Friday, December 31, 2010

Year-Ender IV: Musings on the 31st


As the year draws to a close, let us be reminded of our triumphs and failures in the past year. And let us carry the lessons that ensued from them.

Resolutions are good in so far as they serve us a plateful of optimism at the start of every year. But I urge each one of us to carry them to reality. We may have different views of resolutions, but I believe that they have a common trait. And that is the character of change.

It may still be debatable whether life is indeed cyclical or not. But one thing cannot be denied in life: that we ought to make our lives better. The coming of the new year gives us a perfect excuse for declaring resolutions. We might as well make use of this opportunity.

As I always say every January First: let us face the new year with brave hearts!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Year-Ender III: The Lab 6th Edition (Seoul, South Korea)

.

This is a follow up for the listing of several work achievements this year. This is to a large extent special as this is the first time that my (literary) work got published abroad. The publication is sponsored by a group called CATS from Seoul, South Korea. I felt very happy having this connection of sort from new friends up north. A bonus is a short message from one of the editors Michelle Kim.

In every moment like this (that is, having a work published), I always treat it as a springboard for better things. Among my life’s activities, it is only in writing that I get to be staunchly optimistic.

To The Lab and CATS, more power!

(You can download a copy of The Lab 6th Edition here.)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Year-Ender II: Downs


I have always said to an intimate that problems or challenges that a person faces are like spices of life. It would be a dull existence if all was just joy and happiness. Of course, this is an exaggeration (or if not, an understatement). But problems – struggles as I like to call them – transformed me into a stronger individual. Much like an athlete preparing for his or her Big Day. The preparations may be tiring and wearisome but they have definitely some concrete ends to meet. Life’s struggles may be irreconcilable for some people’s idea of life, but for me, they are an integral part of my being.

For I believe they are natural offshoots of our actions and we only need to get around and solve them for ourselves.

The landscape of my 2010 has been composed primarily of struggles. There came those times when my writing was questioned by people within the family circles. As if writing is something foreign, something reserved for the rich and not for those who need to earn money to survive.

Then there were domestic ones, concerning principally schedules and budgeting. It was hard enough to transport one’s self between two houses. It created another chunk of headache when a third house was considered. Home-related plans were made to earn convenience, but with all the constraints and ‘politics’ (as I love to call them), no good was achieved, only headaches and busted pockets.

A plan for a business enterprise, which in theory was very good, did not materialize due to severe budget and logistics limitations. A job is good but one has to have a working trade where money can be generated. That was the philosophy. That was the mission. But it is yet to be fulfilled.

Finally, at the close of the year, it comes clearer to me that as we journey through the rough roads of life, one could not help but etch troubles along the way. I realized that it is high time (a few more days are left for the year anyway) to make a pit stop and walk back to some of the blazed trails and patch up those things that need some patching up.

It seems that it is quite easy to say it in words. But I know that it is going to bloody, definitely bloody. I intend to live a more mature phase of life anyway, so better make amends on some of the past’s pock marks (forgive the play with words).

[It’s good to realize that this entry ends on a positive note.]

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Year-Ender I: Ups


Christmas has just passed. But it always seems to me that no days separate Christmas and the New Year celebration. In the blink of an eye, we will have 2011 right before us. And so, as I have said before, I personally would not want to be swept by the activities of the last days of December. Instead I desire to look back to the months that comprised this year. And from that I hope to extract morsels of lessons which I could carry on for the coming of the new year.

But in looking back, it would be practical to recall successes. I can still remember what my thesis adviser told me: that there are in essence two kinds of successes – external and internal. External successes are those things that other people can identify and relate to. These are the society-conceived successes. Internal successes, on the other hand, are those which you yourself can tell as successes. The world may see those things as trivial, but for you they are your accomplishments. These two stuck to me. Internal successes are for me personal truths.

And I can say that my writing life is one example of internal (or personal) success. Finishing a thesis manuscript, getting some works published, and winning writing contests are indeed fuels for me to pursue this writing path. I would admit that I still have a lot of grounds to cover – a lot of theories to learn, a lot of literary works to read and learn from, a lot of drafts to write. I am a self-confessed novice, to say the least.

But knowing that almost everything (in my personal life at least) revolves around writing, I dare not drop it out of my system. Writing is breathing. Writing defines a large portion of my character. Whether or not I would make it as a top-rate writer (wow, the ever ambitious Francis!), no one knows. But for 2010, writing is the highlight of my everyday activities. I am personally excited with some plans. No harm there. At least I have some programs to follow instead of just scribbling around.

But to say that it was only writing that I did for the whole 2010 would be tantamount to lying. There are certainly many other things that happened within the year which I consider successes. But it would be better to keep them as personal recollections. I have come to realize that I cannot blog every single parcel of my life and activities.

Anyway, in this existence of duality, a thing always has its opposite. For every up, there will always be a down. I wish to discuss some of that ‘downs’ in the next entry.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Yule Talk 4: Drummer Boy



A silent night pierced by the simple rhythm of a drum. No one could possibly understand how a drum could sound like a symphony. No one except this young boy and God, who may have closed his eyes and listened. The world would be forever shaken by the intrusion of Grace.

No one could possibly understand how the cry of a baby could like a symphony. No one except God and the world who so desperately needed a Saviour.

