The 37 finalists 2009 2nd Annual Pinoy Expats OFW Blog Awards

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Canada Condemns Maguindanao Massacre

(No. 355 - November 26, 2009 - 11:15 a.m. EST) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement condemning the November 23 killing of civilians in the southern Philippine province of Maguindanao:

“Canada condemns the brutal murders perpetrated in Maguindanao in the lead up to local elections. We extend our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the victims.

“Canada supports calls for the rule of law to prevail and for those responsible for these acts to be brought to justice.”

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada advises against all travel to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Canadians travelling to the Philippines are encouraged to consult Travel Report-Philippines.

- 30 -

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Natalie Sarafian
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
613-995-1851

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874

http://www.international.gc.ca/media/aff/news-communiques/2009/355.aspx

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Al Jazeera English - Asia-Pacific - Witness: 'We just followed orders'

Al Jazeera English - Asia-Pacific - Witness: 'We just followed orders'

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I wonder why I could almost smell white wash right at the doorstep of our justice system.




The world is in awe. International journalists, state leaders and prominent human rights advocates are eagerly waiting for the reaction of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on the latest macabre in Southern Mindanao.

The question should be “would she sacrifice her long standing political aspiration by keeping the Ampatuans under her wings or finally get to her senses that the lack of action or half-hearted effort to bring the perpetrators to jail would drag her and her illustrious Macapagal name down the history of political catastrophe?”

The recent expulsion of the Ampatuans from Lakas-Kampi-CMD party is an attempt to appease the clamor of the people to provide swift justice - an obvious PR strategy only.

Another thing, please advice Gibo to stop giving statements that is noticeably struggling to be “politically correct” because it is definitely annoying. In this world, you will not thrive if you would continue to remain in grey area. Indecisiveness definitely defines his character.

Andal Ampatuan, Jr. surrendered already and unsurprisingly, denied all the allegations. Ok, fine. The crime was not committed by the Ampatuans, Mayor Andal did not lead the militia or say, he is innocent. Who did it then?

So maybe it was just a random killing of 57 civilians and journalist? Some group of armed men got drunk and decided to have fun by killing people loaded in a convoy on the way to file certificate of candidacy and they decided to bury these civilians using a local government owned back hoe. Yeah right. Make the Filipino people believe that because they think we are moron.

I will not be surprised if one of these days, you will find the Ampatuans in the pedestal again, hailed by his local supporters for being declared innocent of this barbarism. It is an old Philippine scenario, almost a cliché to me already.

The reason for acquittal would be insufficient evidence to put the Ampatuans in the crime beyond reasonable doubt. I wonder why I could almost smell white wash right at the doorstep of our justice system.

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Pinoy Expats OFW Blog Awards on ABS CBN News


Check out the latest news update on Pinoy Expats OFW Blog Awards on ABS CBN News.

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Rediscovering Liloan, Southern Leyte



...fine white sand beaches, nature-sculpted rock formation,blue waters...



...breath taking sceneries, pristine clear waters, lush vegetation and towering coconut trees...



...laid back ship ride to Bato, Southern Leyte, early dawn arrival at the port, welcoming idyllic barrio

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Full Text: Climate Change Act of 2009 (Republic Act 9729)


Here is the full text of Republic Act 9729 or the Climate Change Act of 2009 which became a law last Oct. 23, 2009, courtesy of the Committee on Climate Change:

[REPUBLIC A CT N O . 9729]

AN ACT MAINSTREAMING CLIMATE CHANGE INTO GOVERNMENT POLICY FORMULATIONS, ESTABLISHING THE FRAMEWORK STRATEGY AND PROGRAM ON CLIMATE CHANGE, CREATING FOR THIS PURPOSE THE CLIMATE CHANGE COMMISSION, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

http://tonyocruz.com/?p=2536

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Ako Si Ninoy (I am Ninoy), A Filipino Musicale Play: A Review




I don’t know about you, but every time I watch a Filipino play, I am usually expecting the traditional drama, story line that is unique to Filipino culture and the long-established approach to stage design that is unmistakably Pinoy. Which, of course, I like. So is “Ako si Ninoy” another Filipino play filing under those category?

No, not this show.

Ako si Ninoy, a Filipino musicale play about the heroisim of Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Martial Law era went a little less traditional. The story did not revolve around the tell-a-biography style of relating what have happened to Ninoy and his family. Director and Librettist Atty. Vincent Tañada made sure the youth today would relate to the sufferings and martyrdom of Ninoy. The action packed scenes (mostly are heartwarming) and the visual impacts that definitely cater the taste of young audience alike while assuring those who have actually witnessed the events during the martial rule could truly appreciate the re-enactment of the scenes the way it happened.

The skillful interplay of modern syllogism and the as-a-matter-of-fact telling of Ninoy’s life is a feat. It created a unique experience where all people from all walks of life, regardless of age and political beliefs would truly understand why Filipinos today should learn the heroism of the couple Ninoy and Cory.

I went to watch the show for the 2nd time with my Filipino-American friends who were born and raised in the states. Since majority of them are not capable of understanding Tagalog, it came as a surprise to me when they were crying, laughing and clapping on many scenes that were outstanding. It made me think if the play has actually transcended the barriers of language to express the emotion of Ninoy and Cory through proficient theater abilities of the actors. We ended up discussing the play and they were thanking me for bringing them to the show, they said it helped them understand the political struggles of the Filipino people during the tyrant era of martial law which led to the advent of modern democracy through Cory Aquino.

What I like best about the play is its call to action. It actually creates a deep impact on every man’s heart that you don’t need to become Ninoy to become a hero. Heroism is not just about the grandest martyrdom or dying for someone or our nation, heroism is an individual ability of each of us to become useful, to help our society through our own capabilities, through simple and small kindness to others and having the desire to become a better person.

I salute the men and women of the show, you have enriched the lives and character of thousands of young people who marched to your venues to witness the valor of our modern day heroes and the birth of modern movement to be a hero, we may not be Ninoy but we know we can do something good for our self, family and our society.

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The truest meaning of love becomes so incomprehensible


Sometimes, loving can be so exasperating. Tailed with this tremendous effort to pour in affection to someone is the inevitable reality that somehow pain will cross the threshold of what may seem fleeting. But along the way, as soon as you are able to walk though this bitter path of desperation and feeling of “I wished I’ve been this or that” would be a realization that loving is actually worth it.

So no wonder I have friends who will approach me and say that they feel their world falls apart and they are walking their way with their life crumbling behind their steps. Looking at it, you might find this a little worrying.

I usually do not know what to say in the beginning; worried that whatever I might say would be a sure recipe for an added insult to the injury. I have always been very careful with the bits and pieces of my not-so wise advices about love.

I retreat to my own reflection and mull over many issues of relationship. I know for a fact that love conquers all and transcend age, culture, geography and let’s say, sex as well. Being in love could be the sweetest thing one could ever experience.

For love is that something that has so many definition and yet, deep inside, the truest meaning of love becomes so incomprehensible and beyond any portrayal that one can understand despite the wonder of verbal communication. How many times people failed to offer reasons why they love someone? That is because love is so intangible that it goes beyond human perception.

So when love carries someone to the seventh Heaven, it can also dig you down under. For it is so powerful that mankind through time immemorial have witnessed the incredible force that love can bestow to the world. Love launched nations to war, changed the face of civilization and saved mankind from the gates of hell.

Although man is very limited to see love according to what may seem superficial to many, for the true understanding of love sometimes come upon us when someone you truly love is already gone. When that someone is no longer there to feel your embrace, you miss the subtle kiss, oblivious to the silence of togetherness.

The emptiness is so agonizing, it hurts so much that missing your someone would pierce a deep scar in your heart, battling the memories of your togetherness to stop haunting your vulnerable spirit. Then tell me, how could someone easily leave behind the reminiscence of the love that once made them invisible and had an almost never-say-die aspiration to conquer the world?

Oh love! Why art thou so strange that thou made man to cringe over the fallen foliage of what was once splendid beating of 2 hearts?

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Eating fried fish in O.R., an adventure of my very dull unenvied sterile life


Where is the best place to eat deep-fried freshly caught fish, marinated and coated with Indian spices? Surely not in the Operating Room (OR). You might find this incredible and may sound silly but that’s true. Strange at it may be, but I just had an awesome fried fish eaten in the OR. I was finishing my lunch of fried tilapia (oh yes, fish), vegetable lumpia (spring roll) and green salad with French dressing in the cafeteria when I jolted from my seat to see one of my doctor friends who invited me the other day to attend the “fish” party he is throwing out for the OR staff.

