Wednesday, September 24, 2008

How's your X-Curve, buddy?

Favorite subjects / topics? Let’s see.
Physics – compulsory kasi eh
Math – well, to a certain extent
History – profound
Arts – =)
Music – Life
Tsss…Well what about finance? Ah..Uhm..Well..You know…
Hope you get it.
I’m not that at ease when money talk is involved. (simply for the reason that I’ve been to a number of money-related problems before, haha. Na-trauma ba ‘ga?)
Good thing that Chance (indeed Chance) led us to a finance seminar by a managing director of a company in the business city of Makati. Fundamentals of Financial Planning and How Money Works, that’s what the event was called. A little reluctant before, I nevertheless enjoyed (in fact thankful) the whole thing.

So, let me lay down a few salient points from it:

Point 1. Well, we have to understand the concept of that thing he calls X-curve. Briefly, it’s a sketch of our responsibilities and wealth as a function of time. As time goes by, we have to lessen our responsibilities that are financially-related and at the same time increase our wealth (in the form of savings). The significance of this was eventually shown later on in his talk.

Point 2. Realize that money/income is just temporary. This one I think does not need reiteration. =)

Point 3. Financial discipline. He said that this is needed no matter how big or small one’s income is, whether you are an executive officer or a simple employee.

He then used the bulk of his time in explaining how money could really work for us. (Research on the Rule of 72 by Einstein…daw). Add to that a number of concrete steps to one’s financial security (oh yeah, the DIME acronym,haha). I would agree to what he said that it’s good that at our age, this thing about finance is already taught. The younger, the better.

(I’ve taken notes of the seminar, a good thing because the electricity was rudely interrupted, rendering the OHP and thus the speaker’s PowerPoint presentation useless. If you, chance reader, want it, I’d gladly send it you.ô)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Talking about the “Dance”

I’ve attended again one of the activities that involve some of the ‘highly-active’ groups in Southern Tagalog. As to what it was all about, well, I don’t think there’s anything wrong in mentioning the name: “Cha-Cha: A Dictatorship in the Making”, a forum/discussion of some sort with the Tagaytay 5 and former Vice-President Teofisto Guingona. (It may be worth mentioning here that it was out of curiosity that I became interested in these kinds of things which eventually blossomed to what I can roughly term as “awareness”.)

I was late in the forum and had hardly understood what Rev. Joel Tendero (Conference Minister, NESCon UCCP) was talking about. It was followed then by a screening of the “RIGHTS v.2.0” tagged as “Special Advance(d) Screening”. (Ayus ‘di ba? Free s’ya take note!)
“RIGHTS”, to give a short background, was submitted to MTRCB for review, but was unfortunately labeled as X Rated and so was banned from public viewing. The rating was later changed and is in fact readily available now. (Although I am not quite sure if it has already made its way into the limelight of YouTube). Let me give some short descriptions of what it contains:

“Bakwet”– shows a child singing a regional language (I think) about politics of course
“Eduardo Serrano” – about the story of a ‘political prisoner’; “Krimen ba ang maglingkod sa bayan?” says the man in this short presentation
“Luya” (Ginger) – I personally like this one; “Tao ka Hindi ka luya Pwede kang umaray (At higit sa lahat) pwede kang lumaban”
“Peace” (Kapayapaan) – this has a strong message; it shows a man in an obvious military/police uniform holding a pair of electrical wires which eventually lit up a big neon light boasting to the people the announcement of “PEACE”; later a man gagged and tied to a chair is electrocuted using the same electric lines that facilitated the lighting of those neon lights

“Quenching Fire” – again this exhibited a very direct message; it showed rallyists being water cannoned by the BFP (Bureau of Fire Protection) and the PNP; an old lady said in Tagalog something like this: “Sa amin, wala kaming mainom na tubig Pero (r)ito sa Maynila ginagamit lang nila ang tubig para kami ay madisperse”; I was a bit shocked and saddened by this at the same time
“Human Rights 101” – this is nice; it shows a lolo preaching to the farmers, judging from their looks and costumes, the basic facts about their rights in forming labor unions, expressing political opinions etc; “Hindi ka pwedeng ikulong dahil sa ‘yong political na paniniwala,” lolo says
“Tagu-Taguan” – a bit of horror presentation, simple yet so unnerving; it shows a child playing the role of a “taya” in the game tagu-taguan (hide-and-seek); it later turned out that the boy was looking for the people who seemed to just vanished in the air…Jonas Burgos...etc…I know that you understand it...
“Terorista Ka Ano?” – hilarious, pure comedy; it simply shows how some ‘people’ reacts violently to the idea of who is or are terrorist/s