This boy knew.

A silent night pierced by the simple rhythm of a drum. No one could possibly understand how a drum could sound like a symphony...

From “Jars of Clay | Dummer Boy” © 1995 Essential/Brentwood

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Yule Talk 3: A View of the Lunar Eclipse


It would have been more memorable if I was able to take a picture of the moon. But no, nothing can buy experience. And so I can only go as far as describing it.


The lunar feat rising in the east just beside Mount San Cristobal. The reddish glow. The bright light that seem to emanate from it. The view of Sampaloc Lake adding an atmosphere of awe of the eclipse. The surprisingly dark surroundings (except for the evening lights of the houses around the lake). Indeed, it felt so food to lose awareness of time and space (space indeed, as I positioned myself on a terrace overlooking a cliff) even for just a few minutes.

In moments like this, I cannot help but imagine what it was like hundreds of years ago. When there was still no light pollution. When the night was always darkness. And when the only thing to be marveled at was the sky. No wonder they look up to the heavens as if the gods reside there. The phenomenon I saw last night was marvelous.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Yule Talk 2: Reformation through ‘A Christmas Carol’


Rummaging through a book sale about a month ago, I came across a paperback copy of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I purchased it right away, thinking that it would come in handy for the coming Christmas season. I have just read it again, and put down the book with a reformed view of Christmas.


But, I am still, and will always be critical of its origins (plus some of the traditions that have become associated with it). People brand the celebration as religious yet a determined researcher can trace it back to the unreligious. Anyway, it is my conviction and I am sharing this entry not to persuade anyone to share my belief.

Despite being characterized as a potboiler*, it seems that the novella still possesses the force that moved many people during the time of its release and up to the present. The story of the central character (an unswerving killjoy who later changed his ways) proved to be memorable, especially as it was placed within the context of Christmas.

And although having been written during the Victorian era, some of the lines in the story still ring true today. Said Scrooge’s nephew about Christmas:

“…the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.”

Although it seems that Scrooge found his own reformation in seeing his future (a dull death, a dull grave), the good thing about it was that he actually found the heart to change from within him. It was the things of his past and of his present that comprised the ingredients of his reformation. He saw that he could step outside his self-centered realm, make others happy, and even share happiness with them.

That was exactly my own point of reformation. I may disprove of the way they anchor Christmas celebrations with the birth of an alleged savior, but the spirit of the celebration itself cannot be discounted. Those staunch killjoys (am I still included here?) can freely shed their shells and take part at least in giving a breather for those who find life stifling and tiring.

The Philippines is in toil the whole year round, and Christmas can be one of days of the year when it can make merriment. In realizing these things, I do not want to spoil the celebration, at least within my family circles.

---

(Quote taken from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, A Watermill Classic)


* potboiler – a literary composition of poor quality that was written quickly to make money (to boil the pot)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Yule Talk 1: A Friendly Reminder


It would be hard to deny the festive atmosphere around. And perhaps for this reason the National Telecommunications Commission or NTC has put out a reminder for all the busy buyers and shoppers of the Christmas season.

Received this message recently from a sender named NTC:

BABALA: HUWAG MANINIWALA SA MGA TEKS NA HUMIHINGI NG LOAD, PERA, BANK ACCOUNTS, ATBP. IPAGBIGAY ALAM KAAGAD SA NTC-OSPAC: 9213251, 92667722.

The text message looks genuine enough for me.

Anyway, I have been thinking over if I would proceed with my usual Christmas blog series (see the Navidad Talk series here; and the Season’s Talk Series here) for I think I have already said what I had to say about Christmas. I am still critical of its origins and yet I was able to find some fine reasons to join in the festivities upon rereading some books. It was at that point that I was convinced that I can proceed, after all, with a series. Which I have named now as Yule Talk.

Up next: a discussion of ‘A Christmas Carol’.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sa Gunita (para sa pag-alaala sa mga naging biktima ng Maguindanao Masaker)


Hindi kayang tuyuin ng isang taon
Ang mga dugong sa lupa’y tumapon,
Nang sa isang iglap, noong ika-23 ng Nobyembre
Inihatid ng mga bala sa kabilang buhay
Ang hininga at mga pangarap
ng mga biktima ng Maguindanao
Masaker.

Hindi kayang ikubli ng labindalawang buwan
ang alingawngaw ng pighati at pangungulila
nitong mga kaanak, mga mahal sa buhay
ng mga naging bikitma ng Maguindanao
Masaker.

Pagkat sa gunita ng baya'y
umukit ang mapagmalaking
paglalantad ng mga naghahari-harian
sa Maguindanao -
sa gatilyo at pulbura
ginawang laruan
ang mga buhay na
'di nila nilikha at
'di nila pag-aari.
Sila'y mga diyos-diyosang may
kapit (noon) sa tanyag na Palacio.

Mulat pa rin ngayon
ang diwang tinulungan nilang mag-apoy,
nang tinangka nilang ikubli ang mga katawang nilisan ng buhay
ng backhoe at lupa.

Markado na rin ang pagbalik ng mga salarin sa lupa, ang kanilang
huling hantungan
Samo lamang sa piringang Hustisya -
gawing kasingtindi (kung 'di man higit pa) ang hatol sa
mga nag-astang berdugo ng Maguindanao.

