Friday, October 17, 2014

Your Secret Weight-Loss Ingredient: Vinegar


Vinegar has been touted by some as having fat-burning abilities. There have been several studies that have found that consumption of apple cider vinegar lead to weight loss, reduction in abdominal fat and lower triglycerides. Other studies have found that consuming apple cider vinegar before a meal can reduce blood sugar spikes. However, there haven’t been very many studies involving humans and vinegar. Therefore, more studies need to be conducted to prove vinegar has an effect on weight.

One great thing about vinegar that doesn’t need more proof is its amazing ability to add a burst of flavor to your foods with busting your jeans button. Vinegar has only three calories per tablespoon. The tips below will show you how to use vinegar to cut calories and eat more vegetables.

Vary Your Vinegars
There is a plethora of vinegars available now, including everything from your basic distilled white vinegar (very versatile) to fancy herb- and fruit-infused vinegars. In fact, there are entire stores devoted to all things vinegar and oil. Vinegars infused with fruit flavors such as blueberry, coconut, pear, pineapple, pomegranate and blackberry-ginger–to name just a few–will ensure you new, exciting, complex tastes to your dishes.

Make Your Own Low-Calorie Salad Dressings
The great thing about making your own salad dressings from scratch is that you can control exactly what goes into them. By using more vinegar and less oil, you can create your own “light” salad dressing. Additionally, you can change up the flavor of the dressing each time by using different varieties of vinegar.

Simply combine your vinegar, oil, herbs, spices and salt into a screw-top jar and shake it up just before drizzling over your salads or cooked vegetables. You can also douse skewered veggies in your homemade salad dressing before grilling them.

Flavor Up Your Fish
Rather than slathering high-calorie, fat-laden tartar sauce on your fish, try splashing on some malt vinegar to enhance the fish flavor. Malt vinegar and fish are a classic combo, and make this dish even lower in calories by baking or grilling the fish instead of battering and deep-frying it.

Add Flavorful Zing to Your Veggies

We all know vegetables are good for us, but on their own they can seem a bit boring. In order to enhance their natural, delicious flavors, drizzle a little vinegar over your vegetables.

After steaming your favorite vegetables, drizzle some balsamic vinegar–which has a more intense, sweeter flavor than other vinegars–over the top and sprinkle on some herbs and spices.

Slim Down Your Sandwiches

Rather than relying on high-fat mayo or other calorie-bomb sandwich spreads, sprinkle on some vinegar (works best if you have some shredded lettuce or other veggies in your sandwich), which will help moisten and flavor your sandwiches and wraps.

Boost Flavor in Your Beans

Instead of seasoning your beans with a load of salt, toss in some vinegar right at the end of cooking. This will enhance the taste of the beans so you don’t have to add too much salt. Beans are loaded with fiber, iron, protein and phytochemicals and the acidity of the vinegar can help increase the absorption of iron in the beans.

Tenderize Lean Meats

Marinate your lean cuts of meat (with less fat and marbling, lean meats can be tough) with vinegar to infuse both flavor and moisture.

Seasoning Stir-Fry

Rice vinegar mixed with low-sodium soy sauce work well in stir-fry dishes or when added to steamed brown rice or other cooked whole grains.

Vinegar and Sweets?

Yes, it’s true! Balsamic vinegar drizzled over fresh fruit or ice cream adds a depth of flavor that will delight your taste buds.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Why Vice President Jejomar Binay remains popular

October 13, 2014
by benign0
There’s been much hype spun around how today’s media technology supposedly greatly improves our ability to suss people out. But, really, all we seem to be getting is a thicker layer of show and an ever-thinning layer of real insiqht into things. Take the whole “debate” around the current crop of politicians and government officials in the Philippines, many of whom are jostling for attention in a very distracted society. Indeed, this national distraction was compounded by the very technology that was supposed to sharpen peoples’ wits! But I digress. What we want to evaluate here is whether the quality of this “debate” had actually changed for the better now that we have all this technology.