The afternoon activities ended with a candle lighting ceremony that was joined by the late rains. (Sadly enough, it prompted the Guingona guards to whisk him away. A few people noticed his exit…) And me? I ended up bringing a former schoolmate to the nearest jeepney loading zone.

---
Well, I was kind of disappointed at how such activities go. Perhaps some could say that I am still a novice in these kinds of things, “baguhan kumbaga”, and am yet to experience far more shocking things. But…I think what I have seen in the television, heard in the radio, read in the newspapers and magazines are quite enough to come into these views:

1. Things are too general. It gives me a feeling of boredom to hear the same angst-driven shouts and chants. I could not help but recall my book by Saul Alinksy which advises the radical what to do to successfully effect changes.
2. Disorder follows from an un-followed program. O yeah, that’s it. With the time being ssssooo precious(?) to most of the Filipinos, they often leave the activity/ies dahil sa katagalan.
3. Prayer still seems to me arbitrary. (Well, still a too-personal opinion.) One only has to see how many people disregard it. (Puffs smoke…)

The only consolation to it is that at least, people are aware that change must be effected NOW..(especially in the way our government is managed).
Photo credits:

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Isang Bukas na Liham para sa mga iskolar ng Bayan ng UPLB (USC-UPLB)

[Well, everyone has space for his or her voice/thoughts/opinions here in my blog. So I’m putting up here the letter distributed by our Student Council.]

Isang Bukas na Liham para sa mga iskolar ng Bayan ng UPLB
University Student Council-UPLB AY 2007-2008


Isang mainit na pagbati sa mga Iskolar ng Bayan ng UPLB!

Ang katatapos lamang na plebisto upang iratipika ang 1984 UPLB Student Council Constitution at USC-CSC Elections ang patunay sa sama-sama at masikhay na pagkilos ng mga estudyante nakakamit nating ang ating mga inaasam na tagumpay. Ang 70.55% na student participation o katumbas na 7,173 votes cast at 95.5% na affirmative votes para sa 1984 UPLB Student Council Constitution ay patunay lamang na kinikilala ng mga mga Iskolar ng Bayan na ang mga konseho ng mag-aaral ang pangunahing tagpamandila at tagapagtanggol ng kanilang mga demokrarikong karapatan. Kinikilala nbatin na ang mga konseho ng mag-aaral ang pangunahing magtataguyod ng interes ng mgs estudyante. Upang magkaroon ng malalayang puwang upang matapang na tumindig ang mga konseho ng mag-aaral sa usaping pang-estudyante, kinikilala ng mga Iskolar ng Bayan na may pangangailangan na maging autonomous, representative, at democratic ang katangiang ng kanilang puwetso.

Bagama’t malaking tagumpay ang paghahalal ng ating panibagong konseho makalipas ang limang buwang pagka-antala, hindi (r)ito natatapos ang ating pakikibaka para sa ating mga demokratikong karapatan. Bagkus, ito ay umpisa pa lamang ng tuluy-tuloy at papalakas na kilusang estudyante na magtatanggol at titindig para sa kanyang mga batayang karapatan.

Habang papalapit na ang pagpili ng panibagong Chancellor ng UPLB na siyang mangunguna sa pagpapasya ng tunguhin ng unibersidad sa susunod na tatlong taon, muli tayong ng ating panahon upang tumindig para sa ating mga demokratikong karapatan lalo’t higit sa ating karapatan sa edukasyon. Bukod pa rito, hinahamon tayo na kolektibong tutulan ang represyon sa loob ng pamantasan na sumasagka sa ating mga demokratikong karapatan. Lalo’t higit, tayo ay hinahamon ng ating panahon na ibalik ang oryentasyon ng Unibersidad ng Pilipinas bilang pamantasan(g) naglilingkod sa sambayanan; isang pamantasan na kumikilala sa karapatan ng bawat mama(ma)yang Pilipino sa makabayan, siyentipiko at makamasang edukasyon.