At gawing buháy ang parusa sa kanila
at maging monumento ng pag-alaala
na sa likod ng maskara ng pamamahala
ay may mga patuloy pa ring nagkukubli,
gumagawa ng kanilang munting mga kaharian.

Marami pa nga ang dapat hugasan
sa ating putikang pulitika
Ngunit sa pagtiwala at pagpursige sa Hustiya,
may mga paunang hakbang tayong matatahak;

Sa gunita
mananatili ang alaala ng trahedya;
Sa puso
mananatili ang pag-asa para sa hustisya.

* isang munting tula para sa pag-alaala sa mga naging biktima ng Maguindanao Masaker

© Francis Murillo Emralino
Nobyembre 23, 2010 | Laguna

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Beneath the Lightweight Issues: A PAGASA Story


Since the Memorandum of Understanding for a DO
ST IV-A project has just been signed recently, I think I can share a few things about it now. The media was also present during the signing so most likely, an article or two about it is now printed on a newspaper or published online. The project is called ICT-based Disaster Monitoring and Feedback System is currently in progress. The institution in which I am currently working for is part of the project, hence my presence at the place.

The event’s guest of honor was Raymund Liboro, director of the Science and Technology Information Institute of DOST. Although he suffered a sprain somewhere on his right feet, he came to grace the event.

I cannot say for sure that what he talked about was impromptu. I daresay that his cuento, as he termed it, was anchored on an update approach, that is, sharing what is currently happening inside DOST, specifically PAGASA.

He initially posed a question: were we satisfied at how PAGASA performed during the onslaught of the typhoon Juan? The audience was divided. But Sir Liboro’s shrugging of shoulders seemed to give hint to what he later told us. It was, he said, a story a few people only knows.

As with the other coming of typhoons, PAGASA was on alert again when typhoon Juan was detected on the satellite. It was a typhoon which almost looked like a boring thing to watch. He said that it seemed Juan will just tread a straight path, from Aparri, Cagayan and will exit through Laoag. That was it.

But hours before their next major weather bulletin, satellite images showed that typhoon track was changing; it was gradually going southwest. The possibility that it could cut across northern Metro Manila down to Cebu came into existence.

Holding on to the basic concept that a typhoon’s path can be predicted if low-pressures areas were mapped out, they begun figuring it out its possible new path. Using a crude ruler and through manual computations, they verified their forecasts in order to confidently map out the typhoon’s path.

And the results?

It would enter a particular beach in Isabela and cut through Mountain Province. This was their projected typhoon Juan’s path.

Anxiety reigned in the room of the monitoring team.

Will they bet their jobs for this new bulletin?

They did in the end. Eight people signed the next weather bulletin. One of them was the DOST Secretary himself. It was unprecedented. Only three people sign weather bulletins, continued Sir Liboro.

The weather bulletin was released via Twitter. And…

…the typhoon traced the path PAGASA had forecasted.

-----

Sir Liboro mentioned three things that he said were the essence of the marching order of the DOST Secretary. Just forgot to take notes of them. It was it seemed to me a story of success shared to us and a story of how well the agency is now functioning.

But in light of the present threat of Senator Miriam-Defensor Santiago to ‘massacre’ some of the cabinet members, who she said were lightweights, how can one balance between a story of success and a story of records or credentials. I am not saying that the DOST secretary is one of those Senator Santiago is referring to. She is yet to name them. But then, a success or a failure of a government of department is a success or failure as well of the administration who oversees them.

Forgive this novice observation. Having just passed the honeymoon period, the Aquino administration should really strengthen itself primarily for itself and secondly for the people that it has promised to serve. Critiques and criticisms will come hard and bitter. But in an administration that champions a tuwid na landas, proving itself is indeed a bloody endeavor.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Biodegradable Plastic Bags



I can still remember the workshop we had back in 2001 on biotechnology. The activity was facilitated by some people from the UP Open University. Later in the workshop, one facilitator spoke of the possibility of having bacteria capable of degrading materials that pollute bodies of water.

This recollection is not quite related to the picture I am now sharing here. But this goes to show that, at least, we are finding ways to wage war against the plastics. Forgive me if I find these plastic bags amazing; I admit that I am not up-to-date when it comes to environment-related innovations like these. This is the third of the activities that I admire the most. The first one is the use of paper bags in Los Baños, Laguna and the plastic-free Wednesdays in a supermarket in San Pablo City, Laguna.

Small actions all add up to create big results. These activities will definitely pay off.

See Through



In the past few months, I have been a constant reader of Sunday Inquirer, primarily because I was hoping to find in print a poem submission I made. As I was leisurely browsing through the newspaper one Sunday evening, I chanced upon this movie ad. The movie’s title was ‘Devil’ and shows an elevator. I then begun to wonder why there was a woman, apparently transparent, seen on the elevator. Looking closer, she seemed more like Tony Gonzaga!

It was quite stupid of me not to realize that Tony is printed on the other side of the paper, and since I was holding the paper in front of the light, the two images inevitably merged.