The Philippine electorate: mere 'sheeple'
The Philippine electorate: mere ‘sheeple’

The 2016 election and the campaign that precedes it (which, by all accounts already has started), is the second Philippine presidential race fuelled by social media information and disinformation. Current President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III was the product of the first one. So go figure. The coming election, it seems, can promise but one thing — that it will be consistent with the first one in form and substance. The only thing that’s really emerged in the last couple of years is that the top contenders for most popular politicians are all alleged crooks. Lots of people are convinced that they are, in fact, crooks. But until any one of these allegations get aired in a proper court of law, well, they’re all just farts in the wind.
So thanks to technology, we have all of this hearsay information gushing out of our devices but still remain in the dark about the one thing that really matters: The Truth.
Because of technology we’ve all become better, not at collectively gravitating towards the truth, but at further grouping ourselves into camps. Granted, much of the intellectual prowess of our society’s top thought leaders are individually applied to the task of further buttressing the logical frameworks of theirs and their camps’ respective positions on various issues. And while that effort may be less than noble in terms of the worthwhile task of seeking the truth, it is the democratised landscape of debate laid by today’s modern social media technologies that pits one camp’s reasoning against the other that induces emergence of the truth (or at least, the most balanced position on most matters of consequence).
Unfortunately, the real battle in politics does not lie in seeking the truth and the most valid argument. Rather it is in seizing the biggest chunk of society’s collective headspace — which means Jejomar ‘Jojo’ Binay, current Vice President and top choice of the moment for Next President of the Philippines, is doing something right. Despite being left embattled by a media circus being spun around allegations of ill-gotten wealth presumably from his being a party to the “overpricing” of various public works as Mayor of Makati, Binay remains by far the most popular Filipino government official despite recent “satisfaction ratings” reportedly showing this popularity had fallen to its lowest since November 2010.
According to the “survey” conducted by the polling firm Social Weather Stations (SWS), Binay “had a net rating of +52 (70 percent satisfied, 17 percent dissatisfied), down 15 points from +67 (78 percent satisfied, 11 percent dissatisfied) in the second quarter.”
But then…
Despite the drop in the satisfaction poll, Binay still rated highest among the top five government officials.
President Benigno Aquino III had a “good” +34 in September (59 percent satisfied, 25 percent dissatisfied).
Senate President Franklin Drilon’s score rose 16 points to a “good” +36 (58 percent satisfied, 23 percent dissatisfied) from a “moderate” +20 (50 percent satisfied, 30 percent dissatisfied) in June.
House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.’s ratings rose 11 points to a “moderate” +13 (40 percent satisfied, 27 percent dissatisfied) from a “neutral” +2 (34 percent satisfied, 32 percent dissatisfied).
Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno’s ratings rose four points to +10 (37 percent satisfied, 27 percent satisfied) from +6 (36 percent satisfied, 30 percent dissatisfied).
Popularity matters in a Philippine election:Vice President Jojo Binay
Popularity matters in a Philippine election:
Vice President Jojo Binay

Even after dropping to his “lowest in four years”, Binay remains popular — far more than his peers in all branches of the Philippine government. This despite all the president’s men and women keeping themselves very busy over the last quarter applying their intellects to the task of putting a dent on Binay’s hold over the hearts and minds of the Filipino masses. This seems to be a repeat of the campaign in the lead up to the May 2013 midterm elections where Binay’s daughter Nancy Binay after taking a vicious slamming all over social media still managed to emerge as one of the Filipino voters’ top choices for Philippine Senator.
It is, after all, very difficult to change people’s minds, specially when hearts rather than minds are applied to a particular decision-making process. President BS Aquino’s people, of all people, should know. Back in 2010, Aquino’s was a campaign aimed primarily to target that very human condition. We can even recall how the issue of the time that one naturally thought would have blighted his popularity, the Hacienda Luisita issue, was, as it had turn out, a non-issue to Filipino voters — because they had already decided with their hearts by the time they trooped to their voting precincts. Now it’s the Binays’ turn. The masses simply aren’t listening to the suddenly hardened “reason” of President BS Aquino’s people who have now all magically morphed from being “all heart” in the 2009-2010 campaign to being “all brain” in today’s national “debate”.
In most households, parents switch off the TV when it’s time for the kids to do their homework. Unfortunately for Filipinos, the TV is always on and there is no one to forcibly take their eyes off the latest “KathNiel” sighting, or the current Pinoy Big Brother episode so that they could fill the void that is their collective mind with more important things. No one benefits from this condition more than the people who are popular. When it comes to popularity, there is no appealing to reason, no matter how much said reason is made to appear right.


