Monthly Archives: July 2011

SONA Aftermath: Wangwang-ed

Tapusin na po natin ang kultura ng negatibismo; iangat natin ang kapwa-Pilipino sa bawat pagkakataon. Bakit po ang iba, ang hilig maghanap ng kung anu-anong pangit sa ating bayan? At napakahirap—parang kasalanan—na magsabi ng maganda? Naalala pa po ba natin noong huling beses tayong pumuri sa kapwa Pilipino?

—President Benigno S. Aquino on his second State of the Nation Address

One of the most irritating feelings in the world is definitely when you expected something big but it turns out to be zilch. Since this is just a follow up to my previous post, I’ll keep my post short.

First, let’s start with the technicalities. Really now, until the very end I hoped for a very good State of the Nation Address from you, Mister President but no, you truly sunk all my hopes down the moment you started your speech. Your SONA must be changed into SOWA, State of the Wangwang Address. Is that all you can ever use as a figure of speech? It’s definitely exhausting and irritating hearing that word over and over again. According to ABS-CBN News Network, you used it for “about twenty times”. In effect, it made his overall speech boring.

Actually, I find it better for presidents to deliver their speech in Filipino so that it would be more direct and personal to their citizens. However, there is still a need for him to speak it in a more formal way. The way he speaks is so un-presidential. Sometimes, it’s as if he’s just talking like some Tondo boy challenging someone for a fight. He’s too rowdy. There are also times where he stammers, most probably because there are some matters that are difficult to express in the Filipino language. Of course, everyone noticed that he coughed at least thrice in his speech. Yosi break before his SONA, perhaps? Pampawala lang ng nerbios.

Secondly, the bashing still occurred. She-who-must-not-be named was still attacked by him. It’s too tiring hearing it. It’s also too immature for him to go on with his blame game. I find it funny that he wants to end crab mentality yet he is doing that by continuously pulling down the name of the previous administration to highlight himself every single time. Is he the King Crab then?

But, if there’s anything I liked that came about his blaming again the previous administration is his expose on PAGCOR using more than P1 Billion on coffee. This is pedantic and ludicrous. If this is true, PAGCOR has a lot of explaining to do and someone must be penalized regarding this matter.

(By the way, a lot of people are commenting on how uncorrupted this administration is but have they penalized somebody already? Can anyone give me the facts and figures about this?)

Thirdly, it is incomplete. If my memory serves me right, he mentioned about more help extended to house help, which is currently a house bill in the lower house, as well as to soldiers and victims of martial law. He also wants to extend Department of Science and Technology scholarship which he significantly lessened last year. Nevertheless, he is silent on more pertinent and hot topic bills like Freedom of Information Bill, Responsible Parenthood/Reproductive Health Bill or the Divorce Bill. He also did not express anything on the division of his beloved Hacienda Luisita. Nothing is also said about Environment issues and policies which are essential now that the world is experiencing climate change.

There is also no concrete plan especially for the economy. Yes, the stock market is on its all time high. Yes, Gross Domestic Product has fairly good progress. However, he did not mention how the government would intervene with the outrageously rising gas prices and the deadly inflation. We are now purchasing less and less because of that.

I understand that no superhero could ever fix the Philippines in a year but I demand an economic plan in order for us to really move forward. The problem with this administration is we are not going anywhere except drive straight ahead without knowing where to go. As our leader, President Aquino should have planned, presented and ordered us to be equipped on where we must go. Indeed, he delivered a populist speech. But what are theories if we cannot put it onto practice?

***

I’ll end my post with two things that I truly liked with what he had promised. First, I commend his wisdom for choosing former Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales as the new Ombudsman. She’s an iron lady who is a hard worker and whose integrity cannot be questioned. I’m sure that someone would be penalized with her actions and reforms with the Office of the Ombudsman. Second, I do hope that the Monorail project would be actualized as soon as possible. We need a mass transportation system that would help decongest traffic as soon as possible.

What to Expect from PNoy, A Year After

Ang mandato nating nakuha sa huling eleksyon ay patunay na umaasa pa rin ang Pilipino sa pagbabago. Iba na talaga ang situwasyon. Puwede na muling mangarap. Tayo nang tumungo sa katuparan ng ating mga pinangarap.”