(Call this random shares.)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

An Article on the New Energy Future Essay Contest


Finally found an article in American Chronicle about the awarding ceremony of the essay contest where I recently joined. I would agree that Sec. Almendra’s message was thought-provoking. Also, I now have names for the faces of the winners I met there. Been lucky indeed to be among them, seeing the fields of studies they are pursuing. You can read the article, chance reader, by clicking on this link.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Force of the Harry Potter Series: A Conclusion


Finally, after sharing some thoughts about the Harry Potters series and three of its memorable characters, I would like to conclude by quoting a few lines not from the HP series but from the book ‘Sandman: A Book of Dreams. This is from the story written by Robert Rodi entitled ‘An Extra Smidgen of Eternity’.

One of the characters said:
“Stories are important…stories are hope. They take you out of yourself for a bit, and when you dropped back in, you’re different – you’re stronger, you’ve seen more, you’ve felt more. Stories are like spiritual currencies.”

This is entirely true for me after reading the Harry Potter stories. Other than the plots which completely overwhelmed me, I also got the feeling of being in whole new world because of the interconnected people and details weaved almost all throughout the series. The series was never short of insights about life. I can only say that its detractors are really missing a literary treasure of this age.

As of now, there is nothing to be done except to reread the books, go over the six film adaptations again, and wait for the first part of HP7.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Three Unforgivable Characters: Tom Marvolo Riddle


He is literally unforgivable.

But despite all the evil that he has exhibited in the Harry Potter series, one cannot help but admire the ways through which he obtained his stature as an evil genius.

It is a pity to note that his past somehow contributed to what he became later in life. A loveless union. A bitter life in an orphanage. The lack of people who could have shown him love and affection. If only Dumbledore discovered him much earlier. But then, if that happened there would be no archenemy for Harry Potter.

Prefect. Headboy. One of the best students Hogwarts ever had. A great Legilimens. An accomplished Occlumens. A Parselmouth. He was not a descendant of Slytherin for nothing.

And since he was intended as the antagonist of the series, I can only proceed to discuss what he has done (and what he has not done) that led to his downfall: his lack of trust to his own followers; his lack of initiative to understand that magic that first defeated him; his arrogance. And from what I observed, his extreme obsession not to conquer death but to escape it. His use of the Horcruxes and not of the Hallows (as Harry pointed out to Dumbledore in the last book) shows only that he is a coward on the inside. Perhaps he got the idea of death as a weakness in thinking that her mother was not a witch since she died when he was born. And he refused to reflect on these things and proceed to overcome this corrupted view of death. Through what? Through attempting to rule the Wizard and the Muggle Worlds.

What good did he bring to the series? Well, through him, some of the characters were able to discover more of their potential characters and used them during those tumultuous times of the Second Wizarding War. Also, courage and bravery sprouted like mushrooms among the characters. Remember Neville. And Percy’s reformation. Tonk’s insistence to join the battle. Molly’s driving force to fight. Little Colin. Many were killed in the end, but we saw that their deaths were not in vain.

I would admit that it is quite hard to write something about an enemy. Anyway, I shall wrap up my Harry Potter blog entry series soon.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Election Election!


We are to experience again one of the liveliest activities o
f the Filipinos, the election. Although it is only on the barangay level, it disturbs me to note the features that also characterize the national election campaigns.

There’s the usual kamag-anak, kumpare thing, where one reminds the voter of his or her connection to the person’s relatives. Since they are somehow related, it would not hurt to vote the candidato.

There’s also those pompous campaigns made all over the barangay: processions of vehicles with blaring horns and decorated with balloons of different colors. And oh, there are the children, programmed to chant the names of their bets. The noisier, the better chances of wining.

And there are the ever-present slogans about ‘pagbabago’ and ‘pag-asa’ plastered on every bare wall in the barangay, all of which lack the same thing: a concrete platform of what the candidates envision for their barangays and how they shall make them a reality.

It is sad that there is still that blurred dividing line between the Filipino’s concept of power and public service. The barangay election is a chance for us to vote for the people that are really capable of honing their leadership capabilities. We should not waste our votes to place into position those who would obviously use them for their own good.

So basically it’s the same with the national elections. We should be critical in choosing our future leaders. Let us hope that tomorrow’s event would be a peaceful one.

Sa Mga Nag-aasal Barbaro



Minsan ko lang ito gagawin. Minsan ko lang ilalabas ang ganitong asar at inis sa mga taong may pagka-barbaro pa rin talaga ang mga ugali.


Matagal ko nang pinapalampas ang mga jeepney drivers (partikular sa mga biyaheng San Pablo, Laguna – Calamba, Laguna) na buong tapang na naninigarilyo kahit na may mga buntis o bata silang mga sakay. Natitiis ko pang ‘wag silang sigawan sa pag-iisip na kaya pa nilang ‘tong tigilan.

Matagal ko na ring pinapalampas ang mga counter helpers at mga salesladies na parang laging dala-dala ang problema ng buong mundo at napagtripang ibuos ang mga ito sa mga potensyal na customer. Natitiis ko pang ‘wag silang sigawan sa pag-iisip na baka naman may personal lang silang mga problema at ‘di maiwasang maiparamdam ito sa ekspresyon ng kanilang mga mukha.

