Monthly Archives: June 2013

UNDERSTANDING THE LANGUAGE OF THE MOB

mafiosi

In the underworld, a denizen is called a wise guy.  In the prison community, he is referred to as “gurang” ( from the vernacular “magulang” or one who is wise to the ways of the world).  Both are street smart, clever and shrewd, as a matter of fact, they believe that they are even better than the others.  They may be living in the shadows like the Mafiosi or serving time in prison but they are never seen, nor they never even felt that they were victims at all.  In fact, they know all along that they are on top of the food chain and usually referred to as offenders.

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One never would dare cross or double cross them.  They can just pull anything lethal and out goes the fatal decision.  They are at times issuing offers one cannot refuse.  Deal with them with honesty and truthfulness and they would respond with equal zeal and commitment.  Deal with them with a hidden agenda, they would immediately know and one becomes a prey several times over.  Their vulnerability actually is their strength.  Force them to do something, they would return it with force one cannot imagine or understand.  Better not to indulge them at all unless one is practicing a profession where there is no recourse but interact and transact with them.  Nonetheless, they would even create a distance although their overt actions project proximity.  If they see someone as a threat, the closer they become.  Be sincere from thereon therefore.

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A wise guy or an ex con (for that matter) is an extraordinary specie, which is elusive, almost cryptic.  They are shy by orientation.  They are never at the forefront, always preferring to stay in the background.  They are even at ease when treated as inferior.  You can even ignore them.  One never hears them complain unless they intend to make one over another.  They would surely disappear as soon as they get whatever they intend to receive.  But they do not appreciate anything enforced.    They would not even appropriate overtly.  They would rather fool a person subtly than force him to do the bidding.  And most likely, they can fool around because a person less smart is always presumed as gullible.    Try to overcome them, they would just rebound to overwhelm anyone further down the gutter.  Better understand them from a distance therefore.

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Their language is never to be understood through their spoken expression at all.  It comprises phrases full of invectives and vituperations.   It is only an approach though to misdirect anyone trying to get into their system.  Like government, they communicate through the language of violence.  Hence, they are respected even by the most radical elements of society.  They are seen as a separate entity with its own culture, norm and laws.

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If they want anything, they merely get it.  But it is not a simple matter that they really want.  They abhor triviality.  Relationship is nothing to them.  They are never bothered with emotions.  Anything sentimental is alien to them.  They have buried the act of loving along with their dead comrades.  They hate affection. They only want something grand.  They hit hardest if the price is right; and, the price actually must be astronomical and not some fledging loose change.

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Their sense of family is strictly exclusive.  Anyone outside of the family is already considered a threat, a casualty, a collateral damage.  Anyone who tries to relate and find a liaison with them is playing a lethal game.  No one escapes from them to expose whatever it is that bound them.  They basically are a different class, a weird category sufficiently contented on their own.

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Yet they exist in our midst.  They are there in every corner.  They are a common fixture in every bend.  They are real more than imagined.  For every heinous crime, there is one behind it.  For every high crime obligated, for every chaos created, they knew it would happen beforehand.  They normally call Hell as home.  Not that they are never afraid to die, they are actually even more interested on death.  Not that they would prefer death but that they already know how it is to live; something which is a notch higher in their consciousness compared with others.

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Beware therefore.  With them everywhere, it is dangerous to get into their sphere and fool around.

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ON RENEWING THE DRIVER’S LICENSE

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There is another add-on in the process of applying for and renewing a driver’s license.  LTO has introduced another layer— drug testing —on top of other requirements.  While before, it was a simple procedure, an annual routine trek, now, it is an arduous manner, almost a crusade, an expensive consideration with a number of layers to overcome.  (Note: Just this date, June 28, 2013 LTO issued a memorandum to all LTO offices all over the country suspending the drug test requirement for applicants.)

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First, there was the increase in the fee to be paid by the applicant.  For the new comers, the exam, then followed by the practical test.  Thereafter, the wait and finally, the license.  A layer was added later before the final issuance—the medical test.  And then from a cardboard type to the plastic laminated one.  The change keeps on happening until the renewal period becomes a 3-year affair.

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Through LTO, government can devise ways to source out funds.  It has integrated into the system additional charges like road users and other related fees, this on top of the required medical testing and recently the drug testing (sic).  This entail additional burden for the applicant but he is a captive subject and has no choice, unless he wanted to be at the tail end of an accident even if he is a victim.