To save my self from immodest embarrassment for not attending his “fish” party, I decided to show up and assumed that I can politely walk away afterwards. I never actually had taken it seriously that the “fish” party would be in the OR so I was definitely taken aback when it was indeed in the OR. And so I joined the other Surgery doctors and nurses who were still clad in scrub suits, eating fish. I was delighted to see that the party was held at the waiting anteroom although the prep-room and OR theater were just gasped away.

I was so enticed to ask the old doctor friend why he needed to take pride of his recent fishing adventure by throwing out a “fish’ party in, of all places, the OR. But I guess I was so caught up in the moment that I forgot about it. Thinking about the place where you slice and butcher human beings to remove or repair human body parts made eating those fried fish an adventure of my very dull unenvied sterile life. I have to swear though that it was undeniably a splendid fish-eating experience.

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Please... Help...

video

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"Anu mapapala q naman pag sumama ako sa mga medical missions sa nasalanta ng bagyo?"



Me: "U wanna come along to Pangasinan for Medical Mission?"
Feeling: "Ano mapapala q jan?"
Me: "Kung wala ka mapapala sa pagtulong sa mga mahi2rap, d wag ka sumama."
Feeling: "Kaen tau cake, Red Ribbon." (the nerve)
Me: "Kaya pala wala ka mapapala pa red ribbon red ribbon ka lang."
Feeling: "Uu ah. Nabubusog ako.Hahahahaha"
Me: "Bkt nga pala cnbi mo anu mapapala mo sa medical msion sa pangasinan eh
lam mo naman pagtulog sa mahihirap un. Matapobre kb?"
Feeling: "hahaha. D ako matapobre.. un lang base mo para sabhan aq matapobre?
Hahaha. Nagtanong lang ako. Masama ba? :p
Me: "Masama kc un para skn. Kc parang nakakainsulto ka sa mga
nagpapakahirap ngaun para 2mulong sa kapwa. At isa q dun sa mga
nagtyatyaga 2mulong. So parang ask m anu mapapala q? Nag eenjoy ka ba
pag iniinsulto ka? Ngaun mo ask kung masama ba un? :P
Feeling: Wala ako pake. Geh kaen muna q guava. Hehe

Now tell me, is this one of the reasons why are youth today is so corrupted cuz like that friend of mine, she is just seeded with idiotic mind, totally lacking wit and uncaring... I dunno if I could actually say more.

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Global Warming in Asia

Although climate change is an inherently global issue, the impacts will not be felt equally across our planet. Regional changes are likely to differ from global averages in both magnitude and rates of change. Further, not all ecosystems and human settlements are equally sensitive to changes in climate. Nations (and regions within nations) vary in their relative vulnerability to changes in temperature, precipitation and extreme weather events and their ability to cope with such changes.



Many global issues are climate-related and thus may be affected by climate change. These include water resource availability and food security, especially for areas already afflicted by drought and extreme weather events. Sea-level rise is a particular concern for low-lying coasts and island nations.

Some nations will likely experience more adverse effects than others, while other nations may benefit. Poorer nations are generally more vulnerable to the consequences of global warming. These nations tend to be more dependent on climate-sensitive sectors, such as subsistence agriculture, and may lack the resources to buffer themselves against the changes that global warming may bring.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has examined a range of future climate change scenarios and found that the globally averaged surface air temperature is projected by models to warm 2 to 11.5°F (1.1-6.4°C) by 2100 relative to 1990, and globally averaged sea level is projected by models to rise 7.2 to 23.6 inches (18-59 cm or 0.18- 0.59m) by 2100. The warming would vary by region, and would be accompanied by changes in precipitation, changes in the variability of climate, and changes in the frequency and intensity of some extreme climate phenomena. (IPCC, 2007)

Asia

* Glacier melt in the Himalayas is projected to increase flooding, increase rock avalanches from destabilized slopes, and affect water resources within the next two to three decades.
* Freshwater availability in Central, South, East and Southeast Asia, particularly in large river basins, is projected to decrease due to climate change, which, along with population growth and increasing demand from higher standards of living, could adversely affect more than a billion people by the 2050s.
* Coastal areas, especially heavily populated megadelta regions in South, East and Southeast Asia, will be at greatest risk due to increased flooding from the sea and, in some megadeltas, flooding from rivers.
* Crop yields could increase up to 20 percent in East and Southeast Asia, while they could decrease up to 30 percent in Central and South Asia by the mid-21st century.
* Sickness and death due to diarrheal disease, primarily associated with floods and droughts, are expected to rise in East, South and Southeast Asia due to projected changes in the hydrological cycle associated with global warming.



Source: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/effects/international.html#summary

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The last thing we need is another folly and making a big goof out of everyone of us.

Did you ever wonder why on earth Filipinos are very inclined to appreciate tasteless entertainment and its growing affinity with what I find to be cheap, repugnant and with lame story plots “tele seryes”?

I don’t mean any offense to those who are enjoying soap operas, it just that, I hope they realize that these form of entertainments are counter productive, it shows the malignant case of our amusement outlets and our unrelenting support for the entrepreneurial abilities of these giant TV stations that exploits and distort the values of the Filipino people.

Aside from false hopes that these stations are trying to instill to its viewers, it degenerates the last remaining Filipino value on hard work. Being impoverished, poor and be deficient in the luxuries of life do not justify us to be content with what is being promoted by these broadcasting giants that “luck” and life is actually a form of texting back to win a meager prize.

The stories are utterly detached from realities and its acute alteration of hope and human malevolence in the fantaserye creates a counter-productive psyche among the very young audience. Growing up with super heroes had not become very harmful but watching fantaserye “only in the Philippines” style have obviously created a huge blunder with the idea of Filipino life and its reality.

Aside from the sheer “confusion” I get why we enjoy the horribly dubbed foreign soap operas that usually resulted into extreme admiration of its non-Tagalog neither English speaking actors/actress by the Filipino masses, we become very much engrossed with anticipating the show time of our favorite soap operas.

It’s like the world stop during these showtime, people are glued to their TV sets while, if you will try to analyze, the time being spent watching these programs, which if you’d ask me are not just stupid but “jologs” are detrimental to the pursuit of higher standards in value formation and tasteful form of entertainment.

Then here is the gambling side of it where you have to send your SMS answers for the not just “lame” but also dim-witted questions that only shows how simple minded the Filipino masses are.

We always wonder why we get to be mocked, looked at condescendingly by other nations. Why don’t we look at what we watch, what we patronize. If you will just look closely, you will find that what we enjoy watching are actually trampling the Filipino people as corrupt, unintelligent and obtuse minded race.

It makes us look silly. It harbors the idea that the quickest escape from hardship of life being “squatter” and impoverished masses would be to win the jackpot prize of the TV game show. Do you have an idea how many people are shamefully battling sweat and body odors in order to join or enter the studio of their favorite game show? Some are even staying the night in front of the gates, sleeping like wild dogs and vagrants, devoid of any trace of self-respect.

How much dignity do you still want to remain in us? Not much I guess.

By the look of it, it seems that many Filipinos are more than willing to try their luck - influenced by the fantasy that these teleseryes have cultivated among our minds - instead of breaking the habit of wishful thinking and hauling extra effort to earn cash the hard way.

Filipino people are quick to rush to the street and cry foul for the endless “pahirap” (sufferings) they get from the government while in fact, there is not much being done to strive harder and perform more productive endeavors instead of drooling over fantaserye, lame soap operas and impossible game shows.

I think when Dr. J. Rizal bailed us out for being “indolent”, it was because he thought there would be no suckers that would fool us being duplicitous and even made us think that lying is still a good deed, Rizal would have not thought of the Filipinos worshipping Chinese actors slash singers or that the Filipinos will make themselves fool by dancing stupid and lame “ridiculous” dance that even adults enjoy doing. No, he would never thought of it.

If only Rizal knew how the Filipinos have become idiotic for wasting valuable time watching soap operas that promotes hatred, adultery and mock the remaining intelligent sense of our diminutive brains, he would have conceded that we are indeed an indolent people.

The last thing we need is another folly and making a big goof out of everyone of us.

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BusinessWorld Online: Opposition figures preferred as Arroyo successors -- survey

BusinessWorld Online: Opposition figures preferred as Arroyo successors -- survey

Shared via AddThis

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BLOG ACTION DAY 2009: Filipino bloggers take a stand on climate change




On October 15, bloggers worldwide will speak as one on climate change. We, Filipino bloggers, have much to say and share in this global conversation.

We just survived and continue to grapple with supertyphoons Ondoy (Ketsana) and Pepeng (Parma) that snatched hundreds of lives, destroyed property and livelihood and took the issue of climate change to the very center of our conversations with family, friends, classmates, colleagues.

That it was caught unprepared to mitigate the effects of the rampaging floods is the government’s lightest offense. The worst is that it apparently ignored serious warnings raised in 2007 when an international study found the Philippines as the No. 1 victim of climate change in the previous year.