benign0 is the Webmaster of

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Amazing Guide to Herbs’ Uses and Benefits

There are a number of delicious foods you can eat for the sake of your health — but still, all too often, we hear complaints that healthful food just doesn’t taste good.
Enter herbs and spices. The aromatic flavorings can transform a dish without adding calories or fat (for the most part). But many of the roots and seeds and leaves and flowers pack surprising additional health benefits of their own. From promoting longevity to fighting pain and more, here are 20 of the healthiest herbs and spices of all time.

1. Black Tea leaves-reduces heart problems
Black tea as a way to reduce the risk of heart-related problems has been studied  although more thorough testing is needed.
How to use it: A couple cups of black tea a day is a good amount, and the caffeine will help you stay alert throughout your day.
2.  Mint – To soothe an upset stomach
Mint seems to be a powerful cure for stomachaches, as well as being used for relaxation and as a diuretic.
How to use it: Mint tea is the most common and popular way to ingest the herb.
3.  Eucalyptus – Relieves lung Congestion
Perhaps best known for being the food of choice for koalas, eucalyptus is also used as a cleaning agent and to treat lung problems. It appears to have an mucolytic (mucus-clearing) and anti-inflammatory component that works particularly well in this area.
How to use it: Eucalyptus essential oil is a good option to keep by your bed or, if you can find it, use a vapor rub with eucalyptus as one of the primary ingredients.
4.  Parsley – Fights halitosis
Parsley is packed full of vitamins and has some more specific uses, such as treating bad breath. This may be due in large part to the plant’s high concentration of chlorophyll, which has some evidence in treating bad breath.
How to use it: Consuming it in your food, by itself, or in a blended drink are all good ways of using parsley for this particular ailment.
5. Ginger Prevents Nausea
Significant results have been found in ginger’s ability to ease nausea, even for motion sickness.
How to use it: Some specialists recommend taking ginger before the nausea sets in; for example, if you know you get airsick, you can chew ginger gum before takeoff. If taking ginger when nausea is already present, there are a variety of products including teas and candies that contain the roo
6. Licorice – Soothes a sore Throat
There has been some scientific examination of licorice root’s anti-inflammatory effects on sore throats, with promising results.
How to use it: You can find teas and lozenges with licorice root at a variety of grocery and health food stores, as well as online.
7. Ginseng – Boosts energy levels
Ginseng root has been tested in a number of studies for its effectiveness in fighting fatigue, with significant (though few) results.
How to use it: Ginseng can be found in a number of products including “natural” energy drinks, though as with all energy drinks these should be used with caution. You can also get ginseng in capsule form, often grouped with other herb and vitamin capsules at regular grocery stores, as well as health food and supplement stores.
8. Chamomile – promotes sleep
There have been very few scientific studies on chamomile’s ability to encourage sleep, but it remains a popular herb for this purpose.
How to use it: Chamomile as a sleep aid is typically taken as a warm tea, with many brands specifically marketing it as a “nighttime” or “sleepytime” tea.
9.  Lavander – eases tension
Evidence from scientific trials suggests that lavender works well to relieve tension and stress.
How to use it: Aromatherapy products such as oils, lotions, and herb pouches are all good ways of using the scent to relieve stress.
10. Nettle – treats dandruff
