Apr 28, 2010

Limits of Quality Education

Earlier in class, I was beside my friend who's wearing her pair of 50,000 peso earrings. I told her that her bling can actually support a student in college for four years, even including the allowance - on a skyflakes diet.

Then when I arrived home, one of the maids told me that there was this newly grad chem student also from the Ateneo who's a contestant in Wowowee and whose mother is just a manicurist. In my most toneless and uninterested voice, i said: "how inspiring... pakibuksan na yung aircon sa kwarto... at anong ulam?"

We are all accustomed to financial inequality. It's everywhere! The rich marginalizing the poor, and although we rarely see it, the poor can actually marginalize the rich as well. This system of inequality has fucked up both sections of society.

High quality education has been seen as a society equalizer - so that the poor can have an equal footing with the rich. That's the ideal situation! But there's this thing called patronage system that's been embedded in our culture for centuries and breaching this system has been getting more difficult every year.

There is little social mobility unless you go out of the country and work there.

It's tragic to see these new set of graduates (from schools that claim to be universities) who ends up in jobs they are forced to take because they have no other choice. Blind optimism! It's more tragic to see students from (let's say) DLSU who graduated from AB Communications but because her family has no connections, she ends up in a call center firm. This is a true story from my blockmate whose family business hires call center agents.

Let's take a step backward and look at internships. Some students really have a hard time finding a company that would give them working experience. It's good if you're teacher is the HR head of a big company like Nestle or L'Oreal, like what's happening in school. It's even better if your family owns a company and you can put something like: "worked for 200 hours as assistant to the Operations Engineer for LAP Engineering and Construction." I surely can put that without lifting a finger and bluff my way through the interviews.

Should we abolish this patronage system? The better question would be: can it be abolished? This dates as far as the time when Taft would ask Pardo de Tavera who to appoint in government positions, even though the government is trying to pursue a professional system based on merit.

I'm not saying that patronage is the only way to reach the top. Although it's a dog eat dog world out there, there are still success stories of people who made it big! Just don't let this feeling be a blind optimism. If you ain't got the balls for it, you ain't going anywhere.

Apr 27, 2010

The Tragedy of Reading History

How can anyone continue studying the history of the Philippines with all its betrayals, sacrifices and tragic events? I can't proceed with this heavy feeling after reading Del Pilar's bravery for that conceited Aguinaldo! And so as the assassination of Luna or the probable rape of Bonifacio's wife before he himself was murdered by Aguinaldo's men!

The problem with having a very imaginative mind is that somehow, you immerse yourself with the readings too much that you accidentally empathize with the characters... You identify with their aspirations and frustrations. I don't know with you but i formulate and try to guess their own personal backgrounds and the motivations behind each actions. There are a lot of what ifs going through my mind right now.

It draws and sucks you like an emotional black hole. It leaves you helpless and empty, wishing you could have done something than just be a spectator in the unfolding of a grand tragedy.

Sigh! I usually don't cry over history books.:((

Apr 25, 2010

The World According to Them

Why is there this sudden euphoria for the "real world" after graduation? People are so excited that they're trying to get a taste of this "real world" through internship programs this summer. If out there is the "real world," they what am I living in? An imagined state?

At somehow, sa pag abot sa kapalarang ito - ang real world, kailangang talikuran ang sarili, at i-conform sa itinakdang real world ng iba - working 8 hours a day, paying taxes, having "colleagues", pagsunod sa rigid dress code (parang asong nakatali lang ang leeg!) Ngunit sino ba ang dunong ng katotohanan para magtakda?

I think this whole "real world" thing is a marketing strategy of parents to pressure their kids to find work after graduation. We are kinda deceived into an illusion that having this bully classmate in grade school, this peer pressure in high school, and this unending paper to write in college are not the "real world."

The reality of a world is subjective to age, and to that individual. Factor in time and environment.

For me, an ideal day would be exercise in the morning, blog, go to school, then to the mall or museum, paint in the evening, read a book, then sleep - eating meals less than 500 calories 3 times a day. The real world would be deviating from these ideal days, going out with friends and family every week and trying to spice it up more.

Right now, I can't imagine myself following a professional dress code so the real world according to the adults is the imagined state. Rigid dress codes remind me of the days when I used to visit the bank of my mom and people were so up tight that they don't want to play with me, so I'm stuck there drawing and trying to irritate the guard.

Apr 24, 2010

What Tweedledee Must Have Felt

Last monday, tweedleDUMB and I went to our high school teacher's condo for her birthday. It was a pool party so my brother wore long sleeves with straw fedoras, and I had this tribal neck piece. There were loads of old faces, former schoolmates, friends and teachers.

