst enemy – ourselves.

I also realized the lost opportunity and our own failures to make the changes stick.

I felt sorry for myself…and for every Filipino…

I felt sorry for the future generations of Filipinos who probably won’t even remember that for a brief moment – we did the right thing and acted as a people…

…And while watching this video…I cried…

“Don’t let it be forgot / That once there was a spot / For one brief shining moment / That was known as Camelot!”          

– King Arthur in the musical “Camelot”

Posted in Introspection | 2 Comments »

We Are Shooting Ourselves In The Foot…Again!

Posted by Marvin on April 20, 2007

I’ve been busy travelling and doing my day job for the past weeks…

However, I am not too busy to rant against this recent development in Manila: Cashiered putschist Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan has been granted bail and is now free!

Anak ng…Hindi na ba tayo nadadala? Pinakawalan na naman ito? Ilang beses na bang nag-destabilize ng bansa itong si Honasan?

We are shooting ourselves in the foot…and forging the very bullets to boot!

Manggugulo na naman itong coup plotter na ito eh…

But do you know what’s worst?

Iboboto ito ng mga Pilipino sa Senado uli! Ganoon tayo katanga. Lecheng buhay ito!

MENTAL NOTE: Do not read any news item from the Philippines. Concentrate on Zimbabwe instead. It is less depressing.

Posted in Peeve | 1 Comment »

A Quixotic Quest…

Posted by Marvin on April 5, 2007

Quixotic – [kwik-sot-ik] adj. (1) resembling or befitting Don Quixote, (2) extravagantly chivalrous or romantic; visionary, impractical, or impracticable.

Miguel de Cervantes wrote his novel “The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote of La Mancha” in 1605 but his main protagonist has been reincarnated and embodied through the centuries by men of good will who took the high road, the road less travelled and the straight and narrow path. Their names have changed through the centuries…William Wilberforce, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Benigno Aquino, Jr.…They have been labeled as ivory tower idealists, out of touch with reality and dreamers (in the derogatory sense). All because of one particular trait: They dared to take a contrarian approach – pushing against wind mills and fighting a fight which has been lost even before they started.

In today’s world, quixotic men are met with derision and skepticism. And yet they still persist. One such man is Dr. Martin Bautista. A gastroenterologist by profession, he moved to the United States right after graduating from the University of the Philippines. He could have stayed in Guymon, Oklahoma till he retired but he chose to come back and battle giants and wind mills by running for the Senate. (Did I say Senate? In that case, he came back to battle the trolls and ogres disguised as candidates…)

Everyone says he is a good and well-meaning man. Everyone also says that he has a snowflake’s chance in hell when it comes to winning in the senatorial elections.

And yet…He persists…

There is nothing I admire more than a man who still strives knowing that he will lose. The sane thing to do is to quit and forget about the quest – but is that the noble thing to do? Wouldn’t it be more noble to continue inspite of the certainty of losing? Isn’t it the race rather than the finish line which matters? To aspire for the impossible?

This reminds me of one of the most inspirational moments in the history of the Olympic Games. The year: 1968. The place: Mexico City. It was an unusually hot day and the high elevation of Mexico City made the marathon race an exercise in self-punishment. The greatest Olympic marathon champion Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia had to quit the race due to an injury. He had previously won the marathon race in the previous two Olympics and is gunning for his 3rd consecutive gold medal. Alas, fate was not on his side that day.

His fellow Ethiopian Mamo Wolde took up the slack and won the gold.

After him, a procession of runners crossed the finish line. A total of 73 individuals. Each one on the verge of collapse due to exhaustion. As the last event of the Olympics, the marathon was meant to be the penultimate event. After the awarding of the medals, people left the Ciudad Universitania Stadium and only a handful of spectators remained (probably trying to avoid the mad rush of people going home outside). It was over.

But NOT for one man.

img212011631.jpgOne man is still running. Over an hour after Mamo Wolde crossed the line, a small, wiry man limped slowly into the stadium. He stopped every couple or so steps because of the pain in his right leg. A hastily prepared bandage covered his right knee. His name? John Stephen Akhwari of Tanzania.

He fell during the race, cutting his knee and dislocating the joint. He was bleeding and every step sent a wave of pain throughout his exhausted body. He tried to run but the pain was too great. He resorted to a a slow walk interspaced with short, painful attempts at running.