espite the name, stinging nettle has a number of recognised medical properties including as an anti-inflammatory. It has also been used as a natural treatment for dandruff.
How to use it: There are a few commercial shampoo products containing stinging nettle, though you may have better luck on sites like Etsy.
11. Cinnamon – Controls blood sugar
 wide range of research suggests cinnamon is an effective ways in managing sugar levels, particularly useful for people with Type II diabetes.
How to use it: Cinnamon can be added to a variety of foods and beverages, and can be purchased in capsule form for a higher concentration.
12. St. John’s Wort – helps in depression
Extensive research as been done on the plant’s effectiveness in treating mild to moderate depression and it is sold over the counter as such.
How to use it: Capsules, tinctures, and teas containing St. John’s Wort can be found in health food and supplement stores and some grocery stores, as well as online.
13. Calendula -preevnts wound infection
More commonly known as marigolds, calendula has several practical uses,most notably as a wound healing agent. This is due to the plant’s antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties.
How to use it: Topical ointments and creams containing calendula can be bought online or at health food and supplement stores.
14.  Comfrey- alleviates dry skin
Comfrey has had a somewhat controversial history in recent decades, and is now not recommended for any kind of internal use. Topical use of the plant is still pervasive, however, as it has shown a notable ability to treat dry or inflamed skin.
How to use it: Though it may be harder to find them in mainstream product lines, you can often find comfrey soaps and lotions on sites like Etsy or anywhere else artisan grooming products are sold.
15. Rosemary – improve memory
This ultra-fragrant, evergreen herb has garnered interest in recent decades for medical and pharmaceutical uses, most notably as a mild memory enhancer.
How to use it: Aromatherapy products such as essential oils can be found for rosemary, but the plant itself can leave a noticeable scent even when dried.
16. Passion Flower – reduces anxiety
There are around 500 species under the Passiflora genus, most of which are appreciated for their beautiful blooms as well as their tasty fruit. It has proven to be a viable treatment for some anxiety forms.
How to use it: Passionflower tea has a pleasant and sweet taste and can be found in both health food stores and most regular grocers. Tinctures and essential oils also exist.
17. Tobacco – treat bee stings
Tobacco is regarded for little else than its addictive nicotine content, but it also doubles as a surprisingly impressive way to treat wasp and bee stings.  Tobacco acts as a sort of anesthetic to the area, possibly helping to draw out the sting’s toxins as well.
How to use it: Unroll a cigarette and place the tobacco against the sting, then hold it down with a moist washcloth. The moisture is needed so that “juice” will flow to the sting.
18. Sage – fights Alzheimer’s
This grey-green herb has a faint and pleasant smell, and much like rosemary has been said to boost memory recall. While this claim hasn’t been tested, studies have found that sage is a somewhat useful treatment for people with mild to moderate Alzheimers.
How to use it: Sage can be administered in liquid elixir form or in capsules.
19.  Chrysanthemum – fights colds
Chrysanthemum’s medicinal properties are not widely tested by Western scientists, but it is a popular part of Chinese treatments for colds and other mild sickness.
How to use it: Warm chrysanthemum tea is recommended.
20. Fennel Seeds – soothes indigestion
Fennel seed has shown promising results as a relief agent for bloating and constipation.
How to use it: Fennel can be bought both in capsule form and as a tea.