Natitiis ko pa rin kahit papano ang mga ‘di na halos malinis na mga pampublikong palikuran na halos masuka ka na sa pag-ihi (at pagkatapos ay kailangan mo pang magbayad ng limang piso) sa pag-iisip na baka wala lang budget talaga para sa patuloy na pag-me-maintain sa mga ‘to.

Marami, marami pa. Kung iisipin mo ang mga ito nang buong maghapon ay baka mabuwang ka lang.

Pero ang isa sa talagang hindi ko na napalampas ay ang nangyari kamakailan sa isang ATM machine. Pumila naman ako nang maayos. Tahimik na naghihintay ng pagkakataon sa ATM. Pero para basta ka na lang i–bypass ng isang bigutilyong mamang may kotse dahil sira ang kabilang ATM na parang hindi ka nag-e-exist ay para sa ‘kin ay kalabisan na. At sinundan pa ng isang babae, na sa istura naman talaga ay ‘yung may-kaya rin, na nagpakeme pang naiilang na sumingit rin. Ito, ito talaga ang hindi ko na mapapalampas.

May mga bank accounts sila, so most likely may mga trabaho ang mga ito, may mga pinag-aralan kahit papano. Pero sa pinakita nilang ito ay parang naligaw sila at inakala nilang nasa gubat pa rin sila at nag-ooperate pa rin sila sa prinsipyo ng ‘survival of the fittest’. Oo nga at BS lang ang tinapos ko at may simpleng trabaho, pero sa pagkakataon na ‘yun ay nagmuka silang mga hayop sa paningin ko, kahit pa may PhD sila.

Medyo nagsisisi rin ako at hindi ko na napigilan ang sarili at nagpahayag ng profanity sa kanila; parang ibinaba ko pa ang lebel ko sa kanila. Pero sa mga darating na pagkakataon at may mga makasalamuha pa akong takas sa gubat ay hindi ako magdadalawang isip na sabihing nasa sibilisasyon na sila.

Hindi ako perpekto, may mga kakulangang panlipunan rin ako, pero sa partikular na pagkakataon na ‘yon, alam ko sa sarili ko na nakasaksi ako ng isang pakikitungong hindi pang-tao.

(Ayos na ‘ko. Nasabi ko na ‘to. Balik English na uli ang Viole(n)t Mugs. Whew.)

Moving On…


As time pass by, I realize more and more that one would get hurt less if he or she would just accept some realities that they would never be able to twist or change to their favor.

Finding some relics of the past relives particular memories that were either happy or sad. But knowing that it would do me no good to dwell on those memories (who wants to get hurt again and again anyway?), it is better to have them shelved away, if not thrown away. Personally, I find it good to know that life gives us a mix of its spices. We get to experience bliss and feel down when things are not going well. We cannot always have all the things for ourselves.

The apex of existence is the present and future where there are still many things to be expected.

Past will always be that: past.

(Forgive me again for some random thoughts.)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Another Winning Moment


It would be a lie if I were not to say that this recently conclud
ed activity was a winning moment for me. Although I never hoped to win in this essay writing contest (indeed I did not win the first place), to be able to write something comprehensive and have it recognized is already a prize for me.

* the glass trophy (or should this be called a plaque?); find the misspelled word

* the center stage!

* waiting for the appetizer

* a group of singers serenading the attendees

This essay contest I am pertaining to is entitled “The Search for Energy Youth Leaders” with the theme of The Role of the Youth in Tackling the Challenges of the New Energy Future. It was sponsored by several energy agencies and other industry and academic partners.

Reading through my submitted essay again, I still see that my proposed solution is still a simple one. It might because of this simplicity that I was given the consolation prize, which was not in the original list of prizes. We were speculating that my essay got a high grade from Shell, and being one of the major sponsors, was given the liberty to put me in the list of winners.

* Pransisem, haggard and nervous

* the emcees – one resembled Celdran, the other, a beautiful lady

* fellow participants

* new friends from TUP, TUP, UP Diliman, and PUP

The guest of honor was Energy Secretary Jose Almendras. A part of his speech gave emphasis to the importance of considering fresh ideas from the youth and he said that the essay contest was a good venue for it. This view is of course within the context of energy situation in the country. He has a catching voice and I remember spending more time listening to his voice and observing the way he spoke.

My one regret in the event was that I was not able to see much of the place, at least on the ground floor of the Makati Shangri-la Hotel. It seems to me now that it was a tight-scheduled activity and the hall was immediately cleaned up after the awarding.

Also, I was not able to enjoy the company of my co-participants because I had to coordinate with some of the organizers in order to secure the cash prize that comes with the citation. It happened before that I missed receiving an incentive for a published work which gave me a nightmare since I needed money at that time.


The place, the food, the activity: all thumbs up.

Three Unforgivable Characters: Albus Dumbledore


Order of Merlin First Class. Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards. Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot.


Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore.

Dumbledore.

The name itself, in the Harry Potter world, exudes greatness.

Perhaps from a literary point of view, he serves as the “wise, old man”, (a concept which I learned from our Humanities I class in UPLB) who guided Harry throughout his stay at Hogwarts and laid the way for him to fully claim the title “The Boy Who Lived”.

But within the Harry Potter series, he goes beyond such mere stereotyping. I personally like the way he constructed his statements. He may be saying something fierce but he could deliver it smoothly. But at certain times he gave allowances for his emotions to show, like when the Dementors attacked Harry during a Quidditch game (in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban).