We cannot be apathetic or cynical. We as a people have the solemn duty to accept the reality of climate change, to study it, and to take a stand.

Bloggers Kapihan thus calls on Filipino bloggers to take time out on Oct. 15 to post your thoughts and aspirations, frustrations and hopes, photos, videos and stories, on climate change and how it affects our family, community, country and the globe, and how we wish to make things better.

If you wish to join this event, write a post on climate change on Oct. 15 and place a link to this post. You may also spread the word about Blog Action Day by placing this badge on your blog:

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I think I have a special talent to tolerate inconsequential situations.

Some things that seem to be not under the bedspread of my being Mr. Nice Guy

I have a couple of things that really ticks me off - like some things that seem to be not under the bedspread of my being Mr. Nice Guy. One of those would be my utter repulse toward bodily odor. If you would ask me for a list, I would rate them this way: bodily odor and making me explain why I only answered yes or no.

Not much in my list really because other than that, I think I have a special talent to tolerate inconsequential situations, as I always say to myself, “No one can hurt you without your permission.” I try to translate most of my life experiences including those spurs of the moment into reason and being careful to choose my reactions. But it just that stinking so bad make me sneeze, geez and please quit the rants for insignificant issues.

When I do not really have the right to snap on people with disgusting smell, I tend to blame myself for not being able to stood up and say it. Nah, prolly never I can muster the guts to strike at them as my interpersonal skills seemed deprived me of that aspect where you can say it nicely “Hey, you just stink!” No matter how I try to find the words, I still feel a downright guilt to say this to stinking people. That is why I end up suffering. No wonder I hate myself sometimes for being so chicken to tell people to go and have a bath scrub. Please blame it to my allergies. I have this nasty disease where my nose is not just less cooperative but also become inflamed, I swear, I no longer know what causes my allergic rhinitis attacks.

Have you ever experienced people who make a big deal out of simple questions and when you thought they would stop asking when you gave them a categorical “yes or no,” you end up bombarded with follow-up questions. That annoys me big time. I usually do not confront insignificant issues on a head-on basis especially during verbal altercations. They don’t understand, I’d just rather admit it than put up a series of explanation, I don’t think this is right as well but I just feel I am not willing to spend my energy explaining things on trivial matters that do not even deserve further discussion.

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DONATE RELIEF GOODS NOW for 20,000 families who badly need help!



Help Tulong Kabataan reach 20,000 families ASAP. Donate relief goods now.

30 barangays in Metro Manila and nearby provinces badly hit by Ondoy cry for help.

You can help them NOW. Gather and bring relief goods to any Tulong Kabataan donation center:

* Rice
* Potable water
* Canned goods
* Cooking oil
* Cooking utensils
* Medicines
* Blankets, banigs
* School supplies

You can also help by donating money:

* Smart Money: 5299670778290
* GCash: +639266677163
* Bank Deposit
Bank Account: Student Christian Movement of the Philippines
Bank: BPI
Branch: Kamias-Anonas, Quezon City Philippines
US Dollar Account No: 3324-0048-06
Peso Checking Account No: 3321-0176-64
* Paypal: donate or http://3.ly/tulong
* For Western Union: Carl Marc L. Ramota, B12 L27 San Pedro Subd Vill Nova QC

Tulong Kabataan donation drop-off points

TULONG KABATAAN CENTER

* 118-B Scout Rallos, Brgy. Sacred Heart, Quezon City (look for/contact Frances 09072536529, contact hotline number 394-4285 or email tulongkabataan@gmail.com)

QUEZON CITY

* Vinzons Hall Lobby/USC office, UP Diliman Quezon City (look for/contact Brandy 09062778145)

MANILA

* United Methodist Church Headquarters
900 United Nations Avenue, Ermita, Manila (infront of Manila Police District, look for Ate Merly)

OTHER DROP-OFF POINTS
QC Area:

* Trinity University of Asia (Marga 09274313843)
* Southeast Asian College, Welcome Rtda (Val 09158156860)

U-Belt Area:

* College of Holy Spirit (Alpha 091642456955),
* San Beda College (Jacob 09156441311)

Intramuros:

* San Agustin Church

Taft Avenue:

* St. Scholastica’s College-Manila (Chikee 09277855372)
* St. Paul University-Manila (Kaycee 09272845150)
* UP Manila- CAS SC (Ces 09158185686)
* Emilio Aguinaldo College (Kath 09062537432)
* Adamson University (Dora 09069227804)

Sta. Mesa:

* Eulogio Amang Rodriguez Institute for Science and Technology (EARIST) (John Rey 09094389199)
* Polytechnic University of the Philippines

CAMANAVA:

* De La Salle Araneta University (Vincent 09228068473)

Metro South:

* PUP- Taguig (Jov 09107172398)

List of Community Beneficiaries

For more information contact the Tulong Kabataan hotline: (632)394-4285

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My inability to adapt or the lack of it.

Now I can actually throw myself into the oblivion that I still have so much to learn with being adaptable.

I finally conceded that I could not do what I always thought that I could. That is – to be able to blend in to whomever is presented to me in a social situation. I realized that I can not relate myself with less in-depth people or find it extremely hard. What the hell is wrong with me.

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When the Eagle has Landed: A speech I delivered during the recognition rites of University Scholars

Henri Frederic Amiel once said that, “It is not what he has, or even what he does which expresses the worth of a man, but what he is.”

In this world, we are faced with two types of people. One who would have the ability to withstand the trial and the other who would make the best out of the trial. Most often than not, we are usually geared to just withstand the trial. It is just but ordinary, based on our human instinct, to survive. Everyone wants to survive, everyone would want to live another day, almost everyone I know would want to see their selves able to withstand the challenge that were posed before us.

Unfortunately, I do not belong to that type of people. No, not me. I consider myself to be more of that who would make the best out of the trial.

I would do my best to survive the day and use that trial to soar to the highest mountain, to let me see what I could have missed should I have quit, to conquer the sky and see what is waiting for me on the other side of my circumstance. To me, every little trials, challenges and problems are just there to hold me back, to stop me from becoming the person I want to be, to limit my potential -- but that, ladies and gentlemen, is a choice. It is a choice to yield to life’s trials, a choice to just withstand it or a choice to live it and use that trial as a spring board to dive into the bigger ocean.

Ladies & Gentlemen, I have already chosen to fight, to reach for my stars, for I believe, nothing or no one should stop me, to bring me down and let me lose the courage to continue the fight. I have already made a resolve that I will not just live the day but would see my tomorrow with candor, with grace, with self-respect. I would not succumb to the enticing of losing the battle, to the temptation to just let it go, to the mediocrity of “I live another day”. I would see to it that the choice I made to fight would not abandon my free spirited self. No, not until the last breath escapes my gasping mouth and flaring nostrils.

Being a student of the University of Baguio, I am determined to finish my studies. Oh well, that could be very fundamental. I am not unique. I consider myself as an average individual. I have nothing to show off. But what lies beneath this average student is an extraordinary willpower to kick the trials and use it as my stepping boulder so I could reach for what is up there. I never allow myself to sulk to what I know could be left behind.

Sometimes it is the darkest, most violent thunderstorms that bring forth the most beautiful, clear, blue skies. Most of the time, I see myself to be by and large the same with my peers. Only to realize that there are some things I do and believe that made me a little different somehow. I believe my challenges as a student is generally very similar with most of my fellow students. I have to survived the demands of academic pressures, the sleepless nights to beat the deadline of submission of papers, I cannot count how many times I have ran out of money so I could buy school-related projects, these challenges are for sure mundane in comparison with that of the challenges of other people.

What is more challenging to me is what lies beyond. Living a college life is more intricate than what we thought it is. Being a student in the University of Baguio necessitates separation from our comfort zone. It is also living a dangerous life. Let me explain how.

When I talk about trials, it is easy to think about the usual problems that a normal, average student would face in a daily basis. Day in and day out, school has something to do with it. But that is a fact; universities are there to bring out the best in you. To make you understand the intricacies of life that awaits us all after this journey. Only few can understand that all these workings would boil down to the pursuit of excellence. Excellence is the state or quality of excelling. It is considered to be an important value, and a goal to be pursued. For me, achieving a high level of performance or exceeding normal expectations of performance or meeting the highest expectations of what can be achieved through performing well in excess of the norm or simply put, outperforming most – is excellence.

The problem is, being a student; it is very easy to sway with the tide. And so the real problems we all have are not the ones that are obvious, that are basically there to make our life a bit tough, the ones that we should worry more are those that are deceiving. The real trial in our life is how to find ourselves - to find our passion.

Then remember what T. Alan Armstrong thought provoking issues on passion, “If there is no passion in your life, then have you really lived? Find your passion, whatever it may be. Become it, and let it become you and you will find great things happen FOR you, TO you and BECAUSE of you.”