31 Benefits of Cod Liver Oil

image in Daily Health Tips, Featured October 2, 2014
Cod liver oil is extracted from the liver of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua). This is obtained by pressing the steamed liver of cod fish till it produces yellow oil. It is a natural anti-inflammatory agent that can cure serious health problems. This oil is normally taken as a dietary supplement. It contains high amount of vitamin A and D, and small amount of vitamin K. It is full of nutrients and regarded as one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA). These fatty acids prevent all sorts of ailments that range from heart diseases to eczema. You can also intake cod liver oil in the form of a capsule. Health Benefits of Cod Liver Oil Cod liver oil is a super food that contains incredible healing properties.
1. Alleviates Joint Stiffness and Arthritis Cod liver oil relieves the joint pain caused due to arthritis. It soothes the inflammation and reduces the chances of joint replacement. The enzymes associated with pain and cartilage damage can be reduced through cod liver oil. One should have a teaspoon of it daily.
2. Heals Wounds The application of cod liver oil ointment on wounds speeds up the healing process.
3. Promotes Cognitive Performance Cod liver oil is loaded with vitamin D that plays an important role in maintaining the proper brain functioning, in the old age.
4. Prevents Cardiovascular Diseases Being a good source of fatty acid, cod liver oil prevents coronary atherosclerosis. Omega-3 lines up the arteries and heals the damage. Even if you have gone through a heart surgery, regularly consume a tsp of cod liver oil to improve the functioning of your heart. The vitamin D and A supports the elasticity of blood vessels and improves the functionality of muscles.
5. Helps Fight Tuberculosis Cod liver oil is an affluent source of Vitamin D, which significantly combats all sorts of infections, including tuberculosis.
6. Reduces Inflammation Omega-3 fatty acids in cod liver oil reduces the inflammation of the cells.
7. Cancer Vitamin D also wards off various types of cancer such as prostate, lymphoma, lungs and skin cancers. Cod liver oil is an excellent supplement of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids that have synergistic anticancer effects.
8. Controls Cholesterol Cod liver oil supplement can help those people who are suffering from high cholesterol. Simply consume one to two teaspoons daily, in order to reduce LDL level.
9. Reduces the Risk of Fracture Cod liver oil supplements can benefit elderly people, by reducing the risk of fracture. Combination of calcium and vitamin D prevents the feebleness and fracture in older persons.
10. Checks the Liver Issues Cod liver oil helps people with some specific liver issues. Liver damage occurs mainly due to alterations in cell appearance or the elevation of enzymes. Studies have revealed that the amount of elevated liver enzymes reduces considerably, in the presence of cod liver oil.
11. Prevents Ulcer Cod liver oil cures the gastric ulcers and prevents the development of duodenal ulcers.
12. Treats Rickets Rickets are mainly caused due to the deficiency of vitamin D. Since it is rich in vitamin D, cod liver oil can prevent rickets to a great extent.
13. Relieves Muscle Pain People with low vitamin D mainly suffer from muscle and bone pain. They also experience immense leg pain and often find difficulty in climbing the stairs. Studies have shown that a single teaspoon of cod liver oil increases the levels of vitamin D in our body, and also increases the strength of muscles.
14. Fights Type 1 Diabetes in Children According to a research, a woman can lower the risk of having a child with type 1 diabetes, if she takes one teaspoon of cod liver oil daily during her pregnancy. Note- Pregnant women are advised to consult their doctors before taking cod liver oil, on a daily basis.
15. Maintains Brain and Mental Health Cod liver oil boosts your mental health and provides respite from depression and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Our brain has high omega-3 concentration, and since this oil is well-off with omega-3 fatty acids, it benefits our brain.
16. Burns Fat The omega-3 fatty acids present in cod liver oil regulate the hormonal system which, in turn, promotes the fat burning hormones. Try to get a fermented cod liver oil that will surely help you lose extra fat.
17. Good Vision Cod liver oil contains abundant vitamin A and D, which enables one to maintain a healthy vision for long term. It is also effective in treating some other eye problems.
18. Healthy Immune System Cod liver oil copes up with the deficiency of vitamin C, and normalizes the functions of immune system, which keeps several infectious diseases at bay. Regular consumption of cod liver oil fulfills the required amount of vitamin D in body, which ensures a healthy immune system. Beauty Benefits of Cod Liver Oil
19. Removes Scar Since decades, cod liver oil has been used in maintaining a healthy skin. Folks apply this oil directly on their skin to heal the local burns, as it doesn’t let any burn marks or scars stay. It gives a glowing and radiant skin and also improves the darker complexion. Regular consumption of cod liver oil helps maintain a young look for a longer time period. It also minimizes the wrinkles.
20. Moisturizes Dry Skin Dry skin is a very common problem for millions of people. It causes itchiness and redness. Cod liver oil moisturizes and softens the dry skin. If taken orally, cod liver oil can reduce the levels of leukotriene B4 – a substance that raises the problem of severe dry skin. Consequently, cod liver oil makes your dry skin appear shiny and healthy.

Other Benefits of Cod Liver Oil

21. Prevents infection of your inner ear.
22. Helps combat kidney disease (early symptoms).
23. Treats Crohn’s disease.
24. Reduces high blood pressure.
25. Treats psoriasis.
26. Soothes bronchial asthma.
27. Reduces levels of triglycerides in your bloodstream.
28. Prevents birth defects caused due to vitamin A & D deficiency.
29. Reduces risk of lupus contraction.
30. Alleviates headache and migraine.
31. Cures digestive problems such as constipation.

Therefore, cod liver oil can assist you fight a number of ailments, without any side effects.