Perhaps ultimately, after reading through the whole series, two things emerge as the ones which make Dumbledore a magnificent character for me.

The first one concerns power. It was gradually revealed in the book that he was in fact destined for greatness. But through a series of unfortunate events that happened within his immediate family, his ascent was forestalled and later somehow corrupted through his association with the great wizard Grindelwald. I don’t think he has fully divulged his regret (and subsequent self-reformations, if I can call them that) for having a skewed perspective on power. But he has left the reader a quote which somehow gives us an idea of how he handled power since his sister’s death and his defeat of Grindelwald:

It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it.
(from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows)

He even advised Harry (in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) on the concept of tyranny which situated his view on Voldermort’s desire for power.

The second was the way he chose to defeat Voldemort. Of course he was not the one who finally killed him. But he opted to go down the basics, so to speak, and sought first a firmer understanding of Voldemort’s past – Tom Riddle’s past. And this he passed on to Harry. He could have been there at the end of the series were it not for a single slip when, while searching for Horcruxes, was overwhelmed by discovering one Deathly Hallow. He died eventually but not before laying-out to Harry Potter the itinerary towards achieving the knowledge (or should I say wisdom?) and skills needed to defeat the Dark Lord. This was not immediately picked up by Harry and his best friends but they later understood Dumbledore for withholding some facts and truths from Harry. It is still fitting to describe him as omniscient and omnipresent as he is still felt up to the last book. Giving Ron the Deluminator and Hermione the book ‘The Tales of Beedle the Bard’ was an act not only wise but also strategic as this further guided them towards what they initially thought of as an independent task of finding and destroying the Horcruxes.

It is particularly difficult to squeeze in a small entry everything about him. The purpose of this anyway is to share my thoughts on how I see him. Nothing would beat being able to read the books and the things about him.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Three Unforgivable Characters: Severus Snape


This has been planned earlier (see the last
part of the ‘The Force of the Harry Potter Series’ entry here). I shall now proceed with expounding on how three characters from the Harry Potter Series have become unforgettable for me (the title was thought to make this entry catchy). It would be to deprive myself of the opportunity to elaborate on these characters, which, until now, is just limited to relaying to some intimates especially to my sister how appealing these characters are.

Let me start off with the character who I thought, before finishing Harry Potter 7, was one of the worst characters in the series. That is, the worst role and actions, rivaled perhaps by Voldemort. Severus Snape turned out to be one of the most brilliant characters ever placed there. I once had an online friend (although I saw the person many times, we really did not have any formal meeting, hence the term ‘online’) to whom I had ‘light’ arguments about Snape. That person believes Snape is an ugly blot in the story; even insisting that Dobby is better. I tried to convince the person to turn to my view but failed. And so that’s a pretty long introduction already.

Reading through the whole Harry Potter series will reveal to the reader that Snape had lived through those seven long years under the constant threat of being revealed for what he really was. And yet he managed to maintain his real position – that of an aide to Dumbledore – and his important part in Voldermort’s circle in which he (once) belonged. He was an agent. Having been ‘reformed’, care of Dumbledore, he still found his way back to the fold of the Death Eaters and spy on the Dark Lord and his activities and pass them to Dumbledore.

Knowing in the end that he has in fact looked after Harry throughout the boy’s stay in Hogwarts shows how difficult it was for him to have done so. He still carried a grudge towards Harry’s father, not to mention his lost love that was Lily. It would be safe to assume that Dumbledore was aware of this but nevertheless arranged things as he has planned. Snape put up his façade of indifference towards Harry – the reincarnation of his rival – but helped him in many ways despite that. I am thinking if he ever recognized that Harry’s eyes were exactly like that of Lily.

Going back earlier, I cannot help but wonder if Snape did not get himself involved in the Dark Arts, he and Lily would have ended up being together. But then, the Sorting Hat put him in the Slytherin House, and so somehow it was his choice or destiny.

His death was rather unfortunate as Voldemort was already in desperation to kill Harry Potter. But, unfortunately for Voldemort, his constant focus towards his plans took his attention away from smaller details that could have brought better outcomes for him. I maintain the view that his downfall was the result of not minding small details in the past, like the act that Lily did to protect Harry.

He made use of his life well after his bargain with Dumbledore (just before the Potters were killed) onwards. His introductory ‘speech’ in Harry’s first potion class was particularly motivating for those who wanted to pursue potions. And, setting aside his affinity to the Dark Arts during his student days, it is good to know that he certainly had the capabilities to excel in many things. (Remember his Advanced Potions Book with its profusion of notes by Snape?)

Harry did the proper acknowledgement for Snape’s works (for him and for the others) by naming one of his sons after him (and Dumbledore). Hopefully, there is already a portrait of him hanging inside the Hogwarts Headmaster’s Office.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

On the Demise of My Books


Well, not only books but my prized magazines too that I have collected for ten years.

I cannot exactly say that this is just being materialistic. Any book lover or collector would definite be of the same feeling when they see their books get damaged or destroyed. Somehow, they are already part of you, and it pains one to see them get to the inglorious place that is the garbage bin.