It is no secret: Life is tough. But the good news is we don't have to go through it alone. The culture of excellence that our university is putting into action should be seen in a personal context of self-determination and road of finding ourselves. To find out what we really want to achieve in life. We must know how we are really going to be tomorrow.

It seems that somehow we are tricked into thinking that life is about attaining status and wealth. We are conditioned to respond to getting a raise by buying new things that we could not afford before. We have attended to this amazing university with a vocational mindset, hoping to get hired by a big fancy company or start a great new company, all with the goal of gaining great financial success. But is that journey the kind of life we would truly enjoy?

I have found myself struggling to find the balance between the priorities of a couple of different goals. I am still not sure what matters most to me. Take a moment to ponder with me the importance of each of these goals; to be financially wealthy, to travel the world, to create something, to teach something, to help someone, to create opportunity, to seize opportunity, to do something that really matters.

I guess what I am trying to express is that the key to enjoying life is experiencing it all, and then going back and doing it again the way you think is right. Your priorities for each goal in life will be different from mine, which is what makes us unique. But we have to take ourselves out of this “victim” syndrome where when we are faced with the tragedy of life’s challenges, we just fall to our knees, while others would just withstand it all.

There is more we can do, we can stop ourselves from falling victims to self-pity or just living another day, we can trample this trial and use it to reach for our bright future ahead of us.

We can be the very best survivor of the trial because we did not just choose to live but we lived the day to become best! Life is all about flying, we fly then we land. We land to the best spot we could find while soaring up high.

Until we can say, this is it, Ladies & Gentlemen, the eagle has landed.

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"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings."

A quote from Cassius in the great Julius Caesar play of W. Shakespeare reminds me of what I could say to Gloria’s close allies, and I quote, "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings." Cassius, a nobleman, spoke to Brutus in that play and persuades him that in the best interests of the public, Julius Caesar must be stopped from becoming monarch of Rome. Brutus is aware of Caesar's intentions. He is torn between his love to his friend Caesar but felt compelled about his duty to the Republic. This has been interpreted to mean that fate is not what drives men to their decisions and actions, but rather the human condition.

I would not disagree when the public that Gloria has done enough damage to the government and its Filipino people. Most importantly, I cannot throw my cards agreeing that she relegate her government through the mob psychology-manipulating ploy of the oppositions and other gang of individuals masquerading as patriots.

Wake up countrymen, the only way to put to stop the vicious cycle of marching toward the street when we become discontent is when we start honoring our law. Our constitution must start getting its respect. We cannot just allow Gloria to ignore the suffering of our poor nation.

Let us be wise. Be a responsible electorate. We should all stop using the starving, already heated masses to represent your vested intentions. And when we are back to our senses, please, just please, stop her from acquiring another legislative immunity. What must drive the Filipino people and legislators must not be anyone’s fate but the human condition of the Filipino people.

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I like women who are simple but never the simple minded.

I have a friend who was so in love with his girl friend and suddenly lost it all. I think when women meet single guys (including those that are not so single), the first impression drawn would be that the guy is trying to get laid. A big mistake – generally.

I don’t know. But the dictate of the so-called norms is that the guys please the woman. I have known in my short existence as a bachelor that there are different types of women. There are those who are really a princess. She would not do anything until she is pleased and would demand that the world spins around her and she, definitely, in the center.

I like women who are simple but never the simple minded. With the way MTV and urban-pop culture influence our lifestyle, simple chicks may soon become extinct. I have once said to myself that these simple ladies have already been taken by the ravenous male species prowling out there. More women are becoming demanding, wanting more and expecting too much.

So why would simple women become that so hot and in demand in the market of who-you-want-to-be-with? The mainstream guys would find giving up 100% of their time to please a princess a little easier said than done. If the fear of commitment would be an understatement, what else is not?

When you date a simple girl, she will look great even if she is not wearing a Gucci dress or blatantly carrying a Prada bag. Most of the simple girls I knew are devoid of fist clinching attitudes. They know when to smile and are usually predictable.

It’s like you being sweet to her and she is charming with you then the next minute, she suddenly took a twist or wrong turn into the road of unpredictability. Who would want that? I ran from women who can swing their mood faster than they change their shoes.

I don’t know about you but I lack any ability to handle a lady gone nutty or those who are having their days. I usually zap into silence and lurk into what I think to be my comfort zone by being the stupid non-speaking spanked-dog thrown in the alley.

I have some great women friends who until now are not in a decent relationship. They are not ugly neither physically challenged. In fact, some of them look even enthralling and sexy. They just lack what I call women’s skills in keeping a guy. It’s all about being open minded.

I don’t think that there is a legitimate heterosexual guy who is looking forward into a serious relationship that would like a complicated woman. Ok, quit the clichés about love is about acceptance, no matter how complicated she becomes. No. Serious relationship begins when both are comfortable being together and that her companionship makes the guy exultant. Make it vice versa if you want.

A complicated woman will soon find his man even more complicated. It is like a sport of retaliation where the guy escapes from the relationship hastily. Most of the time, the guy ends up single again while the girl sobbing. But in the prying eyes of the woman’s friends, man is the hegemonic adversary in the woman’s short-lived relationship.

For some other guys, it maybe true that getting laid is what matters most initially but in the end, it is all about “Am I going to marry this woman who is good in bed but is a high-maintenance?”

No love can grow without the aid of what they call pleasant companionship. It is all about what is essential in a woman’s beauty is those that you do not see. Looks will fade. Her ability to seduce a man will soon retard. But a woman’s capability to handle his guy by being positive and supportive, her ability to see and understand the roller-coaster-ride kind of life would define the qualities of a woman that I call – perfect!

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All the repulsive forces converged and connived to assail me in full vigor.

I woke up with a runny nose. I was cold and needing to make a salute in the bathroom. My allergic rhinitis assaulted me in great intense this morning. It was 4 am and I am drowsier than ever before, the trace of my swelling muscles is still haunting me due to my last night’s swimming exploit.

My usual disorientation muddled up by my incessant sneezing made my short travel to the bathroom so horrible that I thought I’d end up flying and landing on the bathroom floor.

My morning was so terrible. It’s like all the repulsive forces converged and connived to assail me in full vigor. I can’t piss well because it’s morning and I am sure all guys knows the reason plus my nose is so hideous to me that my sneezing reached an all-time high record since I got this allergy.

Like having a terrible nonstop sneezing seems not sufficient to torment me, my nose bled that I started to spray speckle of blood all over the bathroom sink. It was so disgusting. My stomach started to feel sick. I know I was in the brink of turning my empty stomach up side down. But what could ever be worse than wanting to puke but your abdominal anatomy won’t just give in? I should be glad, however, that I don’t have to vomit while sneezing. Can you imagine food particles that I vomited flitting in all directions? Yikes!

All is swell, never well– I mean my nose is inflamed which I doubt my doctor will deny me another prescription of non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs plus another dose of antihistamine nasal spray - two of my most hated prescriptions next to anti-diarrhea.

Today will be a circus of mood disorder and work-related pressures. I keep my fingers crossed that nothing, or just no one will push me to the edge that will make me strut stupid display of rage.

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The Splitting of the Philippine Nation by: F. Jigs Segre

The Philippines is ailing, almost lifeless to witness hope that soon we will become a great nation. What is deplorable about our nation is we are not even close being a novice with political turmoil. We already endured a long history of political mayhem, we even had more serious disarray than this but never in the history of the Philippines had that political unrest caused unimaginable degree of economic impact to the nation - specifically to the poorest of the poor. The Filipino people turned out to become poorer and much less reasonable. Our country is already a splitting nation and death as a nation is already knocking at our doorstep.

To split a country constitutes a major disagreement between opposing factions. Nevertheless, to distinguish a death or rebirth of a nation requires an even more than understanding of the results and measurable outcome of how these are affecting the majority. Historically, other nations underwent worst political turmoil as well – killing each other before they became an imposing nation. Democratic super powers like USA, France, Great Britain, and etc. during their time were in great mayhem of domestic struggle as well – all tasted the bitterness of civil wars.


A Functional Democracy is an Operative Catalyst in Building a Nation


Although many might disagree, I always see that democracy, democratic governance that is based on a country’s culture and economic modalities, is an operative catalyst in building a nation. Despite the passionate debate on how much credit the democracy can claim for prospering a democratic country, various theories have been put forth, all of them controversial. It has been argued that, “it is not democracy that causes economic prosperity, but rather the other way around: prosperous nations will tend to become democracies.”