25 Powerful Reasons to Eat Bananas

You’ll never look at a banana the same way again after discovering the many health benefits and reasons to add them to your diet. Bananas combat depression, make you smarter, cure hangovers, relieve morning sickness, protect against kidney cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and blindness. They can cure the itch of a mosquito bite and put a great shine on your shoes.
If you think bananas are just for monkeys, think again.
1. Bananas help overcome depression due high levels of tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin — the happy-mood brain neurotransmitter
2. Eat two bananas before a strenuous workout to pack an energy punch and sustain your blood sugar
3. Protect against muscle cramps during workouts and night time leg cramps by eating a banana
4. Counteract calcium loss during urination and build strong bones by supplementing with a banana
5. Improve your mood and reduce PMS symptoms by eating a banana, which regulates blood sugar and produces stress-relieving relaxation
6. Bananas reduce swelling, protect against type II diabetes, aid weight loss, strengthen the nervous system, and help with the production of white blood cells, all due to high levels of vitamin B-6
7. Strengthen your blood and relieve anemia with the added iron from bananas
8. High in potassium and low in salt, bananas are officially recognized by the FDA as being able to lower blood pressure, and protect against heart attack and stroke

Eating bananas aids digestion
9. Rich in pectin, bananas aid digestion and gently chelate toxins and heavy metals from the body
10. Bananas act as a prebiotic, stimulating the growth of friendly bacteria in the bowel. They also produce digestive enzymes to assist in absorbing nutrients.
11. Constipated? High fiber in bananas can help normalize bowel motility.
12. Got the runs? Bananas are soothing to the digestive tract and help restore lost electrolytes after diarrhea.
13. Bananas are a natural antacid, providing relief from acid reflux, heartburn and GERD
14. Bananas are the only raw fruit that can be consumed without distress to relieve stomach ulcers by coating the lining of the stomach against corrosive acids
Natural cures from a simple banana
15. Eating bananas helps prevent kidney cancer, protects the eyes against macular degeneration and builds strong bones by increasing calcium absorption
16. Bananas make you smarter and help with learning by making you more alert. Eat a banana before an exam to benefit from the high levels of potassium.
17. Bananas are high in antioxidants, providing free radicals and protection from chronic disease
18. Eating a banana between meals helps stabilize blood sugar and reduce nausea from morning sickness
19. Rub a bug bite or hives with the inside of the banana peel to relieve itching and irritation
20. Control blood sugar and avoid binging between meals by eating a banana
21. Eating a banana can lower the body temperature and cool you during a fever or on a hot day
22. The natural mood-enhancer tryptophan, helps to relieve Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
23. Quitting smoking? Bananas contain high levels of B-vitamins as well as potassium and magnesium speed recovery from the effects of withdrawal
24. Remove a wart by placing the inside of a piece of banana peel against the wart and taping it in place
25. Rub the inside of a banana peel on your leather shoes or handbag and polish with a dry cloth for a quick shine

Now you know why monkeys are so happy. Eat a banana!


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

5 things to know about Malala Yousafzai, youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner ever

FILE - In this file photo taken Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, Malala Yousafzai speaks about her fight for girls' education on the International Day of the Girl at the World Bank in Washington.  Teenage activist Malala Yousafzai has jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize for her "heroic struggle" for girls' rights to education, it is announced Friday Oct. 10, 2014.  (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
FILE - In this file photo taken Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, Malala Yousafzai speaks about her fight for girls' education on the International Day of the Girl at the World Bank in Washington. Teenage activist Malala Yousafzai has jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize for her "heroic struggle" for girls' rights to education, it is announced Friday Oct. 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File) The Associated Press

Seventeen-year-old Pakistani Malala Yousafzai became the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize Friday.
A teenage advocate for education with a brave and buoyant story to tell, Yousafzai shares this year's honor with Kailash Satyarthi, who has campaigned against child trafficking and child labor in India.
Here are five things you should know about Malala Yousafzai. The jubilant reaction to Friday's announcement follows.