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How about increasing the ante further.  Why not increase the period for renewal, instead of the regular 3 year as baseline, to increase it further yearly with of course added cost like P500 for every year applied for.  Hence, the applicant pays P5K more if he wanted his license to be renewed after ten years.  Government through LTO will accumulate instant fund in the process.  And there are a number of applicants willing to shell out so much if only to deviate from the usual trek which is marked with inconvenience and hassles.  Assuming that we have a million drivers who would apply for the extended 10 year plan, at P500, that would surely mean half a billion peso already.

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Let us forget about corruption for a while.  The added fund can already finance a lot of motorist related programs that could ease traffic condition, promote road safety and additional projects intended for pedestrian and driver welfare.

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My driver’s license has been deemed dormant.  I have not renewed it for more than two years and so when I went to an LTO office and sought its services, I was promptly asked to proceed to a window where my license would be verified.  Thereafter, I was sent to another window to fill up forms.  Accordingly, I must start from the beginning.  That is, I will have to undergo what first timers are required to.  I must attend a 2 hour seminar, a 30-minute written exam and then an hour of practical test.  The LTO unit (Tagum City) where I applied for a driver’s license is properly administered.  It is orderly, the procedures simple and smoothly moving.  The personnel are also very courteous.  As a government official, I thought that LTO has become a model worth emulating. 

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There is however one area which is very intriguing.  The written exam I took, although it is a 60-question affair, is something an above average person will have to hurdle.  I am with a group presumably coming the ranks of tricycle drivers and I just could not convince myself that they breezed through the written test.  I may have suffered a decline in my IQ because I had a hard time answering the test or those who took it along with me must have been wizards.  Most of them even completed the test way ahead of me.  And to think that these shabby, harassed looking paisanos would probably cringe at the discipline I underwent—two masteral degrees at UP and PWU, two advanced training abroad in Japan and Australia, a special course in a war college, Bachelor’s of Law and candidacy in Doctorate in Ateneo.  And at the end of the exercise, we ALL passed the test with flying colors!

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I was brimming with satisfaction after I got my brand new license.  The same can be said also among those who were with me in the exam room.  When I got into my car, my staff, who accompanied me whispered that had I failed the exam, there are people milling in the area willing to fix and supply the answer for P3,700.00!  I almost run through an electric post!

NEOPHYTE SOLONS START TO STUDY ONLY AFTER GETTING ELECTED

politician as joker

If there is any foul measure or insult one can get is that the person who was elected into public office to lead eventually gets into the groove to study how to lead.  In other words, the whole projection during the campaign was pure charade, a joke and done in jest.  It is like getting the services of a defender.  As soon as the contract as counsel has been inked, the person enters the law school to qualify.  Worst, it is like seeking a medical treatment from someone who is as yet to enroll in the medical school!

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The electorate is to blame at times.  They deserve whatever shortfall their collective decisions may have brought them to bear, specially hardships and destitution in the course of electing their leaders; and, equally liable are Government agencies in charge of qualifying those who screen candidates, they ought to be impugned also.  Civil Service Commission is strict on those who seek employment in government requiring applicants to possess the minimum qualification for a specific post in government service only to turn a deaf ear on the qualifications of those running for public office.  The justification is that the Constitutional provision is liberal on the qualification of those in the elective office.  That explains why there are druids, jokers, shamans, jesters who are elected as leaders and representatives of the people.  The cavalier provision makes life unbearable and the people are left wishing the universe for a change in their fate.  Wishful thinking, it is.

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While studying and advancing knowledge are commendable attributes, legislative work is not a technical or a vocational skill to be learned.  There are numerous clerks and technicians who are paid by people’s hard earned money submitted, as tax and any course that would duplicate the effort would only mean a waste of resources.  Representatives must know what their people needs.  While on the campaign trail, they already have offered a platform which through their sworn competence it would be realized.  Unless of course, and this is already being revealed, that what they have promised were merely delusions and fairy tale mirages only.   Besides, honesty and incorruptibility are never learned anywhere.  It is on how a person is bred that makes it happen.

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Public service expressed through public, elective office is a vow, a crusade to be conducted with passion and competence.   It is not only a calling; it is at most a sacrifice of heroic proportion.  It is not about popularity.  It is not an economic proposition to refund with interests whatever has been expended.  It is never a profession to explore personal opportunities to gain.  It is never a sanctuary for selfishness and exclusive private concern.  It is never intended to play a joke on the populace.  It should not be a form of entertainment.