* a view of half of my collections taken in 2009 (the other half I keep around my computer and makeshift bed) | in the upper photo, the magazines in the upper cabinet were rendered useless, in the middle were my physics books, most of which were gone now | the empty shelves was where the first termite attack happened

My constant problem in the house is the detestable termites. Having half of the house inherited from our forefathers, which is all made of wood, the threat has always been there. Once, in 2007, some of my books were attacked, losing precious books such as my Boy Scout book, a rare Philippine history book I got from a close friend, among other. I did not anticipate that my cleanup of the wood, which consisted primarily of raking those old and hollow woods as well as some random termites away, would result to another attack. This time more devastating.

They seemed to have migrated to more ‘wooden’ pastures. And they chose to reside in my cabinet of magazines I got from abroad and to my physics books! To my physics books! I lost almost a quarter of those precious technical books, some which were just recently acquired. I admit that I still have not read them all but to have them is a start for me to tackle or read them, perhaps in the future. My mother commented that those termites have probably taken revenge to me for displacing them earlier last month. I think I cannot fully recover from this. I junked a whole sack of books and magazines by midnight yesterday.

Anyway, as in any untoward events, life must go on and I shall attempt to rebuild my collections, if that is still possible. I am keeping a small house with someone on the foot of Mount Maquiling and I am thinking of migrating some of my books there. But for now, I need to store the surviving books and magazines more carefully.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Getting Around Pseudo Innocence


Just as a second reading of notes increases our chances of understanding more the lessons in class, a rereading of a book certainly makes you aware of a thing or tw
o that you might have overlooked when you initially read it.
That is the case with the book ‘And End to Innocence: Facing Life without Illusions’ by Sheldon Kopp, which I have briefly noted about three years ago (see the entry here). This last rereading is in fact my third time, the second being a total loss as I did it in the midst of a mountain of school works.

I realized that I appreciated more the first part and have since inculcated it in my mind. This is about a basic truth (for lack of a term that would aptly describe it) that as we grow older we tend to shroud our minds with the thinking that there are still other people that would be taking care of us. Much like babies. The book proceeds to expound on this through the personal experiences of the author, who was himself a psychotherapist and through some of his patients' and literature citations as well. And finally help – in simple ways, at least – to break through our respective pseudo innocence.

It was good to test yourself against those characters, or mentalities in some instances, that are tackled in the book.

Do you have the Pollyanna attitude – that you always think things will work out for the best eventually? This part was a fine read, especially if you have already read the story of Pollyanna. Or are you a Paranoid, thinking that no good is to come out of the world outside of yourself?

Inherent in these two is the concept of denial, posed to pan the attention away from ‘unacceptable aspects’ of their ‘inner life’.

On a bigger scale, there is this ‘communal innocence’ as termed by Kopp where individuals – knowingly or unknowingly – consent or protect their respective pseudo-innocence.

The book is a good read from a psychological viewpoint but it is also a book for the common reader. It is a first-person narration that engages you to know more about the way we insist, most of the time, on our innocence in (and about) this undeniably vicious and unfair world.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Life and Time


What I have initially thought of as a few days’ “enforced isolation” proved to be genuinely strengthening for myself. Not that I totally detested those days. Certainly a body subjected to hardships not previously experienced by the individual would naturally produce ire from within. I am yet to get used to those activities but they were nevertheless instructive to me.

For one, a deep realization and appreciation of time – and I mean each passing second that ticks in each of our watches or clocks – and the many instances we have chosen to waste them have come down to me like a burning bush experience (without, of course, the God aspect of it). I can never, as in never, be able to push back time but I can at least make reparations for the present and for the future.

I should not go on exhorting about what you’re supposed to do with life and time. But having seen and experienced (and learned) how we can actually make the choices towards more agreeable future or at least events for the present, I feel somehow justified in doing this. If you are a chance reader and was able to reach this part, you and I cannot live life long just for nothing. Write a book if you will, form a family of your own, or establish a business enterprise. For as long as it would prove genuinely meaningful to you, regardless of its weight or cover, then nothing more is to be said here.

We have read and heard much about people regretting time lost and time wasted. It would do us good to know this at an early age. I still consider myself young. And this is an announced and firm resolve to come round Time and conquer it, instead of Time conquering me.

(Hope it made sense at least. Tiredness sometimes gets in the way of making my thoughts clearer when written, or typed in this case.)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mourning the Death of the Hostages


Two days after the Quirino Grandstand (or Luneta) Hostage Crisis, we are now in mourning. Several killed foreigners. One dead culprit.

This is a limbo period, where we are now hastening to put a cap to the investigations and where blame throwing is at its height. More is to be said about the deterioration among the ranks of our police force, the alleged overdoing of the media coverage, the worsening culture of being usisero and usisera, and of the now strained ties between the Philippines and Hong Kong.

But for now, let us go down to the personal level and allow the mourning. However foreign, they are deemed innocent ones, a few ones that have unfortunately been caught in the realm of the perturbation of the mind of the hostage taker.

Death is always close, yet we all must learn to dodge it, at least for the present, and move on with our respective existences.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

On Ninoy and Death


I have not missed so far in remembering the Ninoy martyrdom every August, and in looking back, I have exhorted more or less the basic things that revolve around this day: the iron rule of Marcos, their tight fight, his assassination, and the offspring of his death. It seemed that there is no more to be known for what Ninoy has done.