One great example is the Philippines, a bastion of democracy in South East Asia. It is saddening to see how the Filipino people suffer excessive misery due to poverty. Forget the GNP and GDP as the economic indicators, forget the inflation rate, forget other socio-economic indicators that determines the ability of the people to buy goods that we always hear during SONA or read in press releases, what is more important to know now is how capable are the Filipino people to live conveniently. How many Filipinos, regardless of the supposedly “class-less society” in the Philippines, are now more capable to bring decent food into their tables and provide the most basic necessities in order to live?

Chaotic Version of Democracy

The problem in the Philippines is that the kind of democracy we practice is at its crudest form, almost dysfunctional. Our democracy becomes the very cause of political chaos not because of the system per se but the very people who promulgate chaotic version of democracy.

When a democratic country, combined with the sense of political valuing of its people is based on greed and selfishness, liberty and freedom are naturally taken out of context. The democracy is then subjected to an open abuse. It becomes ultimately problematic because the distribution and ownership of freedom becomes unilateral, no party would want to have less freedom thereby causing a great imbalance.

The point is the Filipino people are less likely to give, unwilling to concede personal advantages in order to achieve equilibrium in the exercise of roles in a democratic society. The results are an endless protest, sometimes superfluous and mostly devoid of legitimate patriotic intentions. Then the exercise of democracy is no longer positive, it becomes detrimental to the society, affecting the economy of the nation.

The Price to Pay in Democracy

Many political scientists believe that democracy has a high price to pay. Sarah Mitchell in their article entitled “Evolution of Democracy-War Dynamics” have proposed that, “democratization tends to follow war, that democratization decreases the systemic amount of war, and that the substantive and pacific impact of democracy on war increases over time.” All Kantian thinkers on political science declared that democracy lessens the possibility of war between “democratic countries” but there is very scant information whether a nation has to undergo a civil war before they reach a functional democracy.

Splitting a nation is tantamount as engaging in civil war except that maybe, arm conflict at this time, Heaven forbids, is still far fetch considering the current lack of support from other sectors of the Philippine society.

In “The Democratic Peace and a Sequential, Reciprocal, Causal Arrow Hypothesis” article of Karen Rasler and William R. Thompson of Indiana University, they explained that, “One of the democratic peace puzzles is the question of whether and to what extent the democracy peace relationship underestimates the possibility that peace precedes democracy: the reversed causal arrow hypothesis. From a war making–state-making perspective, democratization needs to be viewed as a partial function of external threat and domestic power concentration.” Almost as a predecessor to attaining democracy, it seems that war is in the offing.

Then the question should be, is civil war the answer to end this dilemma? That do we need to kill each other first to achieve the golden age of Philippine democracy? I believe that what must be answered first is “where do we stand in the brink of splitting our nation?” To see the Philippines divided over many issues is not something unsullied.

If you will take a quick historical tour, our nation is one of those countries in the world that have fought each other over many political differences that could have been resolved in a “more mature” democratic settings. Although the Philippines have reaped international admiration for toppling the dictatorship during the mid 80’s peacefully by exercising the power of the people, nothing remarkable enough to call our country prosperous have happened next. Have we become more civil and united and in tackling more vital issues to help build our nation? No. It is because the Filipinos have a very peculiar political attitude each brought by our degraded values with regard to self-interest, lack of discipline and poverty-related mind-set. The Filipino people have become, unfortunately – a malevolent race.


The Death of the Philippine Nation


In every death comes resurrection, at least which is a Christian way of looking at life.

In a political showground however, rebirth is a possibility but only after undergoing sinister human sufferings first. At the rate our political situation is going, it is not very far for the nation to meet death.

What else is good left for the people? The government is already engrossed with defending their seats from the bickering and nasty political warfare of their enemies. The very essence of governance now lies between who is more powerful and who is more “cunning” in evading public prosecution for their respective plunders and heists. The civil society has found a new, more exciting and thrilling hobby – joining the oppositions in rallying the poor masses to the streets, particularly not sure whether it is driven by their libertarian patriotism and love of the county or otherwise.

The poorest of the poor have become more succumbed to the false pretense of the politicians as champions of their cause. The number of street children and vagrants have increased tremendously that even the NGO’s taking care of these kind of people are now incapable to handle such increase, yet the government have done so little to even better the lives of these deprived members of our society. The unemployment rate has continuously walked up high its peak. While the rest of the countryside remains to be poor, under developed and neglected because their “representatives” are much busier lately in pondering whether to vote against or for the impeachment process.

The judicial system is even less helpful to indict the corrupt and the criminals to keep our society from hotshot frauds and hoodlums. Instead of dancing against or with the administration to help protect or undermine important faces, the legislators seems to be less occupied in promulgating laws that will aid in building our nation.

Should there be death waiting at the end of the rainbow for the Filipino people, one thing is for sure. It is brought by the collective contribution of everyone in our country. Death becomes us because of our sheer interest with personal favors even if it becomes utterly unfair to other people, because of our disrespect to constitution and value of fair judgment, because of the commercialism of our mass media that promotes further instability brought by their irresponsible reporting, because of our lack of discipline to obey simple traffic rules and keeping our surrounding free of litters, because of our lack of taste in mode of entertainment.

The Philippines may be one of the countries in the world with a high literacy rate but also has a very poor understanding of what is morally beneficial and wrong. Take for example the basis of the people in supporting candidates during elections. The popular and the bad-boy with mass appeal tend to be the champions, never mind if they are incapable, never mind if they have moral flaws, never mind if they do not know the basic difference of running a government or a Sunday cock derby.

Building a Nation: The Rebirth of the Filipino People

What is required in building a nation? What rebirth then? Rebirth is about changing even the smallest aspect of our lifestyle, sense of valuing and moral judgment. Rebirth means a radical shift of our already corrupted attitude about governance. Rebirth is such a profound word that might be excessively difficult for many of the Filipinos if not impossible to mold out to. Rebirth is about instilling each self with a basic discipline and a more stringent, dedicated will to become more productive citizens of the Philippine nation.

What makes nation? I believe, its citizens. The discipline and their communal interest to better each other’s lives constitute a good nation. Ironically, the Philippines is the stronghold of Christian faith, where we are supposed to be more tolerant, where we are supposed to be less judgmental, where we are supposed to be more helpful and charitable. Look at our nation? A nation full of scum, full of cheaters and liars, what happened to our being religious and prayerful people?

A nation becomes a nation because of its moral strength. A nation becomes one because it upholds the law and sees it in black and white and not because he is an Uncle or a contributor or because I owe him back. No nation has been or will ever be spared from political turmoil. Even the greatest of the greatest, every one will be subjected to open opposition, that is the basic component of a democracy. No nation has become perfect but there are nations that have great determination to rise and become imposing that they are now the countries where every Filipino aspires to work for.

Loyal Opposition in a Democratic Culture

There is an opposition for all reason. Although the concept of a "loyal opposition" is one of the key aspects of democratic culture, this is an especially difficult cultural shift to achieve like the Philippines where transitions of power have historically taken place through a very divisive modality like a people power. This crude exercise of democracy does not necessarily means it is wrong but because the Filipino attitude of being revengeful and self-centered especially when it comes to unseating someone from power made unity even harder than landing on planet Mars, it is even becoming counter productive.

Loyal opposition tells us that all sides in a democracy share a common commitment to uphold the nation’s welfare. Political competitors may disagree, but they must tolerate one another and acknowledge the legitimate and important roles that each play - something that many Filipino politicians would not just relent.

What is very unfortunate in Philippine democracy is our inability to concede to the election winners and the ability of whoever is in the position to rig votes. These are two main recipes for political chaos and blunder in democracy.

Never since the Philippines elected their presidents after the Marcos regime that no electoral protest were ensued after every proclamation. It has never occurred in the political history of our country since the 1986 revolution that the losers conceded defeat.

What Then?

What is more miserable is these losers take their battle to the masses, to the chambers of the judiciary and loudly under their immunity and privilege in the legislative branch. All are in sheer abandon of colluding to promote further chaos and confusion. What do we get? We get nothing but a vicious cycle of political bickering and faultfinding. We get a splitting of a nation.

So as to whether a splitting of a nation means death or rebirth, come on, it is a rudimentary principle that there will never be rebirth without death. Death is already at hand and rebirth may even be unattainable at this time – unless we collectively become radically new Filipinos leaving those spiteful political attitudes and lack of personal discipline, rebirth will never see its chance in our sorry grimy horizons. If this fail to happen, can we all blame it to the elusive miracle?

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The human tendency to judge the other person greatly depends on initial impression

The role of physical look in our interpersonal relationships is often misunderstood. The human tendency to judge the other person greatly depends on initial impression, so our perspective between beauty and traits seems to be confusing at times. I’ve heard it all the time, what matters most is the beauty within. Or is it, really?

In a life of a “single” person, meeting the opposite sex may neither be exhilarating or may not be a very rewarding exploit. It depends on who is talking. But to those who are gifted with good looks, something that may just be elusive from others, they’d pick the former without batting an eyelash.