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These eager-beaver political neophytes are playing with fate and flames.  They have never realized that submitting themselves to the people, campaigning and promising, sharing their interests and assurances, asserting pledges and giving guarantees are conditions they stress in exchange not only of their poltical survival but their mortality too.  Admission whether disguised or implied that they have as yet to prepare for their role is incurable as it is lethal.  How will they lead if unprepared?  How will they lead when ill equipped?  How will they lead when untrained?  To confess that they are now cramming to learn is already a plea of treachery.

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It is not sloth, it is not exploitation, it is not gullibility that makes this nation poor, it is treason by its chosen leaders.  They do not only deserve a day in their post, they do not even deserve to exist at all!

UNDERSTANDING CHINA FROM A DISTANCE

chinese

Historically, China, unlike countries in the West like France, Spain, Germany, has not figured in any colonizing initiative.  China’s approach is always conducted more along commercial lines.  While invading armies of the West were continuously in search of territories to append to their mother country, China is even ahead in the exploration, reaching other countries through its enterprising merchants.  Even during the height of Roman conquest, the Chinese hardware was already a significant spot.  It has been said that those who sent the Lord Christ to the cross bought the steel nails from a Chinese stockpile in the area!

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Indeed, China’s civilization is superior to most advanced countries during the early times.  It has been said further that at a time when Europeans discovered wool and spoon, China’s ruling class was already clothed in flowing silk and eating on porcelain bowls and drinking from mineral studded gold chalices!  European naval military designers even copied their warships from China’s floating junks!

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China is an oriental country and its worldview different from its counterparts in the West.  Its great men, honored and held sacred were never the explorers or the warring kind.  They were the mystics, the philosophers, the contemplative kind.  They held the Buddha as its spiritual guide and Confucius as their ethical master.  If they were threatened, they would rather withdraw and check whether it is wise to indulge from the standpoint of economy and not from the standpoint of braggadocio.  It is better to lose face than money, as they say.

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The past was instructive for China.  They once were imported to fill manpower requirements of an aggressive colonizing and exploring countries.  The term “china man” was coined and derived to equate as dirt, poor and cheap labor.   The idiomatic expression “china man’s chance” means little or no chance at all.  If at all they would be forced to raise arms it is directed more against their local opponents, remember the factional dynasties in China, the Xia, the Shang, Zhou, Qin and not against other nations.  Big as their country was, there was even a period when Japan, a mere islet compared with vast China, was almost overtaken by the latter.  There are no records, current and extant which could point to an aggressive China.

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Even at a time when China has progressed and gained some opportunity to increase its strength through military industry and space science, it is not for them to use it that matters but on how they could sell and make something out of it that matters more.

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I am not a fan of China even if Chinese blood runs through the veins of the Philippine national hero.  Even if the progress of the country depended largely on the initiative of the local Chinese migrants.  China is strictly for Chinese only and the only influence that is worth appreciating is their culturally molded patience.  Collectively, they think in terms of generation than current events.  They think of long term plans than sudden perks.    They conduct commerce with a view of enlarging its sphere rather than concentrate on instant profit.  They would rather count cents on a consistent spread than count on a bagful of return if only to fizzle out in a jiffy.  I know of a  Chinese kid who was a child of a Chinese migrant in the country who bought empty bottles and used newspapers for a living and who eventually became a tycoon, owner of a chain of department stores, a score of industries including an airline!  He is John Gokongwei.

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During Martial Law, there was capital flight.  Local capitalists would rather ship their fortunes elsewhere than gamble it in a country torn almost into factions and about to explode in a civil war.  A Chinese merchant did not leave and instead went into full commercial gear.  There was a Chinese saying, “If there is blood on the street, buy properties.”  So there, this Chinaman did just that.  After the military rule, he was the richest man in the country.  His name is Henry Sy, owner of SM chains of superstores and a lot more.

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We can learn more about Chinese qualities but at most, we cannot proximate their tenacity.  At least, from our end we should never indulge or challenge them, but surely we can only appreciate.  They are fellow Orientals in the first place.

