Saturday, July 18, 2015
Friday, July 17, 2015
Back in 2008 when I was conscripted by Nick Cugtas, then “Editor-not-Chief” of the now-defunct pioneering blog site, Filipino Voices (FV) to contribute to his “wisdom of crowds” project, the Philippine blogosphere was far more dynamic and diverse. Twitter was not yet the in thing back then and, as such, the dumbing-down effect of having to “debate” over 140-character snippets that spend all of 5 minutes in the part of a scrolling “timeline” visible on a screen was yet to infect the Philippine “intelligentsia”. So blog posts were the primary currency of articulate and structured ideas exchange at the time.
Leading the pack from the earliest days (perhaps starting as far back as the mid- to late-1990s) was The Noted One, the venerable Manuel L Quezon III. His blog Quezon.ph was the go-to blog at the time, but surrounding him were real heavyweights, Connie Veneracion’s Sassy Lawyer, the PCIJ Blog directly led at the time by Sheila Coronel and the late great Alecks Pabico, and the alluring Rom Sedona on Smoke Talk.
By 2008, when FV went online, the golden age of Philippine blogging was about to go into full swing. Another collective blog, Edwin Jamora’s (a.k.a. Reyna Elena) BarrioSiete had also sprung up adding more fire from an even more “diverse” group.
Another noted blogger Angela Stuart Santiago took stock of the brewing blogo-storm at the dawn of this golden age in her June 2008 piece Battle of the Blogs. By 2012, however, she was already writing about the end of that two-year golden age in her retrospective 2012 piece Blogging in the Wind. The wasteland that was the Philippine blogosphere of 2010 she described as an abject discrediting of Nick’s “wisdom of the crowd” vision for FV. “FV had lost its appeal long before that. The ‘wisdom of the crowd’ never quite showed up; it was impossible to tell who was winning, if any, what argument,” wrote Stuart-Santiago; “and then cory died, FV turned yellow, and then died, too.” The same happened to Jamora’s Barrio Siete. After turning yellow and supporting the candidacy of Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III in the 2010 elections, it eventually disintegrated as well.
What Stuart-Santiago also wrote describing the blogging landscape in 2012 may as well describe the landscape today in 2015, three years hence…
this is all to say how silent, if not kind, the blogosphere is these days, in contrast to the arroyo years. you would think that there’s nothing to question, nothing to criticize, the aquino administration is doing a great job. but since it’s not true, in fact little has changed so far, i figure that most bloggers choose to give the president the benefit of the doubt until, well, who knows, until his term ends? meanwhile, radikalchick and i get a lot of brickbats about being negative, we must be anti-pinoy daw because we have little good to say about the presidency of cory’s and ninoy’s son, and why daw are we not practising journalistic ethics, as in, presenting both sides of an issue, rather than being so critical.
I’ll offer a theory as to why things are “quiet” nowadays in the Philippine blogosphere. But first let us get two obvious major contributing factors to that silence out of the way:
(1) the disappearance of The Noted One, Manuel L Quezon III into the intellectual black hole that is the government of President BS Aquino; and,
(2) as mentioned earlier, the advent of social media which turned formerly serious article writers into cluckety 140-character noise makers.
Outside of those two factors, for me, the real reason the Philippine blogosphere has gone silent as far as real “debate” goes is because the “good guys” are in power. So effective was the 25-year ad campaign to deeply-ingrain the “goodness” of the Yellow brand of the Aquino-Cojuangco clan in the Filipino psyche that criticising top scion BS Aquino today gives people the same heeby-jeebies as, say, cracking Jesus Christ jokes. The beholdenness to the Tarlac saints is virtually religious-fundamentalist in its fervour.
Every now and then, a little boy would apply a child-like innocence to call out the nakedness of Emperor Noynoy Aquino. Unfortunately most people choose to believe that the Emperor is simply wearing clothes made of threads invisible to fools. This mass hypnosis continues today. And a lot of people prefer not to see a world outside of this delusion much the same way the simulated world of The Matrix proved comfier to the half-brained majority of what was left of the human race in that 1999 Wachowski Bothers sci-fi classic film.