—President Benigno S. Aquino on his First State of the Nation Address

Let’s face it; it isn’t really easy being president. I experienced being class president twice and I could attest the difficulty in managing such a small class size of about thirty students. Every once in a while, you would have a dispute with one or some of them, including your closest friends, regarding the decisions you made which may be unfavorable with them. I don’t think that I made an important decision wherein everybody is truly happy. That’s why I could imagine how difficult it is being a president of a developing country like President Benigno Simeon “PNoy” Aquino.

However, after a year since his first SONA, was there really any significant change in the Aquino government? Are we really going anywhere with his “matuwid na daan” or straight path? But a straight path does not equate to the RIGHT path. Also, driving nonstop on a straight path without knowing where to go is detrimental for all of us as it may lead us crashing to the brick wall or worst, fall down the pit. Do we really have a destination for the straight path of his?

First,  I wonder what would he say on his State Of the Nation Address later. I talked to several people and they said that it would be like “State of the Nation and Arroyo”. I really wish in vain that he’ll not talk about her on the present SONA. It’s sickening hearing his blame game over and over again. I thought that a year ago, that was unsurprising because he just acquired the position and he was still adjusting with the condition of the state left to him by the Arroyo administration. Also, he enjoys his popularity of being the “clean” image as the ex-President Arroyo left her post stained with suspected corruption emanating from her alleged rigged win on 2004 Presidential Elections and her husband and friends had supposedly garnered wealth from the taxes of people.

With this, he made several attempts on eradicating corruption including the famous “Truth Commission” which was trashed by the Supreme Court because it was worded too anti-PGMA and clouding the right of every men with the presumption of innocence because it is as if she is already guilty with the wordings of the Truth Commission and it’s up to her to prove it otherwise, that which is contrary to law. Equal protection clause was also violated because it specifically pointed her administration only and not previous administration like Estrada’s, wherein he was convicted of plunder, and Ramos’, where several projects like the Freedom Park in Pampanga was also stained with corruption. Now, with his SONA, I challenge PNOY with eradicating corruption without being selective on his subjects under investigation. Everyone, including his allies, must be investigated if there is something dubious with his or her integrity in the government.

Also, he’s only proving his incompetence with blaming her everything including the lack of budget for the military that’s why the Manila Hostage Crisis happened. Oh, please. You do not need the best of equipments to stun a single person. I must strongly declare that the president’s lack of directive is the cause of it. Lastly, I want him to clean his own backyard too by dividing Hacienda Luisita to his tenants because if he fails in doing so, it would seem that the whole Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program would go to waste. A leader must lead by example and if he fails to do so, no one would even bother sharing their land with their poor and striving tenants. I really hope hard that he would stop criticizing her because he is just dividing the country. More than a symbol of a “clean” leader, he must be a symbol too of unity and solidarity.

Second, I can’t really think of a project that he made which is really significant. If you ask an ordinary Filipino, he would remember his campaign anti-“Wang Wang” or the banning of the use of celebrities and politicians of sirens only. But what else did he do for our country? It’s really difficult to think of any other orders made by him. For example, he promised a lot of jobs made last SONA but the sad reality is, the unemployment rate rose from 7.1% to 7.4%. He also cut budget for state universities, including University of the Philippines, much to the dismay of the students. He said that it’s just a political will to enforce the K+12 education in the country. But why bother adding years in our primary and secondary education when we barely have money to sustain classrooms and books for our children? The class size reaches up to 80 students sardine in a very small classroom or worst, under the tree. Three to four students are sharing a piece of tattered book, too. Why not address these problems first before adding more burdens to the teachers with the changes in curriculum? Also, we did not see any changes with the opening of the new school year this June. Well, some classrooms were painted and additional books were also given and then that’s it. Where did the additional funds go then?