MONSTER UNIVERSITY: A classic film in the works

monsters u

Pixar Film Industry pioneered a different approach to animation.  And it succeeded where others merely wished that they should have initiated the trend sometime ago.  It took Apple’s founder, then unemployed, actually to jumpstart the animation industry to what it is today as a thriving business.

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And a full-length movie in the mold of Up, Finding Nemo and Toy Story, the budget requirement is indeed very astronomical.  The preparation alone for a complete film costs somewhere around $180 Million already.  This would include artists, those who draw, conceptualize and animate through computer and the various voices introduced in every character which are directly coming from veteran and popular thespians themselves.  In Toy Story, the voice over of Woody was that of Tom Hanks and Buzzz Lightyear was that of Tim Allen. Doris of Finding Nemo got the voice of showbiz opinion giant Ellen de Generes.   Albert Brooks voiced for Marlin.  Billy Crystal’s vocals were lent to Monster’s Mike Wazowski.  So on and so forth.  They are not ordinary voices; they are sound bytes from admired film stars, silver screen awardees in their own right.

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In the movie Monster’s University, Walt Disney Studio International through Columbia Pictures has distributed the main film outfit.  The Walt Disney Company was probably eating its heart out.  Pixar Studio first made an offering to Walt Disney before and it was rejected.  When Steve Jobs, newly thrown out from Apple, Inc,, the company he founded, bought and introduced a new line for its existence through dynamic children stories, animation took another plane.  It literally radicalized arts and Hollywood movies nearly were seconded.   This is when visionaries are given a chance to express their uncanny ability to chart what is forthcoming.

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As it were, it is even bruited about that Monster’s University may explode at the tills and may even upend blockbuster movies like Man of Steel, Iron Man 3 and After Earth.

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In said movie, monsters reflected what is endearing to humanity.  Here, man is caricatured, his distortions straightened and his defects clearly improved through flawed physical projections.  Creative perceptions of what monsters looked like, they exude human qualities in its respectable height.

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In the first Monster film a few years back, the producers were praying for an ROI at least for a pioneering production on 2D animation.  The story was even untried and never along the usual classic cartoon genre.  The cost was staggering and was merely banking on the popularity of the talents tapped to voice over the characters.  In a consumer driven world, advertising played a great role.  One can have a rotten fruit to be sold as yet but if it is marketed as a miracle and exotic pod, then it can be a hit.  The cost of the film ballooned when the expenditure included its advertisement.  But eventually it paid.  Monsters Inc. became a blockbuster and ushered an era in animation which is a difficult act to follow.

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Now, if you will excuse me, I will just find the shortest cue in downtown movie houses to watch Monster University.

DRAGGING THE MASSACRE TOWARDS INSIGNIFICANCE

massacre

Last November 23, 2009  in the town of Ampatuan in Maguindanao province, Mindanao a brutal carnage transpired which eventually was referred to as the Maguindanao massacre.

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58 people perished in the bloodbath, 34 of them are journalists. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the incident has been referred to as the single deadliest event for journalist in the annals of history.

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Several people were indicted for the gruesome crime.  The Ampatuans were held as principal in the case.  They include former Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan St., his son former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) governor Zaldy Ampatuan, former Datu Unsay mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., former Shariff Aguak mayor Datu Anwar Ampatuan, for vice governor Datu Sajid Ampatuan and former Mamasapano mayor Akmad Ampatuan .

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The case became a celebrated legal battle with the Ampatuans on the defense and several complainants on the other.  4 years have gone by.  Hundreds of witnesses were also named and required to be given a day in court for their statements.  Court trial is regularly held and scheduled accordingly.

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Seasoned lawyers claim while assessing the progress of the litigation that it would take a number of years before the case would be rested for decision.  This is because of procedures.  A witness may be called on the stand, required to identify and provide testimony for a period or for a number of dates on end, and thereafter to be cross examined, presented anew and re-crossed.  One witness may stretch the period of hearing for months in a tentative manner and several witnesses are still on board to undergo the same judicial procedure in the forthcoming session.  This would take time.  As each counsel would take pains in reviewing minutely the proceedings, responding to each through motions and other technical actions, the process would grind exceedingly slow.

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Meanwhile, a number of complainants, encountering difficulties to move on, have to struggle to survive without their kinsmen, the breadwinner, the victim in the crime.  Yet they have a responsibility to pursue, a role to play, an act to follow.  They must be at the forefront of a crusade to bring the malefactors to answer for the offense they have committed.  It is however easier said than done.  On their own, the quest for Justice, an obligation of the State through its judicial system, is stiff and demanding.  That should explain why, it has been reported by private prosecutor Harry Roque, that relatives of media victims in the case have agreed to negotiate for a settlement with those indicted.