But I've just noticed something: Isn't it just awkward when people greet you as a pair even though they know your first names? It's plain irritating!

There was even this new teacher who said, "ah so these are the Palteng brothers." I've never met him before, but he made a lasting impression when he guessed that I was younger than tweedledumb. (does this make me tweedledee?)

It's like curse when some people mistake you as twins. I don't like it at all.

We were walking near the market in a far flung province up North, just observing how people survive without malls, and there was this guy with a bike who was staring at us incredulously and with the most bizarre expression in his face! He slowed down, stopped in front of us, and as though he just recovered from diarrhea, he blurted out "AKALA KO KAMBAL! HAHAHA!"

We were stunned. All I can say was, "salamat po! wink!"

These events happen often. I can't blame my mom for letting us wear similar outfits when we were kids. She thinks it's funny. I don't.

Tweedledee must have felt the same. It's as if your historicity is also dependent on your "twin." Without him, you cannot be defined. Well, maybe that's why my brother and I always find reasons to out do each other.

And maybe, this is the root of many sibling rivalries - the constant comparisons and contrasts. Who can blame them? Who can blame us? It's actually fun!;) as long as no one gets smacked in the face and pushed to the washing machine! Haha! (This actually happened)

Speaking of rivalries, I just want to let the whole world know that I'm thinner than my brother by 2 freaking pounds!

Apr 16, 2010

30 Pieces Of Silver to Betray Our People And Our Future

I was reviewing BBC's page on the Copenhagen Summit (just now) and it was a very frustrating because this conference is about concrete actions, the talks should have been done before (!!!), and something legally binding should have been produced to discipline these countries!

The city of Copenhagen is a crime scene tonight, with the guilty men and women fleeing to the airport. There are no targets for carbon cuts and no agreement on a legally binding treaty. It seems there are too few politicians in this world capable of looking beyond the horizon of their own narrow self-interest, let alone caring much for the millions of people who are facing down the threat of climate change.

I'm deeply concerned because if institutions fall, I might not make my speech in front of the United Nations! Seriously!

Loren Legarda said that the Philippines is included in the top 10 countries than can be devastated badly in case of climate meltdown, and believe me people, that event is not very far.
Haiti, Peru and China were hit by earthquakes. I don't want to sound like a scientist here and speak of data I partly understand, but these evident changes can be lethal if ignored. It's not enough for US, Britain or France to send donations.

Ian Fry, Tulavu's Lead Negotiator, was right when he said that "It looks like we are being offered 30 pieces of silver to betray our people and our future." I've watched how the G8 monopolize or oligarch-ized decision processes just to protect their own interests, and the capitalists in their countries.

Thanks to these blatant obstructions by big emitting countries, islands like Maldives and the Philippines might sink so i'm trying to convince my dad in creating a floating house and selling it to the market. Haha!

It is true than when adversities come, a lot of people will take the chance to rise up and exploit other people. And it's just frightening what might happen when political tensions are at its worst.

The least thing that may happen is Japan (with their advanced army) invading (let's say) Mongolia because water levels are so high that their islands have sunk. World War III anyone?

These countries are capable of waging wars! And there's your reason why these G8 countries are so confident in continuing their treacherous acts against the people and the next generation!

Apr 14, 2010

Why YOU Should NOT Vote for GIBO

Gilbert Gibo Teodoro’s handlers say their candidate possesses two distinct “talents” or “attributes” that no other candidate have–simply “Galing” (which means superb performance or capability) and “Talino” (wit or “intelligence”). I don’t doubt that. And simply, even other people do not doubt Gibo has the brains and probably the performance as a former Cabinet member to buttress his “stake” in the presidency.

At face value, Gilbert is an ideal president. He's handsome, looks intelligent and has a commanding voice. However, beneath that veneer, what lurks deep into that brain of his?

The question really is—is Gibo really thinking about the common welfare and not only the welfare of a particular class of people and did he serve the interests of the people, not those who nurtured his career as a public servant?

To answer this, let’s look at how Gilbert Gibo Teodoro views the world. His philosophical world-view can be found at http://www.gibo.ph.

Let’s discuss how he plans to manage our country.

First off, Gilbert Gibo Teodoro wants charter change. Gibo blames the 1987 Constitution for the lack of synergy between and among government agencies. He says that the Charter was crafted to lift the vestiges of dictatorship. Now that all the marks of the former regime are already gone, the Charter has already fulfilled its goal. It’s time, says Gibo, to change the Charter, from a hamstrung-ed Constitution, to a more flexible one.