But still, I credit him for his Conditional Cash Transfer Program or Department of Social Welfare and Development’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Project. In this program, gives conditional cash grants to indigent families who have children ages 14 years old and below. A P500 monthly cash grant is given for health and nutrition expenses while P300 monthly cash grant is given per child up to the maximum of three children for educational expenses, that’s a maximum of P1,400 a month. That is good if they indeed invest it in education and health as they are essentially the best possessions a man could achieve in his lifetime because that cannot be taken away from you. However, can we really safely let the wisdom of the indigent parents rule on how they are going to spend the money? It’s not that I’m prejudicing the indigent people but they might use it instead with other expenses like beer, cigarettes or drugs perhaps. Hence, it’s better if we ask for studies and reports made by the DSWD for the effect, both positive and negative, of this project. I want the SONA to explain on how they are monitoring these and how many families were benefitted by this project correctly.

There are more things to anticipate in the SONA like whether or not he would support the RH Bill or what are our plans in protecting the Spratly or Kalayaaan islands on the West Philippine Sea. However, whatever he would say in this SONA, I firmly believe that all of us Filipinos must watch and listen with his second SONA. We may vary on beliefs and standpoints but in the end, we are on the same boat. We are on the same country and everything that he would say today would affect us in one way or another. There is no room for apathy because with our apathy lead us to this point wherein we have been taken advantaged of, abused, and corrupted by our leaders. If we want change we must listen and follow him with his directives.

Personally, I do not like him but he is still my president because democracy tells me he is so and I respect that. I want us, Filipinos, to unite for once in dreaming again for our country. And with that, I sincerely hope that you won’t fail us with your fresh year being our president again. Enough with your measly mistakes because even though the Lord said to forgive seventy times seven times, you have to know that we, the silent majority, are keeping our list.

With all that said, good luck and God bless you with your SONA, Mr. President. And yes, we do not care about your love life.

Directive from your "Boss": Step out of their shadow. Start being a man now, PNOY.

All is well, Harry.

All is well.

I happen to be a Potterhead since I was eleven, I think. Coincidentally, this is the age of Harry Potter when all the magic began in Hogwarts. My aunt was a dean in Angeles University and someone gave her a copy of the Chamber of Secrets. She did not read it as its position in her clear cabinet filled with books never changed even after several times we arrive home in the province. I tried reading it once, I found it cool but I was confused. Obviously, something came before it so I placed it back. However, some months after, I saw it with a different book—the Sorcerer’s Stone. I got curious with it and read it until I can’t let go with it. I asked my aunt if I could borrow it together with the first book and she says yes. She always encourages us to read as much as we can.

I finished both quickly and checked if there were more books published at that time. She bought me the Prisoner of Azkaban, too. Now, the fourth one, the Goblet of Fire, was really hard to find then. We searched every National Bookstore we could find until we found one but it was very foreign in my eyes as it was published by British company, Bloomsbury, unlike the rest of my Harry Potter books which were published by the American company, Scholastic.

The last three books were already book-bounded as we “reserved” our copies from National Bookstore in SM Fairview. Our family hardly watches movies on the big screen but we watched ALL Harry Potter movies in the big screen. But now, as I saw the credits roll on the last movie, I suddenly felt depression. What is next for a Potterhead like me?

Of course, I am happy on how things turned out on the end. Madame Rowling indeed kept the excitement, the logic, the plot and the magic very strong at the very end. And as I hoped, the last film brought justice with ending the Harry Potter saga. I cried a lot seeing on the big screen how Severus Snape sacrificed himself for the love of his life, Lily Potter (nee Evans) and her only son, Harry. Seeing how many people died on the first battle of Hogwarts also helped in washing away all my makeup in thee cinema. I certainly love how some of my loved character had their moment on screen besides my favorite character, Snape, who was portrayed powerfully but Alan Rickman. I mean, who would forget how Professor Minerva McGonagall yelled, “COWARD” to Snape after the latter flees Hogwarts when he was defeated by her in a duel. Of course, we all felt the spirit of success when Molly Weasley shouted to Bellatrix, “NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!” and finishing of in a duel. Bella’s death gave me a sense of sweet revenge after remembering how she mercilessly killed her own cousin (Sirius Black), niece (Nymphadora Tonks), Dobby among others. I was also so proud of Neville Longbottom for being the first one to fight back Voldemort after the “death” of Harry Potter and slicing the head of the freaking snake, Nagini, in one stroke of the Sword of Godric Gryffindor.