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Here is a situation when the courts would try a case where all charges and evidences  are lumped, compiled, organized in a manner that would sufficiently point at the proper guilt as it get entangled into a maze of criss-crossing complaints.  Why not try one case at a time.  Complete one case and make a decision based on what is presented and heard.  Then to be followed by another, so on and so forth.  If a case has been completed, the rest remains pending subject for succeeding trials.  The point there is that a case is done in an instant.  It could be a conviction or an acquittal depending on how the case is submitted, defended and weighed.  This is to be fair to the victims and those who are awaiting the verdict on their situation.  Four years of trial is long for the completion of a case.

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For the prosecutors and defenders, the fulfillment of justice is immediately known.  For the courts and the judicial system, it is the accomplishment of an evenhanded duty.

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Stretching the trial on great lengths while it is an ideal process to determine the truth, at times would render the entire exercise into a mockery.  Complainants would become weary, witnesses will be drained and exhausted, testimonies become stale and overlooked, evidences become trite and would lose its potency.  Court officers, some of them may cross over and would retire, others replaced if not suspended, and a number may shift and fade away.  Politics would eat away interest, economics would gnaw at the marrow of significance and time would eventually consign every substantial matter into triviality.  After a calibrated duration, a decision will eventually be made and as it drags on and on, it might virtually end up nowhere in time.

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The cold steel bar is just in the lurk somewhere and it might become brittle as a result of rust!

 

IMPRISON ABUSIVE EMBASSY OFFICIALS IN HELL

hell

Embassy officers are now on the hot spot.  This after a Partylist Representative Walden Bello blew off the lid of a simmering problem obtaining in embassies situated in Middle East.  Accordingly, distressed female OFW (Overseas Foreign Workers) or female migrant workers who took refuge in consulates were illegally transacted, exploited to the hilt, abused and disgraced further through human trafficking.  Representative Bello claimed that there is sexual exploitation initiated by embassy officials.  He expressed it candidly:  “Sexual abuse on our womenfolk perpetrated by their hosts in a foreign country is an awful crime.  But there is something more awful, and that is their exploitation by their own compatriots in that strange land.  And it is triply terrible when they are exploited sexually by government officials who are supposed to protect them.”

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If proven true, imprisonment is the lightest penalty these predators should undergo.

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If I have my way, I will reserve the darkest portion of a prison facility strictly and exclusively for these abusive people.  They do not deserve the comfort of serving time under a regime of rehabilitation.  They should suffer not only incarceration but should feel the brunt of their offense for the duration of their servitude.  To suffer is even a kind word these people ought to receive.  They should be subjected to cruelty until their bones become brittle and their skins separate from their muscles.  Death penalty is swift.  They should spend their entire lifetime in a lengthy imprisonment and constantly humiliated.  They are not humans after all.

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OFWs have to pass through a harsh and harrowing experience just by leaving the country to work abroad.  They must leave out rightly their families.  They must ignore the pain of homesickness.  They must have to sell, pawn and compromise whatever valuables they have just to pay a number of government and recruitment forms needed for them to leave the country.  Arriving on foreign lands which at times are inhospitable and unfriendly, the worker must adhere to a new culture, adapt according to the prevailing ways, flout loneliness, accept back breaking tasks, disregard humiliation, scrimp to save and most often, stretch sanity believing that a withheld salary may come in due time.  OFWs sacrifice a lot if only to send relief to their families back home.

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It has been said that remittance coming of OFWs shore up Philippine economy.  It buoys and enlivens the country’s fiscal position.  It serves as a cushion amidst the problematic financial condition of government.  Because of these, OFWs easily were catapulted into a pedestal, calling them modern heroes.

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I had this experience when I attended a conference on prison administration sometime in 2000 at Sydney, Australia.  After the seminar, I went to see the maximum prison of the capital city.  I was shocked to see a number of Filipinos serving time in the facility.  Most of them, if not all of those I interviewed, were OFWs.  Thereafter, I went to the consular office and took the cudgels for our inmate fellow men.  I received a quick response, “Don’t meddle here.  Nakakahiya ginawa ng mga iyan dito, let them suffer.”  After I left, I prepared an exit report recommending that our consular officers should visit and check expatriates serving time in various prison within their jurisdiction abroad.  Foreign embassies and several consular officers based in the Philippines would regularly visit and check their fellow nationals here, so it is also wise to have our embassy and consular officers do the same where they are.  Concerned authorities received my report and I got an instant answer.  I was floated!