So you’d say physical looks do not carry that much bearing. I agree but how about the rest of the acquaintances we deal everyday? Would we say the same? I doubt it. Isn’t it true that our treatment to a person would vary and greatly depend on his or her physical look? If you see a punk-looking dirty ragged guy in a bank, do you expect the rest of the staff to see him as a filthy rich customer? The issue at case is the initial impression.

I think to say that what is inside is more important than beauty makes it an inch away from lip service and double speak. This is only applicable to people who would have the chance to get to know the other person well before someone can honestly declare “what is beauty if the mind is empty.”

If good looks were not the measure of getting attention, cosmetics, plastic surgeons and signature clothes and shoes would close shops. Then the showbiz would no longer include “star appeal” as equally valuable criteria in making a star. Then the media through our becoming distasteful ordinary entertainment will no longer spoof and portray persons who look stupid and dork in demeaning situations.

We began our judgment not after but during meeting the person. Judgment and validation occurs, most of the time, at the first encounter - during the crucial first impression. This is the reason why many have mistakenly misconstrued a lot of people.

How many times have we passed judgment on a certain person because of the physical attributes? I’ve heard it a hundred times, she “looks” mean or he just “seem” to be an airhead or a jerk. Constantly, we have heard people say that she looks like an angel only to find out she’s hellish than hell afterwards and vice versa.

If you look into the “Top 10 List of Man’s Stupid Outlook”, this pre-judgmental attitude using the physical look as the basis should be up that list occupying the top 3 position.

I admit that this happens to many, not only to those “nobles” of our society including the wannabes, but this pre-judgmental attitude may be something we are all familiar. I am far from being able to understand why.

For now, I just let my self get contented with the fact that at the end of the day, at least, physical attractiveness is just a component of the whole outlook of our personality.

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“O coward conscience, how dost thou afflict me!”

I found myself musing again over the works of William Shakespeare. Do you remember the play King Richard III when the evil Richard finally confronts his conscience? He had this terrible dream where the ghosts of those he killed haunted him during his brutal desire to get the kingship. I find it funny imagining those ghosts talking to him led by Prince Edward, son of Henry VI and followed by others in the order in which they were murdered. The ghosts cursed him and wished Richard to die as well. It could be just another scary flick. Instead of feeling remorse, Richard blamed his “coward conscience” after he was startled by asking for his horse only to find out afterwards it was only a dream. What a sinister character moron.

I always sought this thought. I believe that one day, there will be a point in our life when we will be confronted by our offense to our fellow beings like the ghost that haunted King Richard. Unlike him, we might not have murdered anyone.

Little did we know that in our small capacity to hurt other’s feelings, by over-doing things that matters to us most even if we know we are already trampling on others and by being over zealous to guard our own benefits, we become like King Richard. The very ill feelings, wrong doings and unfair treatment to others will be the ghost that will haunt us. That very same selfishness will haunt us and together we cross our fingers that it will not boomerang at our face.

In my young age, I’m no longer foreign to see people hurt each other due to trivial things because of even more petty and trivial reasons. Not to mention because of selfish meanings.

What makes me wonder is how could a person sleep at night when he is completely aware that someone, especially those who are disadvantaged and incapable of defending themselves, are offended, hurt and taken advantage because he is stronger, has more guts and enjoys a great deal of power.

I think all conscience is coward. It is coward in a sense that it won’t push the person bravely to surrender and recompense his dissolute demeanor toward other people. It depends on the person being afflicted whether he would admit his defeat to the prompting of his “coward conscience”.

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I was surprised that my patriotism remained unscathed.

It’s been a while since I have not written anything about politics in the Philippines. I do not have an excuse but my absolute distaste with the personalities made my self a bit cold to ventilate or stimulate my reasoning. I am worried that I might just end up discussing bitterness and be tempted to instigate a downright assault to the situation at hand.

But for the sake of those friends who wanted to know my opinion, here is my 10-cent worth of rant.

The other day, while I was cooling down from my gym workout and waiting for my friend finish his, I had the chance to read about Sorley McLean, one of those 70’s writers I got acquainted with from my modern literature class back in school. While reading some of his work, I was stricken with his unreserved love of his country and the Gaelic culture.

I began to contemplate about how much love I still have for my country. I was surprised that my patriotism remained unscathed despite the unending blunders and shameful endeavors of many of our almost “delusional” politicians. But why do I feel this way? I have lost the enthusiasm to even discuss matters involving Gloria and about those people who I swear seem to me an “All-Star Cast” for melodramatic tele-novela about hypocritical and delusional government servants. They remind me of uncanny thugs that are unmindful of the greater good of the people.

Find me an institution in the government that has decency plastered across their foreheads please and quick. The House is just devastated, divided (no pun intended) and full of craps. I told a friend that in the Philippines, there are two major forces in the government. Those who are intelligent and those who are competent, the sad thing about it is that this two distinctiveness can hardly be found in a single person. The supply of “intelligent” personalities actually floods your TV screen sounding so eloquent but disappointingly lack the ability to put the words into action, they don’t even have any substantial “put-into action agenda”.

They were not even mindful to file a respectable legal protest. It happens when the opposition reveals an honest display of impure motive to protect the nation. They were too obsessed with jumping into the hype and to further infuriate the masses to cry their dissent instead. I hope they would just stop playing with the sentiment of our poor Filipino people.

The people in the Congress know very well that when antagonism and impure motives seeps in (which always happens), being rational becomes elusive. The Filipino people have just enough of your stupid display of incompetence and selfish determination to gain your personal agendas.

Or maybe, it is about time now for the Legislators and defunct-like government officials to rethink their strategy to cause further instability to the already sinking Philippine economy. Maybe this is not enough yet, there are still more tricks these dog fools can imagine instead of focusing on what is more important. Never mind the starving millions of Filipino people. I bet you my 10-cent plea, these people we see on TV enjoying the awe of their idiocy will continue with their political bickering and soon enough, the Filipino people will just become another race full of maligned political squabbling and indecent withering aspirations.

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It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love.

How far would man go with his hate? I wonder what would the world be with out hate. Oprah Winfrey once said that, "You cannot hate other people without hating your self.” Let’s see this based on why man hate. Hate is the absence of love and there are hundreds of reasons why a man can’t love. But there are even thousand of reasons why man can avoid hate too.

In a world such as ours, hating is as easy as anything you could imagine of. Rene Descartes, a great philosopher, once thought that, “It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get.” Ever wonder why?

I will try my best to separate my view regarding the intrinsic evil in man but rather, endorse seriously that man does evil not necessarily because of his natural tendencies but because of the external concentration of opposing factors - our differences. We were never made alike. Our personalities, add up the culture and personal biases have cultivated a tremendous disparity among each other. The problem is, we are growing less tolerant of our individual differences.

Our humanity shows a constant increase in the rate of murders and homicides. And among these murders, the numbers of hate-motivated killings occupy the top position. To many of us, we thought hate do not get is toll among our normal lives since we do not show even a slightest inclination to commit murder. In our work environment and relationship with our neighbors, colleagues, friends, families or acquaintances, if we let disagreement pile up and fill the gap in our hearts, we might never notice how hate begins to make us shut from the bright side of human bonds. Hate is very counter-productive. It acts as life’s stumbling block to see others as beautiful beings; it makes us more succumb to the very evil of human incapacity to love and compassion.

We can hate easily because being meek is harder. We easily detest somebody because we find agreeing less appealing to our ego. Hate is easier because pride is more valuable than humility. In a confrontational world like ours, we have become wrongly influenced that whoever can subjugate their fellow beings and who can raise from above the rest are more superior, the most viable feeling then after envy becomes hate.

It is absurd to think that we can’t hate but to be full of hate makes a person less appealing to me. I mean, look at our world today. There are millions of things that can infuriate us already, the world can snap us unto the brink of fall and the last thing I need would be someone who eats hate 3 times a day. It’s impossible to thrash out hate out of man’s pile of feelings but the test of human decisiveness lies on his ability to distinguish what is more favorable to our being and what would potentially wreck our judgment.

Hate clouds our judgment. We put a blockade before us making us less trusting, cynical and gloomy about almost everything else. I may sound a bit preachy and my tone is an inch closer to my religious belief but what harm could there be if only man can learn to appreciate life more positively?

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My adoration brought me to my senses that what I really want is to be truly happy.

I’ve realized that I ceased to be a fighter. I have lost my candor to confront life’s challenges and had given up one of my most important battles. I have become less intense in keeping my feet on.

Now that I have finally come to face the ultimate resistance of my very own specter, I know that I ended up a loser. I hate to be one of those who brood over what has become water under the bridge but I know that what is left for me is nothing but a complete surrender of my ignorant passion to keep something that in fact will never be mine.