• Malala blogged for the BBC in 2009 as she defied a Taliban edict that banned girls from going to school. She was 11.
I had a terrible dream yesterday with military helicopters and the Taleban. I have had such dreams since the launch of the military operation in Swat. My mother made me breakfast and I went off to school. I was afraid going to school because the Taleban had issued an edict banning all girls from attending schools.
Only 11 students attended the class out of 27. The number decreased because of Taleban's edict. My three friends have shifted to Peshawar, Lahore and Rawalpindi with their families after this edict. On my way from school to home I heard a man saying 'I will kill you'. I hastened my pace and after a while I looked back if the man was still coming behind me. But to my utter relief he was talking on his mobile and must have been threatening someone else over the phone.
• She was targeted and shot in the head and neck almost exactly two years ago following all the publicity she received for opposing that Taliban campaign to close schools.
She was coming home from school in a van with other schoolchildren when Taliban assassins stopped the vehicle, climbed on and demanded that the children identify her. Terrified, the children did it and the men fired, also wounding two other girls.
"We do not tolerate people like Malala speaking against us," a Taliban spokesman later said, as Malala, in a Pakistani hospital, breathed with the help of a ventilator.
The Taliban would come for her again if she managed to survive, the spokesman threatened.
• She was the runner-up for Time magazine’s 2012 Person of the Year. She lost to President Barack Obama, who also has the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize to his credit.
• She is by far the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. That distinction used to belong to Tawakkol Karman, an activist in Yemen who was 32 when she shared the award with two other women in 2011. The average age of winners the year they won? 62.
• She so impressed Jon Stewart last year, hours before she won the Sakharov Prize, Europe's top human-rights award, that The Daily Show host actually asked the girl if her father would be mad if he adopted her.
In the interview, she told him: "I raised my voice on every platform that I could, and I said I need to tell the world what is happening in Swat and I need to tell the world that Swat is suffering from terrorism and we need to fight against terrorism."
The most impressive, inspirational part of the interview is what she says from 3:48 to 5:06 in response to this question of Stewart's: "When did you realize the Taliban had made you a target?"

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Filipinos need to stop inserting themselves into Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution

October 7, 2014
by FallenAngel
Or any other country’s democracy-oriented drive, for that matter.
Admittedly, watching the unfolding of the Hong Kong protests – dubbed the Umbrella Revolution – gets one’s curiosity easily piqued. Given that the protesters have been issued an ultimatum to clear the streets, outside observers are hoping that things don’t end tragically. When the world recalls how the Tiananmen Square protests ended about 25 years ago – there was a death toll that could not be ignored – an icky feeling of déjà vu suddenly creeps up.