Oh, memories…happy memories are engulfing and overpowering me tonight. Memories of my childhood made magical by Harry Potter. Though definitely, I’ll remain as a Potterhead forever, it is still kind of saddening that it all ends with me watching the final movie. I would miss the anticipation, the fan theories on what would come next and the excitement it brings with every page of every scene on the movie. I love how much it taught me on love, friendship, courage, family and loyalty. I love the fact that it brought out the “witch” in me, giving me confidence that even if I was as ordinary as Harry Potter in the beginning, I could make something extraordinary with making my life magical by sharing this life with the people I love but at the same time, defending myself from being succumbed by the people who are seemingly Death Eaters in the real world.

I probably lack sense now either because I’m sleepy or I’m still overwhelmed with the last film (which I really intend to watch again in the movies—the first time ever that I want to watch again a film that I saw on the big screen). But for now, I feel like saying goodbye to an old friend, Harry Potter. Though I am sad that I might not see him again, I fear not. He’s already engraved forever in my heart.

From Everythingharrypotter.tumblr.com
Bravo, Harry Potter! Rowling is our Queen!

Un-friending and Un-liking Facebook

Today, if someone would sell to me a shirt saying “I Survived Two Weeks Without Facebook”, I would most likely buy it. It’s been exactly two weeks since I deactivated my account indefinitely. Somehow, now I have mixed reaction regarding this matter.

I’ve created my Facebook account December 1 of 2008. When I joined it, I know barely anyone using it. Friendster is already losing greatly its popularity at that time. People grew tired of its rather simple interface as well as irritated for lack of innovation and the non-action to the famous Friendster virus spreading rapidly from one account to another. A lot of my friends’ account was phished. My account was almost phished as well but it’s a good thing that I changed my password right away.

Personally, I did not like Friendster much because of two reasons. First, when it allowed users to modify the look of their accounts, some went overboard. They placed a lot of flashing gifs, some ugly marquees, some music which some accounts have two or more mp3 or midi files played at the same time and practically, some accounts would take forever to load and nothing matched at all. Modesty aside, I always bring first place when I was high school on interschool web design contests and I truly value aesthetics on webpage design. Frankly speaking, the Friendster pages that some of my friends made almost made me vomit as I was so dizzy looking at their personal pages.

Secondly, I think Friendster made the worst move ever when they created a feature wherein one could view people who viewed his or her account. A lot of people were flabbergasted after discovering this “development” in Friendster. What makes Friendster really popular, though some people would not admit it, was not primarily to interact with friends but to stalk people especially their crushes and enemies. Nasty, huh? But that is definitely true. Some were disappointed because their acts of stalking may finally be realized by their subjects. Friendster tried modifying this by allowing users to check people who viewed them only if they consent that their visits would be viewed by other users who also have this setting but it was too late. Friendster was steadily losing popularity. From a very active networking site, it slowly evolved to a cold graveyard.

Some people moved to Multiply. I also had my Multiply account with some of my college and high school friends. I created my Multiply account maybe back on 2006. We, particularly my college block mates and I, all love pictures hence we kept on uploading pictures in Multiply nonstop and commenting happily with each other’s albums. We also blogged there and shared rants and reviews on anything and everything under the sun. But then again, the fault of Multiply is similar with the second problem with Friendster that I had mentioned above. Yes, it also informs you about people who viewed your page—but with complete accuracy. You would know who viewed you per page and when exactly were you viewed by that person. On the view of Multiply team, it assured its users that their site is family and child-friendly hence, even though there were clamors to stealth their views for a certain price, Multiply refused to do so. Sadly, because of this and lack of any addicting interactive features like games which the fast emerging Facebook had, Multiply quickly faded away. I open my Multiply account sometimes because it contains the soul of my cherished college life but unluckily, the only accounts that gives some updates are those which asked me to be their business contacts. I wonder if these accounts still earns money. I barely know anyone who revive their Multiply account.