Muli humihingi ang Konseho ng Mag-aaral ng Unibersidad ng Pilipinas Los Baños ng buong-buong suporta nating mga estudyante para sa UPLB Student Agenda. Sa primarya, ito ay binuo nating mga estudyante at mga organisasyon upang lamanin ang ating lehitimong panawagan para sa de(-)kalidad at abot-kayang edukasyon at malayang kampus. Marapat nating tandaan na ang mga naranasan nating pag-atake sa ating mga institusyong pang-estudyante at mga tahasang pagtapak sa ating mga demokratikon karapatan sa kasalukuyan ay walang puwang sa panahong kumakaharap ang pamantasan sa tahasang komersyalisasyon Marapat lamang na sa panahon ng pagpasok ng Unibersidad ng Pilipinas Los Baños sa kanyang sentenaryo, panatilihin natin ang tootong esensya ng aktibismo; pag-aaral ng lipunan, maalab na militansya at masikhay na pakikibaka para sa ating mga karapatan lalo’t higit para sa karapatan ng batayang masa. Nawa’y ang sama-sama nating pagkilos upang panatilihin ang mga batayang institusyong pang-estudyante na mangangalaga sa ating mga interes at kagalingan ay lakipan natin ng papalaks at tuluy-tuloy na pagkilos para sa ating mga batayang karapatan.

Muli, kami ay nagpapaabot ng lubos na pasasasalamat sa inyong suporta lagi(’)-laging pagsuporta at pakikiisa sa ating mga kampanya. Hanggang sa mga susunod pang lumalakas at lumalawak na pagkilos para sa mga estudyante at sambayanan! Isang taas kamaong pagpupugay!

SCHEDULE OF ACTIVITIES

Sept. 18: Cha Cha ni Gloria: Martial Law in the Making, (Forum with Tagaytay 5), 1-4 p.m., Makiling Ballroom Hall, Student Union Building, UPLB. Student Regent Cnsultation Re: UPLB Chancellor Selection, 7 p.m., Makiling Ballroom Hall, Student Union Building, UPLB.
Sept.20-21: KASAMA sa UP Luzon-wide Student Leaders Conference (Open to all Councils and Orgs). UP Diliman, Quezon City.
Sept.23: Dialogue with UP President Emerlinda Roman Re: DemRights Issues, 4 p.m., UP Diliman, Quezon City.
Sept. 29: Board of Regents Meeting Re: UPLB Chancellor Selection, 9 a.m., UP Diliman, Quezon City.