WHICH WILL PREVAIL: LEGACY OR PRESTIGE

legacy

 

Playoffs in NBA Finals became a national pastime for days.  Bets were even, no pluses.  The contenders were almost equal.  Both sides have veritable superstars starting as Big Three.  The casts were the most gifted ball handlers in the planet.  The games were fairly fought on the wood.  The teams each have won one after another until the final do or die was declared.

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Fighters will go the distance if they are motivated to, well, fight.  The Spurs wanted the crown for the legacy but the Heat goes out for the kill if only to embrace prestige.  Legacy vs Prestige.  And what happened was a revelation:  Heat prevailed over embattled Spurs by 7 points.  Prestige went over Legacy by a stretch.  And in a commercial world where we live, prestige is fought with life on the line than heritage.  History is sometimes ignored for what is significant in the current times.  Author Paulo Coehlo echoed this in his writings, “The secret is here in the present.  If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it.  And, if you improve on the present, what comes later will also be better.

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The prestige of Miami heat prevailed.  It has become therefore a force to watch in the next conference and expected to play better barring injuries from its superstars of course.  The Spurs will fade but with greater records for almost snatching the crown from Heat in Game 7.  The Heat will encounter a challenge, no longer from the depleted Oklahoma team but in the resurging lineup of Indiana Pacers with playmaker Granger up front.  Miami will have a hard time in the Eastern Conference with Indiana’s youthful talents.  Once through, assuming Heat would eventually cap its way up, they would be pitted with a new powerful group from the West, the Denver Nuggets highlighted by a skilled monster called McGee.  The Clippers had their chance but their fame would be limited to highlights only.  Lakers—with their present crop of hoopsters—belongs to the museum.  Another conference next year would still be another date for an entertainment great.

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There was no wise money in Game 7.  Anyone can win, well, or lose.  Depending on one’s personality, the bets were reflected accordingly.  Hence, if introvert, that is to say the silent type, his wager would be on Spurs.  If extrovert, the bragging kind, his stake would be on Heat.  There was fun on the side.  There was fairness and the game was fought with equal intensity and gait.  The better team would win and it was Miami, which came out ahead.  The braggers had their day and the reserved ones concede.  There is nothing supernatural in the equation but pure sportsmanship.

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Social scientists can easily comprehend the type of personality through a survey.  In the prison community, there are more who placed their expectation on the Heat.  That means a lot about their collective psyche.  In the prison rank and file, wagers were made on the Spurs.  This means that the personnel were the subdued kind.  This should lead us to an understanding that in prison administration, there is a great divide.

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Private companies or even public sector agencies can take a leaf from the same analysis if they care to appreciate how their organization would fare in the face of trials and challenges.

PAG ASA: ANG BUHAY AY WEDER-WEDER LANG

weather forecasting

There is brain drain in one government agency named as Hope or Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pag asa) as one editorial points it.  Of course, the agency concerned would deny it even if their superiors were on leave or in places somewhere on lecture circuit.  Indeed, there is no prosperity in predicting weather unless one gets a commission for procuring gadgets, tools and what-have-you.

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But is it prudent to have a government unit in charge of the weather?  What is it for when merely tuning in on cable TV, specifically on CNN, one gets a complete update of the weather; and, not just the weather of the country but the weather in the entire planet.

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Government maintains an agency, which tries to predict with accuracy that which defies precision.  Nature can only be tentatively analyzed in terms of its obvious manifestation but cannot be tamed to be understood.  So why waste government resources when we could farm it to some other services where it is needed most like in education, medical research and related social work programs.  The weather bureau or Pagasa is already an anachronism to be kind about it.  Unlike any other kind of persuasion where the result of performance can be gauged from the effect of their direct intervention, weather forecasting is like, well, an expensive way of guessing; or, an activity which government spends funds just to be informed of guesswork.