I know now that it is not for me or will never be. My adoration brought me to my senses that what I really want is to be truly happy. God forbids that someday I will wake up every morning hating myself for giving up because I know, what stayed behind me is the last remaining hope that I can still face the world and step on the ground where I really want myself to be.

They say that water makes its way. For no soul who have truly desired and poured affection will be destitute of what is really meant for him. My thoughts shall then be toward the resolute aspirations of this hope, I rest myself and yield to what awaits me and see that happen.

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I wish I could be wiser, I wish I could be older.

I just celebrated my birthday. I would try to do a quick précis of what have come to light since the day I start knowing the difference between right and wrong. I must say that I am almost half way through achieving my dreams. I honestly do not expect that I can be at this point of my life.

They say that the measure of man’s success is not about money and all that, I could not agree more. Although let’s say I do not lag behind those who would wish to buy stuff they won’t need except that I am still way too far from my dreams to be capable of buying a new Corvette in days when I have the itch to spend and give my son a Lexus or get ourselves a brand new Escalade as our family truck.

Looking at what I have done to myself and others, I can’t be more condescending to look at the things behind. There is no point to itemize the accomplishments I have successfully won over my many life’s battle but thinking about how my life have changed and passed through many frustrating epoch of my uneventful life, I can’t help but smile.

I have many friends who have seen me in different ways. My usual retort is that they keep their feet on the ground and never lose the desire to win. I still have the same sad feeling when I see my friends take the other course that eventually caused their downfall. Although it was never my habit to intrude into their own private lives, not to mention let them pick from my basket of wisdom my own decisions that make them inutile, I make sure that I let them know how I feel about their potentially damaging certitude of their naïve existence.

My constant goal is to be a good example of triumph over many life’s challenges among my siblings, friends and loved ones. It will be arrogant to claim that I’ve always succeeded to keep my goal because I have been through a lot of roller-coaster rides when it comes to making stupid decisions. But that is the essence. When you fall, you always have the unwavering aspiration to be on your feet again - only this time, a lot stronger and wiser.

I can count my achievements but I am always lost in keeping an accounting of my shortcomings, including those obtuse resolutions that have troubled my already confused life. Thinking how I came out from it, my smile brings me to wander in the sea of trials and errors. I wish I could be wiser, I wish I could be older so I can have the wisdom that will not hurt myself including those I loved.

I tried not to regret the things I do but attached to my inadequate experience in life and brought by my young aggressive almost stupid disposition, I usually end up beaten. As another year adds up my age, I pray that I be given the strength to be thankful of everything I have received, including the trials that I have won. I pray that I be able to live longer enough to see my children and return to my Heavenly Father the kind of blessings He had showered me all throughout my short existence on mortal life by serving Him.

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The tendency to gossip seems to me a primordial “side dish” of their existence

To some people, the tendency to gossip seems to me a primordial “side dish” of their existence. It made me stop sometime and try to put the robe on me, reflect on it and really think about it myself, real hard.

I usually ask myself if this has been something I do in retaliation to this hideous habit of those around me. I have seen other lives crumble right before senseless gossiping (is this a complete oxymoron – for I find sensible gossiping ridiculous).

One of my colleagues made me think about her being ticked off about people’s tendency to peek their nose on other people’s business. I had this experience before when I was freshie in our workplace and someone (I don’t even remember who he was or what was question all about) asked me about something I found a bit too personal. All I remembered was his reaction to my response “why is that your business” said in a very cheerful way.

The guy never actually made no further attempt to cross my line; I don’t even remember his name so I guess he got himself so distant that he was just one of those insignificant people I met.

Gossiping is a dark habit with danger written all over it. It weakens any man’s character no matter how entertaining it may appear.

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Most of the stories of my life are less momentous but when my heart experienced that thing they called love, everything have changed.

My parents once told us that life is like a lake on a cloudless moonlit night. The calmness of the lake replicates the images that will come into its spectrum, like having a special power to imitate life above its tranquil water. It becomes a gigantic mirror, allowing you to witness the unfolding of yourself right before your very eyes.

Mother had reminded us that someday, the way we live our life will be the “lake on moonlit night” and when that time comes, we shall see our life unfolds right before our very eyes. Seriously, until now, I am still unable to understand what she meant by that or how I will see my life in the lake. So I would leave it like that.

My memories about growing as a child would always nudge my lips to smile. I can’t help but beam every time these memories unexpectedly descend into my disturbed mind, it usually transport me into a flight of serenity.

Most of the stories of my life are less momentous but when my heart experienced that thing they called love, everything have changed. It brought me here, succumb with hope and desperation. So when Anais Nin commented in her diaries that, “Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.” I can relate to it completely.

I must say that I am left with baffled soul, not knowing what state or if I have elected a state where I wanted to remain. My mind tells me that I want to move on, to see life again and be able to live the life I ever wanted. What I have become seems devoid of meaning, only because of the one I loved.

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The Democratization of Cambodia and East Timor: A Comparative Analysis

In comparing the democratization of East Timor and Cambodia, it is essential to establish their short history of existence as a nation, their past wars and how the self-government of its people has started. Since democracy is not limited to just a set of constitutional rules and procedures, a government should exist but since government is only one element coexisting in a social composition of its people (institutions, political parties, organizations, and associations), it is important to determine the participation of its people in the exercise of their rights to form a nation based on the majority rule and protection of the rights of the minority. Pluralism exists when there is diversity and it assumes that the many organized groups and institutions in a democratic society do not depend upon government for their existence, legitimacy, or authority.

East Timor has a colonial past from Portugal, the Dutch and the Japanese (during the World War II). East Timor declared itself independent from Portugal on 28 November 1975 and was invaded and occupied by Indonesian forces nine days later and became the province of Timor Timur (East Timor). There were two decades of arm struggle against the Indonesian government by which 100,000 to 250,000 East Timorese died. On 30 August 1999, in a UN-supervised popular referendum, an overwhelming majority of the people of Timor-Leste voted for independence from Indonesia. The Government of Timor-Leste held presidential and parliamentary elections from April to June 2007 (Taylor, 1991).

Cambodia has an imperial past (Khmers of the Angkor Empire). The French put Cambodia under its protection in 1863 and it became part of French Indochina in 1887 then the Japanese occupied the country during WWII, and was later declared independent in 1953 from France. In April 1975, Communist Khmer Rouge forces captured Phnom Penh and executed at least 1.5 million Cambodians. Vietnamese invasion followed which drove the Khmer Rouge into the countryside and began a 10-year Vietnamese occupation. Cambodia nursed an almost 13 years of civil war. The 1991 Paris Peace Accords mandated democratic elections and a ceasefire, which was not fully respected by the Khmer Rouge. The UN-sponsored election in 1993 gave birth to a coalition government but was later ended by factional fighting in 1997. The second round of national elections in 1998 led to the formation of another coalition government and renewed political stability, the remaining elements of the Khmer Rouge surrendered in early 1999. The July 2003 election was relatively peaceful, but it took one year of negotiations between contending political parties before a coalition government was formed. In October 2004, King Sihanouk abdicated the throne due to illness and his son, Prince Norodom Sihamoni, was selected to succeed him (Chandler, 2007). Their latest election was last July 2008.

Hence, some elements of democracy should exist in order to determine the democratization of the two countries at case. The first consideration is the sovereignty of the people. Both of the countries gained sovereignty (to a certain degree) in some point of their histories. Their history of independence from their colonizers (East Timor from Portugal in 1975 while Cambodia from France in 1953) is distinct and actually provides a clear statement that both countries have achieve some degrees of sovereignty. Nonetheless, their democracy as to sovereignty of the people exists.

The second aspect of the democracy on this comparison should be the government formed by its people. The government based upon consent of the governed and it should have a free and fair elections. Although both countries held several elections under the United Nations and international peace keeping coalition, they have elected their own leaders. However, it is important to note that internal conflicts from factions undermine the peaceful electoral process of both countries. It is also impossible to ascertain the degree of independence and veracity of the election result (as it is always common in third world countries to those who are in position or the powerful to manipulate the votes of the people). During the last election in Cambodia, the electorate voted through: in the Senate, 57 members are elected by functional constituencies to serve 5-year terms, 2 members are elected by the National Assembly to serve 5-year terms and 2 members are appointed by the monarch to serve 5-year terms. In the National Assembly (Radhsphea Ney Preah Recheanachakr Kampuchea) 123 members are elected by party-list system with proportional distribution of seats to serve 5-year terms (International Foundation for Electoral Systems, 2008). On the other hand, the recent election in East Timor had been a close race. With nearly 47% of the East Timorese people opting for one of the other 12 parties or coalitions. These voters turned to other smaller parties, from Christian-influenced parties, through to parties with traditional-based ties, through to the leftist Socialist Party of Timor (PST). The National Unity Party (PUN), which had not run in previous elections, gained nearly 5%, in part due to tacit approval of its policies from the leadership of the Catholic Church (Lamb, 2007). In other words, both of the countries have exercised their right to vote for their leaders and established a government led by the personalities chosen by the populace. As to the question if it was fair and free election, it should be noted that Cambodia had a more military influence and have greatly affected the free will or the outcome of the election, alleged widespread fraud and irregularities and more than 300 complaints have been lodged against partial returns from individual vote counting stations (Gluck, 1998) although East Timor is far better than Cambodia having noted that “over 500 observers from 15 countries and international organizations, including Australia, were in East Timor for the elections and overwhelmingly characterized the elections as peaceful, fair and democratic” (Downer, 2007).