Gibo toys with the idea of changing the political structure, from a presidential bicameral to a presidential unicameral. Gibo does not favor a parliamentary shift; rather he wants to change the Constitution to institute a presidential unicameral system, so that power is actually concentrated in just one entire Executive-Legislative system.

Doing so would mean the perpetuation of the tyranny of elite using a unicameral system and dominated by just one big political party. This model of governance has already been repudiated by other countries. For Gibo, this is the best solution to the current problem we face on our political system.

Obviously, a unicameral form of government would allow Congress to dominate the entire superstructure. If this is instituted, it would be easier for government to sell lands, particularly real estate, to foreigners. Gibo is in favor of allowing foreigners to own lands without cap.

And for a sustainable development, Gibo wants Congress to grant autonomy only to certain areas, where he defines as ready for autonomy. Gibo thinks the country is not yet ready for a Federal form of government.

On the Economy

Gibo provides two views about the economy: we lack innovation, therefore it is time to nurture human resources to be able to create newer and more responsive economic model and two, we need to pay our huge international and domestic debts. For Gibo, the solution to the growing disillusionment about the economy is simply introduce innovation and pay debts.

He avoided discussions on trade liberalization, on agrarian reform, on rural and urban growth and other things about the economy. In fact, his view about the economy can be summed into one paragraph only.

On Education

Gibo wants to push for the expansion of benefits under the Student Loan program. Tertiary level students will be allowed to loan their way to college. For Gibo, these loans are to be deemed “salaries”, therefore, students are given SSS membership cards, a sign that they are earning “salaries”. Meaning, if a student is given an SSS membership, government will be able to deduct a certain percentage in the loans of the student. Wow.

So, if you’re a student wanting a loan, you have to be an SSS member so that government will get a slice off your loan. That’s Gibo’s brilliant suggestion on how to help struggling students pay their college education.

On Disaster Management

Gibo claims to be an expert in disaster management. He proposes that government implements a more responsive disaster management program. There’s a slight problem though—his proposal was the same one he implemented when he was defense secretary and we all know what happened in the entire Metro Manila during the Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng. He says, and I quote:

“…I support pending bills on National Disaster Act. Both versions state that local government units shall be authorized to use not less than 5% of their revenue for disaster risk management, which includes not merely response relief but also preparation and mitigation efforts.
The events [Ondoy, Pepeng] have really shown the fact that indeed local government units must take the lead in disaster risk management even in rescue and relief because the different topographies, the different conditions of the local governments cannot be managed and cannot be foreseen by the national government. So we have to rely on the different local government units to be our guide in case LGUs cannot handle the situation. And we have to rely on the state of LGU preparations. And take the risk also that these preparations maybe inadequate. And that’s the risk that we take when you make decisions everyday.
If at all, I am in full support that local government units take the lead. We can be guides by trying to build up [LGU's] capacities by placing some sort of a rational framework or technical framework for decision making. We have partner agencies that do that, too. With us are the United Nations, the OHA and the rest. However, the most important thing is to give LGUs the freedom and the leeway to use more funds for capacity building in so far as disaster risk management is concerned. And the proposed law which I support totally will give that. “
If elected, what would Gibo do in his first 100 days?
Gibo wants all infrastructure projects finished. He is also thinking of strengthening issues regarding security. Why is Gibo interested on pursuing those unfinished infra road projects? Simple. That's the best way to compensate those local officials who worked hard for him to win.

He will then craft his legislative agenda that includes: the constitutional convention law, a new education road map and the enactment of a Universal health care law. He will also try to convince Congress to enact a revolving student loan program, which funds are to be sourced from the Bangko Sentral and parked at SSS.

Meaning, if you elect Gibo, you are defining electing what he represents, which is cha-cha. And who benefits from cha-cha? You guessed it right---Gloria Arroyo of course.

So, there's a basis for people saying that Gibo is simply Gloria's stooge.

The Mindanao problem

Like other traditional politicos, Gibo parrots the already oft-repeated line of enforcing the law in Mindanao. Gibo wants the implementation of a tough-as-nails kind of policy, which resorts to deployment of more soldiers in the conflict areas. He will then try to implement disarmament, then afterwards, promotion of civic works to spur development. We all know these tactics failed in the past already since no insurgency group would allow government to disarm them. Gibo’s perspective in this lacks a deeper appreciation of the real security situation in Mindanao. In fact, this is just a superficial assessment of the situation, which is a disappointment since Teodoro served as defense secretary for many years.