To be fair, it is hard to get through to people who to their dying breath fancy themselves a “special” people who hold a monopoly on “goodness” and, whenever said goodness was challenged, would quickly whip out their ace victim card.
Kamakailan lamang, meron mga naki-usap na isalin ko sa Tagalog o wikang Filipino ang tatlo sa aking mga nakaraan na artikulo. Ang isa ay iyong tungkol kay Vice Ganda, yung susunod ay ukol sa Pinoy Big Brother at iyong huli naman ay naglalaman ng mga kritisismo laban sa media ng Pilipinas. Madalang talaga akong gumawa ng artikulo sa Tagalog dahil mas sanay ako sa Ingles pero dahil may nagsabi sa akin na marami daw ang mas madaling makaka-intindi sa aking mga punto, pagbibigyan ko kayo sa ngayon dahil sa tingin ko ay napakahalaga ng media sa buhay ng bawat mamamayan at ito rin humuhubog o sumisira sa kaisipan ng isang pamayanan. Kaya lapit na at makinig kay Tito Grimwald…
Pasensya na lang talaga at hindi ako sanay mag-kuwento sa Tagalog…
Magsimula tayo sa isang pangyayari nitong nakaraan lamang. Sumali ako sa isang kumonidad sa isang MMORPG. Para sa mga walang gaanong alam sa mga video game, ang kumonidad o “gaming community” ay samahan sa isang MMORPG ng maraming manlalaro. Dahil karamihan ng mga MMORPG ay pang-buong mundo, malaki ang posibilidad na may mga gaming community na may mga miyembro na galing sa iba’t-ibang sulok ng daigdig. Isa na dito ang aking sinalihan na kumonidad at in-interview muna ako ng isa sa mga supervisor bago ako ay tuluyan nilang isali.
Ang supervisor na naka-usap ko ay isa palang police dispatcher na taga-New York. Naglalaro siya ng MMORPG bilang isang libangan at para na din magkaroon siya ng kaibigan sa iba’t-ibang parte ng mundo. Mahaba-haba ang aming naging usapan pero paiikliin ko na lang at pipiliin ang mga pinaka-importante sa mga batas ng kumonidad na sinalihan ko.
Heto ang mga sinabi niya na isinalin ko sa Tagalog:
“Ginoong Grimwald, maraming mga batas ang kumonidad na ito. Maraming MMORPG kung saan kasama ang kumonidad natin. Medyo sikat at malaki ang samahan na ito kaya medyo strikto na kami ngayon. Ayaw kasi namin ng gulo at gusto lang namin na ma-enjoy ng bawat miyembro namin ang game world. Heto muna ang tatlo sa mga pinaka-mahalagang batas ng ating kumonidad.
“Una, maging responsable at magalang. Ang lahat ng sasabihin mo ay maaring marinig o mabasa ng ibang mga manlalaro. Kaya kung sa palagay mo ay hindi magdudulot ng mabuti ang iyong mga sasabihin, huwag mo na lang ito ituloy. Irespeto mo ang iba kung gusto mo ring irespeto ka nila.
“Pangalawa, bawal ang personal na panlalait o pangbu-bully. Wala kang karapatan na laitin ang kahito sinong tao kahit kilala mo pa siya. Wala ka ring karapatan na mambastos ng kahit anong lahi, relihiyon o bansa. Kung meron kang binastos ng personal kahit miyembro sila ng iba pang kumonidad, tatanggalin na namin ang membership mo.
“Pangatlo, i-trato ng tama ang mga batang manlalaro. Maraming mga manlalaro na menor na edad pa lang. May mga miyembro ang kumonidad na ito na labing-isang gulang pa lang. Igalang mo sila at huwag kang magkukuwento ng kalaswaan pag kasama na sila. Higit sa lahat, bawal ang pakikipag-usap sa kanila sa malaswa na pamamaraan. Sa oras na mahuli kang nag-kukuwento ng malaswa o nag-hihikayat ng kalaswaan sa mga menor na manlalaro, tanggal ka kaagad at ire-report ka sa mga pulis diyan sa lugar mo.
“Nagkaka-intindihan ba tayo Ginoong Grimwald?”