I was still regularly checking my Friendster and Multiply accounts when I created my Facebook account. Being a geeky and homey person I am who have very little social life, my social networking accounts are very dear to me. If my memory serves me right, I created my Facebook account because I was taking a break in writing my thesis. I was bored to death that’s why I check my Yahoo account and decided to heed with the request of some people who sent me Facebook invites. I was impressed with how clean the interface of Facebook was and how simple yet powerful it seems. You could easily view on the then single wall who updated their accounts and who interacted with whom. Your actions are not viewed by other users and vice versa. This equals to a lot of wasting your time stalking persons you like to as much as you like as long as that person is your friend. Also, Facebook introduced a lot of interactive games. I admit that I was a slave of my pet in Pet Society and my restaurant in Café World among others. I love the feeling of having one of the highest scores among my friends and mind you, I never cheated in all my game scores. Definitely, I’m sure you were also amazed when you found out that you could actually chat with an on-line friend in Facebook and everything that you posted and commented on notified to you.

After several months, it made more improvements and interactions—more games, more pictures for the albums (originally, an album could contain up to sixty pictures), more like pages, more applications and more groups. Not to mention the fact that Facebook gave a new meaning to the work ‘like’ and ‘wall’. Then, just a few days ago they even introduced a Skype-like feature. In short everything and anything was already compressed into a neat little package on Facebook. What else isn’t integrated in Facebook? But now the million-peso question remains: Why did I leave Facebook indefinitely?

Three words: I got suffocated.

I was practically the slave of that site especially when I still very active in Café World. I would wake up wee hours in the morning to check if my recipes were ready to serve. I cannot afford having them spoiled. I’m always unease if I’m not on-line within two hours. I’m always thinking if someone messaged me or if someone commented or at least liked my latest status message or created album. I wasted countless hours just flipping between my wall and my main page. I checked on a lot of people and pages repeatedly. I basically know whether Friend X has a new job or about to give birth out of the wedlock or now on another country continuing his or her studies or had gone to Boracay for the nth time. Facebook is an addiction that I cannot stop no matter how much I tried, similarly like a smoker can’t stop puffing his cigarette or how a drunkard wouldn’t get enough of beer. We all know that it’s already bad for us but we also do not care about the limits just as long as we continue enjoying what we were doing. As a consequence, I lost a lot of time devoted to my study to the use of Facebook. It also made me kind of sad after signing off especially if I see a lot of my friends having the time of their lives. While I see my life unchanged for the next three years, I see them buying the latest gadgets, wearing the prettiest clothes, going on to serious relationships (some of my high school classmates already got married), partying like there is no tomorrow, travelling to all my dream places and supporting their parents. But me, I am nothing now, just a mere speck of dust unnoticed in the universe. It kind of hurt me because I can’t help but be jealous at times. Eventually, I got tired with all this monotonous doing of mine in Facebook. Facebook also did not do anything interesting anymore and I just got well, bored.

Another thing was there are a lot of people reporting a lot of things to my parents about me on Facebook. Yes, I did spend a lot of time using but I’m perpetually on-line because of my iPod. Though some of my times were eaten up by Facebook, it doesn’t mean that I do not study at all like what some exaggerated persons are talking about me. It also makes me wonder how some people are doing it—on-line in Facebook the whole day with a family at hand and mountain of jobs to be finished yet they still have a lot of time to squeeze themselves in other persons’ lives. Facebook made me too connected with a lot of unnecessary people that’s why it drowned me with the sea of quandary. And now it’s time to leave everything behind beneath the sea and breathe fresh air on the shore.

Well, it’s not just me. A few months ago, an article came out saying that there had been a rapid decline on Facebook users especially in the Western world. The reason: Saturation. Is this the start of the decline of Facebook?

I still crave the use of Facebook every day but in my mind, I was of thanking God on every successful day that I survived without Facebook. Baby steps would come a long way like now I’ve reached my two weeks without it whilst before I declared to my best friend, Clare, that I would never lived 48 hours without Facebook. I also reached all my target readings. At the moment, I barely had any backlog readings from all my subjects in law school. It was also nice living offline, too. I’m still active in Twitter however due to the loss of my Facebook account, the number of my tweets declined noticeably, too.

I may be back to Facebook one day. Perhaps, because of my curiosity to a certain friend or maybe because I missed a lot of good people there. Or probably shut it down forever and create an account with the new hot buzz, Google+. I can never tell by now. But in the mean time, I love my peace without it and at the moment I intend to keep it that way.

Crash and Burn. With the reportedly decline of users, including myself, will Facebook turn into another Friendster of Myspace?