Political Dynasty bill

Teodoro included this issue as one of his “visions” since he is being accused of being one of the beneficiaries of the non-implementation of a anti-political dynasty bill. Instead of directly addressing the issue, Teodoro blamed the non-implementation of the election finance law. Teodoro says that dynasties can be beaten if there is an efficient implementation or strict adherence to the finance campaign contributions. By levelling financial capabilities, Teodoro sees the defeat of political dynasties. This is a very simple analysis of the prevailing situation. It may be true that the hold of political dynasties are stronger due to their more improved financial status; yet, the fact remains that it would still take a great deal of money before a minority party can defeat a dynastic family.

Net---Gibo's Galing at Talino not for the Common Tao but for his fellow Cono.

To summarize—Teodoro’s prescriptions are no different from the cut-and-paste solutions presented by the elites in the long history of the Republic. Teodoro’s philosophical world-view is simply not transformational enough. In fact, it is simply reactionary. Teodoro’s platform or “vision” you might say, is actually a palliative meant to perpetuate elite domination over all spheres of Filipino life. There is nothing new with what Teodoro is saying, nothing extraordinary for us to get excited and nothing remotely effective in addressing the root causes of our ills and miseries.

Like his cousin, Noynoy Aquino, Teodoro avoided having a concrete stand or solution to the agrarian problem, trade liberalization, issues about the environment and even social injustices.

For me, Gibo’s so-called “Galing at Talino” is nothing more than Genuine Traditionalism or Grossly Trapo. Disappointing since I expect him to honor what he said that service is to the people, not to the Self. Yep, his visions are surely not for him, but for the class which he represents—the elite class whose interests is merely the perpetuation of their domination over the rest of the Filipino People.

What a waste of “Galing” and “Talino”. By decentralizing efforts in disaster preparedness AND management, Gibo wants local government units to be responsible. The question really is–will this lead to more confusion since we all know what happens to ERAs devoted to LGUs?

-data from PatricioMangubat (12/30/09), journalist and History professor from UP and DLSU

Apr 13, 2010

Final List for 2010

Ideally, the best form of government is that in which the sovereignty, or supreme controlling power in the last resort, is vested in the entire aggregate of the community; every citizen not only having a voice in exercise of that ultimate sovereignty, but being, at least occasionally, called on to take an actual part in the government, by the personal discharged of some public function, local or general.

Having said that, this is my final list of officials for May 2010!

President: Noynoy Aquino
Vice President: Mar Roxas

Alex Lacson
Susan Ople
Joey de Venecia
Mon-Mon Mitra
Bongbong Marcos
Satur Ocampo
Ruffy Biazon
Nereus Acosta
Lisa Masa
Riza Hontiveros
Danny Lim
Teofisto Guingona

The best form of government is a representative government where OUR voices are heard and OUR collective interests are respected, and I think these are the best people for the job.

You don't elect someone just because he has the strongest political machinery; the youngest, smartest and most able; has this intention to be redeemed; or has the best track record/experience.

We need someone who will bring the government back to the people.

I'm strongly campaigning for Noynoy Aquino not because he is the best one for the position but because i know that he will listen to US and can speak on OUR behalf. I believe that through their leadership people can participate in the running of the state and marginalization issues can thereby by addressed, if not solved.

Apr 6, 2010

Coke Killed It!!!

What happens when Chanel, Coca Cola, Coco Rocha and Baptiste team up for one mind blowing ad? People all over the fashion industry will line up just to have a taste of this ground breaking creation - Coca Cola Lite!

Excerpt from Coco Rocha's blog:

I was super excited when I got the call to work on this project for Coke, especially when I found out Mr. Karl Lagerfeld was behind the design and the camera. Karl designed the bottle with his iconic silhouette on the side and then dressed me as the femme version of him. I remember at one point in the shoot Karl didn't think I had on the right accessories so he stopped the shoot and headed home to bring me a pair of his own gloves and then took off his tie pin and rings for me to wear!! Amazing!

Crossing my fingers... hope this will reach our third world island:D

Apr 4, 2010

Hundreds Massacred in Faroe Island, Denmark

The sea is stained in red and its not because of global warming.

It's because of the cruelty that the human beings to the smart Calderon Dolphins.

This happens every year in Faroe Island in Denmark. In this slaughter, the main participants are young teens. To show that they are adults and they are already mature.

In this big celebration, nothing is missing for the fun. Everyone is participating in one way or the other, killing or looking at the cruelty “supporting like a spectator”

Is it necessary to mention that the Calderon Dolphins, like all the other species of dolphins, in it’s near extinction. They get near men to play and interact. In a way of pure friendship.

They don’t die instantly; they are cut 2 to 3 times with thick hocks. At that time the dolphins produce a sound extremely attuned to the cry of a new born child.

The Dolphins dies slowly soaked in its own blood

We will send this mail until this email arrives in any association defending the animals.