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Further on, the extent of Internet linkages could immediately share accurate meteorological findings from countries with advanced equipment.  One gets an update on the weather locally and internationally at a click of the mouse, why wait for a government-sustained agency that likewise depend on obsolete gadgets and rely more on Internet too for fresh notes.  Sayang lang ang official posturing.  The agency ought to be absorbed in the academe where geophysical science can prepare scholars to be trained for emergency and rescue operations during calamities.

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Whenever there are storms, which Pagasa would fail to relay, it is the head of the agency that gets the brunt as if kicking out the officer would restore the balance of the weather condition.  The common man knows exactly how his environment behaves.  Barrio folks likewise know when calamity is to occur.  Local government units have records and historical documents on how their area is affected whenever there are natural disasters.

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In China, there is a university where a small zoo is organized so that behavior of animals is observed meticulously in relation to the weather condition.  Animals have great, unsullied and sensitive senses; it can appreciate a forthcoming natural aberration like earthquakes, volcanic eruption, storm and other natural occurrence with some kind of precision.  In Western countries, they used satellite feeds to determine a specific astronomical movement secondary to homeland defense and other military preparation.  On the whole, almost all countries in the world rely on history to situate their preparation and in understanding the concept of survival.

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In our country, we have history, we have records, we have clippings and testimonies on calamities that have visited us frequently.  We must therefore be wise in understanding its onslaught and effect.  We have a working idea on when storms are to occur.  We knew where the next flood would happen.  We are also aware that cutting down forests would spell flash floods and landslides.  Inability to plan urban areas necessitate aggravation of unnatural catastrophes.

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The problem however with history is that it is easily forgotten.   Kaya heto tayo ngayon, ang buhay ay weder-weder na lang!

NBA GAMES: For the idealistic sportsman

spurs miami

Now I am convinced that NBA games are worth its promoted jingles.  It is above ground and a stately medium done through honest entertainment.  It could never be less than that.  Watching from the comfort of cable TV at home, I cannot but realize that the games I am watching are samples from heaven.  I could not even believe that the NBA Finals would have figured into some kind of an authentic program.  I was tempted to stereotype the games as fixed and done deals; that is, Miami Heat is not only favorite winner but the real winner after the conference, but merely holding on some punches.

And why not?  With the best players in town organized under one roof, a brilliant athlete Lebron on top of the list; followed by an equally gifted hoopster Dwaine Wade; then a towering Chrish Bosh; 3 point artists Miller and Allen;  the bench is a veritable stable of basketball greats sparked by playmaker par excellence Chalmers with high flying Andersen aka Birdman, guided by an outstanding coaching staff headed by Spoelstra.  Miami Heat is destined to win the Finals hands down.  There is other way to defeat a flamboyant group of highlight performers.

The ball however is round.

Despite the radiance each player displays on the wooden floor there is always who has the necessary edge.  It could be skill, it could be experience, it could be strength, it could be confidence, it could be maturity, it could be youthful zest, or a combination of everything, the application of everything given a particular move in a specific situation.

In a competition where there is neither intervention nor any pre arranged fix, the game is a sight to behold.  It is the highpoint of what may be referred to, as pure science manifesting through sheer will and determination. The winner should have courted the heavens, fate, universe and anything where power emanates.

I was guilty to have prejudged the NBA Finals earlier on.  I thought that Miami Heat was feigning weakness, or trying to flop around to borrow the latest NBA rule on fake acts.  I thought that Lebron James, along with Wade, Bosh and the rest of the Heat were only trying to make the conference commercially tingling that was why they were holding on their guns.  That the Spurs will fade and melt as soon the heat is turned on; that there is the needed force reduction to make the games quite thrilling and worth watching in the paid arena.  Basketball in US is third after football and tennis in terms of popularity so its revenue from the audience must keep the register ringing.

But the Spurs are not that push overs after all.  It never thaws in the glare of hotness.   Even if the Heat has turned all its klieg lights on, including all the appliances from iron to microwave.  The Spurs instead may have contributed to what the Heat would later call as headache, or nightmare, whatever.

The die is cast and Spurs a leading score away from the jewel.  How the Heat would overcome the stress and tension, how it would behave in a manner which bespeaks of poise, how it would play cool amidst anxiety rests mainly only how the coach would goad his minions.  This is where coaches are paid for.  This is where their comeuppance is defined.  This is where the mullah in the contract is all about.

Game 6 is not a competition for anything else but more on the sworn display of coaching wits.

Game 6 is a defining moment.    For me, it’s a long tom.

Spurs it is.

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