*** Characters in (parentheses) are my insertions and/or corrections.
photo from multiply.com

Monday, September 15, 2008

Of Goals, Golds, and Godly Things



[This is in response to the persuasion I received in connection to a personal belief of an acquaintance of mine who, sadly enough, seemed to be unaware of the change in my outlook in certain aspects of my/our existence.]
Having been into numerous experiences together, a friend of mine could not help but visit me in our house and check on me. It was quite good for me since the concept of a “friend” has been a perennial personal issue.
We roamed the city and visited some places until we ended up on a food shop and he, convincing me into enrolling to a certain school (yeah, a religion-related school) that he plans to attend next year. I knew the premise behind his motivations to go there, but he insisted that he expound on them so that I might be persuaded.
He first asked me what I want to achieve ultimately in life. I have a concrete answer to that (well, to say it roughly, it’s about figuring out the meaning of my existence) but I decided to play upon and returned the question to him instead. Well he responded that people most of the time aspires for wealth, for fame, for pleasure, and for other “worldly” things. He then proceeded to ask, what would you do now if the people achieved all of them? Is that the end of life for them? For me, I kept my answers to myself because I do not want to argue with him. So he stated that that would be a boring life because essentially, there would be nothing left for those persons to do. It’s utterly meaningless, he said.
Along came the expounded premises. He said that ULTIMATELY, the GOAL of MAN is MAN himself. From that point, I felt that he was having the same thinking as I have. But on that point only. What proceeded next was a bit...well...expected of him. He said that the goal of man would be to bring souls into the next life. Even if we have all the things that we could ever dream of, he continued, one would not be ultimately completed unless the person could win a soul every single day. Indeed apart from this, the activities of man would be utterly futile and meaningless. Eternity, he said, is what maters most.
----
I’ve always treated such topics with respect and so I would not, even in this entry, attempt to have my reactions into those statements. I would instead lay down what I think is missing in these premises that he put forward.
First, I would daresay that to a certain extent, the present life is unworthy of continuance, being a place where war is ever-present, diseases is contagious, and poverty the ultimate killer of beings. The idea of eternity is what helps us to make through each day’s hardships – that peaceful future, an everlasting life where all is just happiness and love. But…that’s just it.
But I think since we are still in this “world”, why would we force our minds to leave the present states of our lives, force our eyes to close from the horrors of our daily existence, cover our ears from the wails of the poor and hungry, keep our mouths from spreading the truth about politics, health, and peace?
Why would be want to ultimately win souls when we cold not even prove to the poor, hungry, hurt, and bitter people that while we are still in this world, we are capable of deciding for our lives, that we can chart the courses of our lives however trying our present situations may be?
How can we bring them into eternity, into a place of utmost bliss, when we ourselves cannot show to these poor, hungry, hurt, and bitter people that we too are worthy of that afterlife?
Can we do it when they see us struggling with problems on finance and family, leaving a life of compromise, jobless, and obviously tired and fed up of the things we are doing?

No, I would not buy the promo of eternity if that would just deceive them, pull them away from the real things of this existence.

I would instead share to them the goodness that will be brought in trying to achieve, specifically understand, the reasons behind our existence – its meaning and the role it plays in other people’s lives. In ultimately knowing that, they would come into terms with the bad things happening to them and to the other people in their immediate environment and consequently achieve a greater sense of freedom amidst a world torn by wars, hate, inequalities, hunger, and poverty. Only after that would I openly receive the details of that eternity thing.
----
I decided not to speak for the whole duration of his talk for a number of reasons. First, I would want to hear the whole of his arguments. Second, I would want to really understand what his beliefs are. And third, to have a complete set of thoughts in which to compare, even at least to certain extent, my own. It was a good decision because from that, I’ve realized the blind beliefs I have adhered to in the past. I would want to get more involved with the people around, I should have said to him, with their affairs and with the meaning of their existence. There are greater degrees of aspirations that are way above his naïve examples of wealth, fame, pleasure, and women. If only he knows how much he could gain from understanding the lives of our people, I would have gladly partaken in that hearty meal we were having.
I just hope that when the time comes that I will be the one to speak to him about that thing, he would be patient enough to to what I have to say. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Remembering Nine-Eleven

There is no denying that the date 9-11 Attack will forever haunt each of us. Yeah, I would believe so for there were a number of Filipinos who got caught in that ‘terrorist attack’. In one way or another, we are associated to it.

I am actually watching now a home video shot near the destroyed Twin Towers to have a real feel of what happened (Watch the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNNTcHq5Tzk&feature=related). It was just all pictures and news articles that reached us during our high school days back in 2001 and I only got this chance now to see it like I was really there.

Fear and confusion. That’s what I think what most of the New Yorkers felt during that time. I would not go on and discuss again the harrowing details of the tragedy. But suffice it to say that what happened rationalized the decision of the US to declared war on terrorism…to some extent.


I sympathize with all those who lost there loves ones; sadly most of them being simple and innocent victims. Who ever wants to get caught on the battle for power and ideologies? Who ever want to see a thousand people killed in a declared war they are not particularly and directly connected to? Who ever wants to see a chain reaction of revenges and more wars and killings? Perhaps the bitterness of those who lost their loved ones have turned now into something that only themselves can explain – maybe numbness of feeling, maybe acceptance. But for the majority of the Americans, perhaps particularly in the administration, justice must be done…
As for me, all I realized is that even superpowers can be taunted in the face of the whole world.

Images from:
xrlq.com, rhymeswithright.mu.nu, upload.wikimedia.org, blogs.zdnet.com, wikipedia.org