Napansin ninyo siguro kung paano na lang pahalagahan ng mga Amerikano at mga mamamayan ng iba pang mayaman na bansa ang batas sa kanilang media. Kahit sa mismong online game ay seryoso sila sa pagpapatupad ng batas at pananatili ng kaayusan. Sabi sa akin ng mga nakalaro ko ay dahil daw ito sa kagustuhan nilang maging mabuting halimbawa sa kanilang kapwa.
Kung ganoon ay nalulungkot na lang ako dahil parang tila walang paki-alam ang mga kababayan ko sa media at kung paano nito sirain ang kanilang mga kaisipan…
Heto kasi ang napapansin ko sa mga lokal na palabas natin:
Puro Na Lang Ka-Walang Hiyaan Ang Tema Ng Mga Palabas Natin
Halos lahat na lang ng mga teleserye natin ay umiikot sa pangangaliwa, kalaswaan at patagong pakikipag-talik. Tapos andami sa ating nagtataka kung bakit pabata ng pabata ang mga nabubuntis at padami ng padami pa kamo sila. Totoo man na kahit ang mga anime na pinapalabas noon ay may halong konting kahalayan tulad ng Tenjo Tenge at Air Gear, hindi mo naman masasabi na kabastusan ang iniikutan ng kuwento. Ngunit ang mga lokal na teleserye ay lagi na lang naka-sentro sa tema ng pakikipag-talik sa hindi mo asawa, pag-iingit ng kapwa sa pamamagitan ng kalaswaan, paghihiganti at “pag-ibig” na sa bandang huli ay kalibugan lamang ng kabataan.
Ang Panlalait At Pananakit Ng Tao Ay Nakakatawa
Isa ito siguro sa mga pinaka-malalang bagay na napapansin ko ngayon. Maraming nagsasabing nakakatawa daw ang mga patawa ni Vice Ganda pero, kung ako ang tatanungin ninyo, walang nakakatawa sa panlalait ng kapwa. Bandang huli, nananakit ka lamang ng damdamin ng iba at sinsira mo lang ang dignidad na iyong kapwa. Maging sino ka pa, ang panlalait sa mga taong hindi kaguwapuhan o kagandahan, mga may kapansanan o mga mahihirap sa pampublikong lugar ay kailanman hindi naging tama. Katanggap-tanggap pa siguro ito kung sa loob lang ito ng isang comedy bar, ngunit hindi ito nararapat na ipalabas sa buong bansa lalo na kung may mga batang nakakanood nito. Lagi po sana nating tandaan na kahit ang mga bagay na mali, pag nakikita ito ng isang bata, ay nagiging tama lalo na kung walang magulang na mag-gagabay sa kanila sa panunood.
Ang Pagsama Sa Mga Bata Sa Kalaswaan
Alam niyo na siguro ang isyu tungkol kay Andrea Brillantes, tama ba? Tapos, sa palagay ko, meron pa din ang nakaka-alala kung paano pinilit ni Willie Revillame na magsayaw sa malaswang pamamaraan ang isang batang lalake sa telebisyon. Ngayon, siguro naman may ideya na kayo kung bakit gustong-gusto ng mga child molester na magpunta sa Pilipinas. Karamihan sa atin ay masaya na sa pagbibigay ng kung anong gusto nila na walang paki-alam kung makakabuti ba sa kanila ito o hindi basta lang manahimik sila. Wala na rin tayong paki-alam kung maaring kursunudahin sila ng mga child molester dahil ayaw nating isipin na maaring malaswa na ang ginagawa o ang pinagagawa natin sa kanila.
You can almost hear Robin Leach snootily addressing his audience in the popular 1980s TV show Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous when you read this:
See that demoractic government? You can’t afford it.
By hook and, literally, by crook a while back, Greece joined the European Union and replaced the drachma with the euro as its currency. Two national bailouts and another one currently cooking in the oven later, the country is on its knees, on the verge of swallowing a deal that will likely see its Scandinavian-styled welfare state severely downsized and its key infrastructure works and prized national treasures possibly seized or held as collateral by its wary creditors.