Since democracy should assure that the majority rule while the rights of the minority right are being protected as well, which form the third basis of a democratized nation. In Cambodia, there is a cloud of doubt in terms of having the majority rule principle. Based on their history, the factions have created an institutionalized affair of closed military governance and speckled with the powerful and mighty usually dominate. In a report by Ronald Bruce St John for the Foreign Policy in Focus regarding the failure of the government of Cambodia’s ability to withstand the demands of democracy, he states that, “Unfortunately, the international community has largely sanctioned Cambodia's failures. It has continued to provide substantial quantities of aid in the face of mounting evidence that even modest democratic reforms are compromised (St John, 2006). In addition, since there is a question of political reforms by which the participation of the majority through pluralism is lacking, St John added that, “Cambodia must curb executive powers as it develops an honest, independent judiciary and a concomitant respect for the rule of law. Active political parties remain important precursors for a sustainable, pluralistic order with a strong educational system a prerequisite for an effective democratic polity. These are only a few of the tough issues the international community must address if it is to succeed in promoting democratization in Cambodia and in other states with little or no democratic tradition, like Afghanistan and Iraq (2006).” This means that equal powers from the judiciary, legislative and executive must maintain the balance but something that does not happen since the Executive is overpowering the balance. On the other hand, East Timor has its own set of problems as regard to democratization. The institutionalization of democracy in East Timor faces major obstacles. Due to a long history of colonization, the East Timorese people have no experience of running a large modern democracy. Consequently, they have a lack of expertise in developing and maintaining democratic institutions. To set up the administrative systems that make a modern democracy possible requires money, time and skilled staff, none of which is plentiful in East Timor.

The guarantee of basic human rights in both countries is problematic. Their infancy in the arena of democracy has resulted to a certain degree of abuse of human rights. For a democracy to be effective, human rights need to be a priority. This means that the government must ensure that basic needs such as food, shelter and health care are met. Education should also be considered a human right and is an essential component of a healthy democracy. It is very difficult for people to participate in the political life of their country if basic needs like these are not met. These two countries are very poor, they lack the resources to provide equal opportunity for its citizens to access the basic services and attend to the basic needs of its people. According to a Joint Statement by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch during the 9th session of the UN Human Rights Council, “Lack of integrity and independence within the court system sits at the centre of Cambodia’s current human rights problems – its most notable impact is an escalating land crisis. Forced evictions further impoverish the marginalized, who are routinely deprived of redress. Violence against women goes unpunished. Freedoms of expression and association are compromised and human rights defenders, opposition journalists, and community activists defending land and natural resources are increasingly imprisoned on baseless charges, physically attacked, or murdered; the perpetrators are rarely brought to justice. The Supreme Council of Magistracy, established to ensure independence and effectiveness of the judiciary remains ineffectual, while the Constitutional Council has continuously failed to demonstrate its role to safeguard the constitutionality of legislation.” (Amnesty International & Human Rights Watch, 2008) While the human rights situation in East Timor is primarily effected by the Indonesian government, a report by Angela Balakrishnan noted that a report found Indonesia was guilty of carrying out human rights abuse on a grand scale during East Timor's 1999 break for independence (Balakrishnan, 2008).

The fourth defining element of democratization is the equality before the law, implementation of due process of law and existence of constitutional limits on government. Earlier it was noted in this paper that the Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch delivered a report that Cambodia has continuously failed to safeguard the constitutionality of legislation. There is an overwhelming influence of the Executive power as it tips the balance of power. On the other hand, East Timor has shown its continued effort to provide the nation with a democracy but is constantly under siege by internal conflicts. The conflict in both countries, especially in East Timor has been devastating the peaceful implementation of the government of democracy while the government of Cambodia has continuously failed to curb corruption thereby causing inequality among its people. The corruption in both countries exist but Cambodia has more flaws in terms of its failure to reduce the surging rate of corruption while East Timor finds it hard to control the nation because of internal arm struggle and political conflicts.

The social, economic, and political pluralism in a democratized country must be evident. Active political participation can only emerge in democracies that are able to solve more fundamental problems of major economic inequalities and poverty. The problem with both countries, the predicament of economic inequality and poverty is at its highest point. The values of tolerance, pragmatism, cooperation, and compromise in both countries do exist to some extent. It is essential that a democratic country should have the ability to cooperate and promote tolerance with each other, such as the existence of freedom of speech, assembly, press and other freedoms that inherently promotes tolerance and compromise. Nowadays, it is extremely difficult to completely subdue these basic freedoms though to the advent of modern communication. It is however unfortunate that Cambodia find its too uneasy to grant this rights to its people, the Government, the military forces, and the ruling political party continued to dominate the broadcast media and to influence the content of broadcasts. According to a 2001 report by the UNHCHR, the procedures for licensing and allocation of radio and television frequencies to the media were not impartial. The SRP has consistently been unable to obtain a broadcast license. During 2001, it briefly broadcast radio programs from a site in a neighboring country, but subsequently suspended broadcasts for technical reasons. There were seven television stations, all controlled or strongly influenced by the CPP. Government control severely limited the content of television and radio broadcasting. At the initiative of the President of the National Assembly, the Ministry of Information-controlled national television and radio stations broadcast taped sessions of the National Assembly's debates; however, in several instances, these broadcasts were censored (UNCHR, 2001). In East Timor, the freedom is relatively relaxed compared to that of Cambodia. Given the country's transition to a functional democracy, the government has warned journalists to exercise their freedom with responsibility, and official reactions to overly adverse reporting remain a concern. In June, the Ministry of the Interior expelled Australian freelance journalist Julian King for allegedly subverting the state in his reporting. There is as yet no press council to adjudicate disputes. Therefore, the government uses legal codes adopted from Indonesian and Portuguese laws to address any aberrant, albeit undefined, media-related practices. However, no major incursions on press freedom were noted in 2004, although the government did on several occasions attempt to influence coverage (Freedom House, 2005).

Democratization in Cambodia and East Timor is an effort, an endeavor by which they both has to undergo the process to adopt such a regime. It is extremely difficult to determine how that process occurs, including what criteria to use in determining if democratization has, in fact, taken place. Typically, democracy has truly taken root until at least three national elections have been held. Another criterion could be the peaceful transfer of power from one political party or coalition to the former opposition. Such a transition is critical because it indicates that the major political forces in a country are prepared to settle their disputes without violence and to accept that they will all spend periods of time out of office. Unfortunately, using that as our determinants, it is still immature to predispose or declare that both countries have actually achieved democracy.



References

Balakrishnan, A. (2008, July 15). Indonesia accepts guilt over East Timor human rights abuses.
The Guardian. Retrieved October 7, 2008, from http://www.guardian.co.uk
Chandler, D. (2007). A History of Cambodia. Westview Press, 2007
Downer, A. (2007, July 12). East Timor Parliamentary Elections. Retrieved October 7, 2008,
from http://www.foreignminister.gov.au/releases/2007/fa085_07.html
Freedom House, Freedom of the Press - East Timor 200) (2005, 27 April). Online. UNHCR
Refworld. Retrieved October 7, 2008 from available at: http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/4734515c23.html
Gluck C. (1998, August 5). Asia-Pacific Hun Sen wins Cambodia election. The BBC News.
Retrieved October 7, 2008, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/145702.stm
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International (2008, September 15). Joint statement at the
UN Human Rights Council. New York: United Nation
IFES (2008, July 7). Election Profile for Cambodia. Retrieved October 7, 2008, from
http://www.electionguide.org/election.php?ID=1188
Lamb, J. (2007, Jul7 14). East Timor: Uncertainty over future government. Green Left Online.
Retrieve October 7, 2008, from http://www.greenleft.org.au/2007/717/37249
St John, B. (2006, January 23). Cambodia’s Failing Democracy. Foreign Policy in Focus.
Retrieved October 7, 2008, from http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/3079/
Taylor, J. G. (1991). Indonesia's Forgotten War: The Hidden History of East Timor. Australia:
Pluto Press

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