The crowd was moved by the courage of the 74th competitor. Their silence was broken by heartfelt clapping, egging Akhwari on to finish the race.

With every step, the cheering grew louder…Louder and louder until the stadium is roaring with admiration for this man who wouldn’t quit.

As his tired body crossed the finish line, the multitudes erupted and cheered as if he had won the gold medal.

Reporters asked him why he opted to endure the excruciating pain and why he did not retire since there was no chance of him winning – much less finishing the race. He was surprised by the question, pondered for a moment and said: “I don’t think you understand. My country did not send me to Mexico City to start the race. They sent me to finish the race.”

Bautista is this coming election’s Akhwari. He is running not because he wants to win but because he wants to help the country. He is running because in his mind it is the right thing to do.

That is why I will vote for him. I will use my sole instrument for political change in order to vote for a man who has no chance of winning – for I truly believe that a man can aspire to dream even if it will never come to fruition and be the better for it.

On with the quest…

Posted in Introspection, Links, Rave | 2 Comments »

A Rhetorical Moral Question…

Posted by Marvin on March 23, 2007

I’m sitting here at the Singapore Airlines‘ First Class Lounge at San Francisco International Airport. “YES”…You read it correctly and “NO”…I’m NOT travelling on First Class. I’m on a Business Class flight to Manila (“Yipee!…Makakauwi na rin!”) and Bangkok. “NO”…Lambda employees like me (as in lambdaa i.e. a long, long way from being an alpha employee and being on top of the corporate food chain) are not entitled to First Class. And “YES” – I’m on business travel courtesy of the company. The lady at the reception directed me to the First Class Lounge because I am a PPS Club member…Hayyyyyy…One of the few “perks” of travelling I guess….

I wasn’t intending to write anything as I am dead tired. My day started at 5:00 AM due to a conference call and will not be over until I close my eyes and sleep on the plane. Estimated time of departure? A mind-numbing 1:05 in the morning!

In my semi-lucid, drunken-like stupor, I tried a short snooze. Unfortunately, I am rudely interrupted from my reverie by these two blasted “bumbays” who sat right next to me. Thank the high heavens! My overly sensitive odoriferous glands failed to detect any trace of curry in the air…“Buti na lang…Kung hindi, mauubusan ako ng hininga…” However, they started chatting away in their distinctive loud, “bumbay” accent and never stopped…They are still chatting away as I write this scathing description. Pag minamalas talaga…

This post is not about “bumbay”-bashing. Obnoxious as they are with their inborn chips on their shoulders i.e. they have been brutalized by the British for so long that they have to try to be the best in everything – even if they’re not – their stock have risen over the decades. These guys  always have something to prove i.e. any MBA student’s worst nightmare. Always raising their hands and blabbering away even if they mouth only nonsensical interpretations of business cases. Gusto lang talagang dumaldal para masabing nakapg-contribute… A wretched cultural trait I must admit. But look at where they are right now as a nation – an emerging economic powerhouse….

Back to the real point of this post: Observing these “bumbays” made we wonder about us Filipinos. With the elections just around the corner, the latest surveys indicate that the candidates in the “Magic 12” are in my own estimates and humble opinion: a bunch of putrid, incompetent, imbecelic, self-serving, revolting, poor-excuses-for-a-Filipino, may-they-rot-in-Hell, sanctimonious pricks. Sad to say, the majority of Filipinos are not sufficiently educated to know this fact. If we don’t break the cycle of bad governance, we will forever be left behind in the global economy. Either that or I am the one who is a putrid, incompetent, imbecelic, self-serving, revolting, poor-excuse-for-a-Filipino, may-I-rot-in-Hell, sanctimonious prick.

Assuming, just for the sake of argument, that I am not insane and it is really the majority of Filipinos who are set on electing low-lifes into office who are insane – I would like to propose this question:

Given the seeming hopelessness of the country’s plight, would you be willing to turn a blind eye and allow these candidates to be cheated? Would you save the ignorant masses from their ignorance by doing the immoral?

Did you secretly cheered when FPJ was supposedly cheated in 2004? Assuming, again, for the sake of argument that he was cheated – did you feign ignorance and allowed that one to slide? 

Moralists have often countered with the old adage that “Two wrongs do not make a right…” But then again, moralists tend not to live in the “real” world where there is white on one end, black on the other and a million varying shades of gray in between.

How would you “answer” this rhetorical moral question?

Posted in Airlines, Peeve | 1 Comment »