The story of Greece is really a short one. First, the country entered into commitments it could not honour. It tried to join a clique of nations it was not equipped to keep up with and pandered to socialist ideals without the resources to back it. Second, it consumed without producing. By a lot of accounts, much of the proceeds from the massive debt it incurred were wasted on bloating its bureaucracy and bribing its voters. Funds were spent rather than capitalised. Instead of going into permanent assets that generate income, improve productivity, and expand equity, funds were pissed away into the wind never to be seen again.
It’s simple financial management. You either save your money for use later when your income can no longer sustain you or you invest it in durable stuff that can deliver you value over a sustained period. If you spend your next euro on things that disappear (or significantly degrade) after a brief dopamine fix, that’s one less euro to brighten your future.
As my colleague Ilda wrote earlier, there is much the Philippines can learn from Greece.
For one thing, Filipinos must re-evaluate the things it focuses on. Democracy is one of them. Can Filipinos really afford “democracy”? Democracy is a tool rich countries use to govern themselves. But in the hands of a Third World society, democracy is a mere toy. A referendum early this month that resulted in a popular vote to defy Greece’s creditors did nothing to solve its vast problems. Funny enough, democracy extremists laud national referenda and call these exercises democracy’s “purest” forms. Referenda, unfortunately, removes the intellectual layer provided by elected representatives (such as the members of parliament) that acts as an intermediary between mob “wisdom” and the educated structured debate that parliaments and congresses facilitate.
So while it may be argued that ordinary Greeks “had spoken” in that referendum, the reality came to bear upon that quaint notion when the long-term consequences of that knee jerk vote came to light. Indeed, the biggest humiliation to the Greek government today is seeing a Far Left government bowing to the capitalist rules of the powers-that-be in the Eurozone. Nice work,comrade.
Coming back closer to home, to the Philippine setting, we see the way Filipinos have also retarded themselves to using democracy as a mere toy rather than a real tool for modern governance. We can see in the Philippine national “debate” in the lead-up to the 2016 national elections that there is hardly any trace of intellectual substance in the rhetoric dished out by the Philippines’ so-called “thought leaders” and opinion shapers. The candidates being evaluated all fall far short of the bar set by real statesmen of a calibre that makes real sovereigns and real national leaders. Yet the national obsession remains fixated on the three- to four-odd bozos vying for that lucrative seat in Malacanang.
That’s Philippine-style democracy at work. Moronism trumps intellectualism on a national scale to the tune of billions of dollars routinely entrusted to crooks and idiots thanks to the inconsequentially drivelous talk that passes off as “political debate” in the eyes of 100 million starstruck citizens.
Greece and the Philippines are the same. They are countries that happen to be physically located within the economic spheres of prosperous regions. Both may have once been prosperous, but it was more a sad prosperity-by-osmosis as neither are true engines of wealth creation in the sense that the highly-capitalised economies of Northern and Western Europe and northeast Asia are. Rather, Greece and the Philippines, like lizards, merely bask in the sunshine of Western European and northeast Asian wealth respectively, their reptilian internal metabolisms regulated by the hour by an external source of energy. Unfortunately whenever storm clouds move in, the rays disappear underneath. Meanwhile, the sun continues to shine above the clouds.
Monday, July 13, 2015
Why isn't the number 11 pronounced onety-one?
If 4 out of 5 people SUFFER from diarrhea... does that mean that one out of five enjoys it?
Why do croutons come in airtight packages?
Aren't they just stale bread to begin with?
If people from Poland are called Poles, then why aren't people from Holland called Holes?
If a pig loses its voice, is it disgruntled?
Why is a person who plays the piano called a pianist, but a person who drives a race car is not called a racist?
If it's true that we are here to help others, then what exactly are the others here for?
If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, then doesn't it follow that electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged, models deposed, tree surgeons debarked, and dry cleaners depressed?
Do Lipton Tea employees take 'coffee breaks?'
What hair color do they put on the driver's licenses of bald men?
I thought about how mothers feed their babies with tiny little spoons and forks, so I wondered what do Chinese mothers use, Toothpicks?
Why do they put pictures of criminals up in the Post Office? What are we supposed to do, write to them? Why don't they just put their pictures on the postage stamps so the mailmen can look for them while they deliver the mail?