And yet all indications point to a grim outlook: that Beijing couldn’t care less how it ends, or how the world will view them after it ends. They can either engage in a war of attrition – wait for the protests to die down – or if they really grow impatient or are no longer amused, use force to end it.
I guess it is but natural for Filipinos to watch the events in Hong Kong unfold with great interest. Given how sentimental Filipinos can get, that they wax nostalgic about their own drive towards democracy last 1986 would also be natural.
What isn’t natural, however, is how certain Filipinos inserted themselves into the events in HK. Why they shouldn’t should be obvious.
First of all, as Hong Kong is part of China; Beijing considers it part of their internal affairs, and Filipinos, being foreigners in HK, should stay out of it. Secondly, any Filipino who gets caught in the crossfire will be a big issue. China doesn’t appear to be hesitant about using force to mow down locals, when push comes to shove, much less foreigners. If any Filipino gets caught, injured, or killed, the most likely response from Beijing would be indifference; “that’s what you get for inserting yourselves into the internal affairs of China”. A possible related consequence would be in the Spratlys dispute; the Philippines has little leverage at this point, and it will only decrease further if Beijing decides to use any cases of Filipinos getting involved against our claim. And most importantly, any Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) who gets into trouble in Hong Kong means one less source of income for the palamunins left back home.
And yet, for all the stubbornness of the Filipinos, they found another way to insert themselves into the HK protests. An excerpt from the report of GMA’s Howie Severino shows how:
But Filipino residents of Hong Kong who have watched the events there unfold also credit how the present generation was raised – many by Filipina yayas.
“We have a culture of kapwa and tender loving care,” says Azon Cañete, a former NGO worker in Hong Kong who now covers the city for GMA News. “It’s hard to generalize because there are no studies, but I think OFWs have shown those values to their wards.”
“Hindi sila racist, mababait sila sa ibang lahi, (they’re not racist, they are kind to other ethnicities) ” says one long-time domestic helper in Hong Kong who, like many others here, didn’t want to be named. “Mga Pilipina kasing nagpalaki. (It’s because Filipinas raised them)
Azon Cañete is right, it’s hard to generalize. It’s not only unfounded, it’s simply not true. Establishing a causal link between the HK protesters’ politeness and the rearing and raising by Filipina nannies is not only an exercise in futility, the idea of it is absolutely ridiculous.
Filipinos in the Philippines grow up with the “every man for himself” mindset. The environment Filipinos face in their homeland is that of survival of the fittest; they have a baseless sense of being more important than anyone else. Filipinos care about others only if they are from their own clan, or if they need something. Under normal situations, however, bahala ka sa buhay mo. How can it be said, then, that we have a “culture of kapwa (community) and tender loving care?”
Filipinos are among the most racist people in the world and among the most rude to other ethnic groups. Unless of course, you give them money. I wrote the following about the supposed lack of rudeness of Filipinos back in 2012, and nothing I’ve seen in Filipino society since then has made me change my view:
Am I being a crab if I thought that the Philippines as the least rude country in a recent survey is complete and utter bullsh*t? If you think about it, maybe we are very polite and cordial, to foreigners, as long as we can keep milking money from them. Actually, this isn’t even being polite; it’s being called sipsip and switik. Once they run out of money or just stop spending it on us, and especially once they criticize us constructively and give us tips on how to improve, we immediately say that the Joes are stupid and that they should all go home.
How locals treat foreign visitors is not a definitive basis of how rude they are as a people. Watch how they treat each other, and their environment, and you get a much better idea. It’s easy to put up a veneer of kindness and receptiveness because you want to make a good first impression, but after that, bahala ka na sa buhay mo. This is called pakitang taoism, the prevalent philosophy of the pilosopo.
Speaking of treating their environment, one very commendable thing about the Hong Kong protesters is that they clean up after themselves. Surely, they didn’t learn THAT from the Filipina nannies; Filipinos are known dump crap on their neighbor’s yard, or any empty lot given an opportunity.
The only reason Filipinos suddenly become law-abiding, tolerant, disciplined, and seemingly cleanliness-observant in other countries, like HK, is because they know they can’t get away with it. Put them back in their own backyard, however, and such decency goes out the window.
Let’s not forget to discuss this whole thing about democracy.
Filipinos view the HK protests with great interest because the SAR’s drive for democracy resonates with their own; and yet after almost 30 years of being “democratic”, and “free”, Filipinos have NOTHING to show for it. Being a democracy cannot be considered an accomplishment in itself without at least aconsistent track record of results to back it up.

Filipinos were free to elect their leaders, and yet more often than not they chose the most unqualified people to occupy government positions. They put in people who ended up screwing them in one way or another, seemingly because they didn’t evaluate their candidates well enough. They forgot to hold them accountable, which is the bigger point of democracy that Filipinos keep missing. They just go through the motions of the electoral process – doing the same thing every time – and expect results to be different. The Filipinos’ stunted imagination and inability to think themselves out of a cul-de-sac prevents from imagining leaders other than the mediocre crop who make themselves known and who currently infest our government offices.
Ever wonder why the culture of epal will never truly go away in Filipino society? Because such ka-epalan runs deep into the cultural fabric. As fellow writer Gogs puts it, the Philippines is a nation of KSP (kulang sa pansin, always needing attention). I prefer to call it a comma personality (read: singit nang singit).
Whatever the name for it may be, it only makes Filipinos look more stupid than they actually do now. It is not ok to find a way to put your ethnic group into the picture, and yet what makes it worse in the Filipinos’ case is that they are simply all hot air – without any semblance of collective accomplishment to back their self-importance up.
That is one of the many REAL tragedies of Filipino society. It is composed of a people who are too attention-starved for their own good, however undeserving of it they may be. When they finally do get it, such time in the spotlight only serves to highlight how hollow and shallow they are as a people.
Last I heard, nobody ever earned any respect that way. Maybe the Umbrella Revolution that took place here in the Philippines was that Filipinos donned umbrellas when it rained BRAINS.
Cartoon photo courtesy:


Wer mit der Herde geht, kann nur den Ärschen folgen - whoever runs with the flock, can only follow ass.