Is it true that you never really learn to swear until you learn to drive?
If a cow laughed, would milk come out of her nose?
Whatever happened to Preparations A through G?
Why, Why, Why do we press harder on the remote control when we know the batteries are getting weak?
Why do banks charge a fee due to insufficient funds; when they already know you're broke?
Why is it that when someone tells you that there are one billion stars in the universe you believe them, but if they tell you there is wet paint you have to touch it to check?
Why doesn't Tarzan have a beard?
Why does Superman stop bullets with his chest, but ducks when you throw a revolver at him?
Why did Kamikaze pilots wear helmets?
Whose cruel idea was it to put an "s" in the word "lisp"?
If people evolved from apes, why are there still apes?
Why is it that, no matter what color bubble bath you use, the bubbles are always white?
Is there ever a day that mattresses are not on sale?
Why do people constantly return to the refrigerator with hopes that something new to eat will have materialized?
Why do people run over a string a dozen times with their vacuum cleaner, then reach down, pick it up, examine it and then put it down to give the vacuum one more chance?
How do those dead bugs get into the enclosed light fixtures?
Why is it that whenever you attempt to catch something that's falling off the table you always manage to knock something else over?
Why, in winter, do we try to keep the house as warm as it was in summer when we complained about the heat?
Do you ever wonder why you gave me your e-mail address in the first place?
And A FAVORITE:
The statistics on sanity say that one out of every four persons is suffering from some sort of mental illness. Think of your three best friends.
If they're OK..? (then it's you!)
REMEMBER, A day without a smile is like a day without sunshine!
And a day without sunshine is, like...........night!!!!
Now, stop laughing long enough to forward this onto somebody else who could also use a good chuckle!!!
Lots of debate around who is the victim and who is the bad guy in Europe nowadays thanks to the financial crisis gripping Greece and, as a consequence, the rest of the European Union. It seems to point to the underlying fundamental difference between the way creditors and debtors think which is not too different to the difference between the way capitalists and labourers think.
Hold that thought for a moment while we examine what’s really at work here on the surface. It comes down to the simple question even ordinary people with a bit of cash on hand face every now and then:
Would I lend money to this person?
The key to answering this simple question is in the result of an assessment as to whether or not said person is capable of paying you back.
In short, do you see in that person an inherent ability to honour commitments he enters into?
Obviously, Greece’s creditors saw that in Greeks — twice already as far as risky national bailouts go; and a third time perhaps if things go well in the on-going negotiations this week. See the irony in all this? Considering Greeks today are whining about the powers that be not giving them a break, it seems it is Big Bad Germany that actually finds within itself an ability to feel optimistic about Greece — a lot more than Greeks are willing to grant themselves!
In short, Germany is saying: You can pay us back if you do this and that. But the Greeks tell themselves: We can’t do those things. We are not capable of it!
Sounds familiar? It’s likely because you’ve probably heard a similar conversation between a rehab therapist and her alcoholic patient. Says the rehab therapist to the wino: You’re in this rehab program but the cure to your alcoholism ultimately depends on your ability to commit to certain measures. Alcoholics will always say they’ll comply — after their next drink, that is.
So let’s come back to the earlier train of thought — the idea that creditors and debtors think differently in the same way that sets apart the capitalists from the labourers. The fact is, creditors and capitalists see possibilities in the risks they take. But for the most part, chronic debtors and lifetime labourers are driven primarily by need and can’t see beyond that, much like the avarage wino can’t see a future beyond his next drink.
Is the cure to alcoholism more alcohol? Not a chance. Most addicts who successfully come out of rehab completely free of their demon substances are, in a lot of cases, dirt poor after they’ve lost everything to servicing their addiction. But the key word here is free — which means they are free to start over.
The only way Greece will get out of its predicament is if it is willing to start over. The alternative, of course, is to play ball subject to the rules. It needs to decide which path to take. Suffice to say, the biggest humiliation in being a debtor is to be in constant need of the resources of a person or an entity who you’ve come to regard as your biggest tormentor. As such, the challenge lies in imagining a different path. If you are in the midst of a baseball game and you suddenly want to play football, you need to get out of the field.