But in this I was terribly wrong.

Let me relay first what led me to this novel dimension in looking at Ninoy’s martyrdom. I was recently at a small gathering in celebration of a birthday and despite feeling already the alcohol taking a hold of me, I was jerked into consciousness when that single incident happened. One of the attendees fired several rounds from his gun. And I was no more than five feet away from him. He was drunk, for that I could be certain. And he could have missed his target and fired one fatal shot to any of us there. It was the closest that I have been to death. To realize the reality of death is to enable one to prepare for it.

Ninoy was certainly beyond mere such realization. His entire being was prepared to come back, for it was here in the Philippines that the battle must be fought. He could have preached all he wanted in the United States about the ills of a martial law ruled Philippines but it would simply not have been enough. He should wage the battle on Philippine soil.

But then he was firmly aware that his enemies might possibly put a stop to him the moment he returned. And perhaps the thought of death have occupied his mind prior to his trip back. Yes, he wore a bullet-proof vest but he could have done away with it. He has come into grips with death and was, in fact, ready for it already. He could have predicted his own death.

[And personally, the concept of choice dominates this theme of the day. We may come to understand deeper the reality of death. But it still up to us to chart our course towards it: whether we shall choose to have a meaningful death or not. After all, this very existence is a pursuit for the meaning, the purpose of our lives.]

Ninoy shall live in the hearts of those post-EDSA I children who know about the nightmare of the past where they were conceived.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Surprise


My idling last night inside a 7-11 store gave me one big surprise when I found my poems printed on the last pages of a Philippines Graphic Magazine. It turned out that I am already a week late as it was an August 9 issue (Vol. 21 No. 10). The copy I asked was promptly sent out as a souvenir (read: show-off).

It never fails to give me that uplifting feeling whenever I see a work get printed. That is already a prize for me. Cheers!

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Force of the Harry Potter Series


Ardent followers of the Harry Potter series have probably devoured already the seven books and the six film adaptations of the first six books. What remains to be seen now is the two-part movie for ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’.


I eventually fell for this Harry Potter series. Nine years ago the first movie was released and was met with indignation on the part of some religious groups who deemed it a poison to the minds of the young people. Briefly lost in this wave of confusion as to how to deal with it, I later turned into it with an open mind. This is a product of a creative mind and personally, I only delved into it for the story’s richness and intensity, rather than those issues being wrapped around the Harry Potter series. I leave the religious moralists to their brooding. There are many things in the series that are being missed out by those who hold contempt for it.

For one, the bulk of the story is something I can call compact. I am no literary critic, but what has been described as ‘exposition’ technique, which has been used in some parts of the series was indeed instrumental in giving it a compact feel. As one progress in reading the books, pieces of details unexplained in a previous book are gradually given light in the next, or several clues are laid out as to what lies ahead. After reading the seven books, I was able to appreciate those widely distributed little details, details that made the series a fine read.

Although the series is set in JK Rowling’s home country some of the characters, scenes, and developments take universal forms. The imperfection of Harry, his woes and triumphs, are some of the things that a teenage reader can readily relate to. Even the side of romance is given gradual treatment in the book (as in the case of Harry, he eventually found his love in the person of Ginny who was earlier a semi-obscure character in the series).

The concept of family is also given notice although in many different forms: the lost family of Harry Potter, the comic family of the Dursleys, the seeming lonely past of Severus Snape’s family, the tumultuous family life of Albus Dumbledore, the wizard blood-line ‘purists’ like the Malfoys, the colorful and adventurous lives of the Weasley family, and the many turns and tales of the ancestry and eventual family of Tom Marvolo Riddle.

Also in many instances, a keen reader would be able to get a glimpse, through the series, the form of education they have in their country, the ups and downs of the students, and the likely characters of their educators.

As a whole, the series is essentially a story of a boy wizard trying to learn about his lost family under the shadow of a dark wizard seeking dominance over the wizard and non-wizard world. There is this thrill in reading about the characters with different views towards power and their different motivations for wanting or not wanting it. I cannot say that it can be conveniently placed under the label of a ‘fairy tale thing’, where good is expected to triumph in the end. The characters possess weaknesses and strengths and we see towards the end of the story that the main antagonist’s ultimate downfall was caused by his failure to think about some small details but decidedly important ones. Voldemort essentially prepared his plans for his ascension in power in the course of the seven books only to prepare at the same time his demise.

Despite that, his character is an interesting study, together with two other characters that I have come to appreciate more than the other character in the series. I shall be sharing about them later.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Post-SONA: The ‘Rice’ Musings


Everyone has probably heard all the talks about the recently delivered State of the Nation Address of President Noynoy Aquino. There is so much to think and ask about what the address contained, and I personally desire to embark on a piece-by-piece study of what he said. I am not a professional though; I’m not even in the field of politics and economics. But the mere fact that we are, in small or large ways, concerned with the way things go in the government and the society, we must at least make an effort to participate even in small discussions. This is the path that I chose, to rant about things in my blog, and I hope to improve on them as years go by.

Anyway, I was inevitably led back to my ‘Grain Headache’ Series in 2008 (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4) as I read through the SONA transcripts. To quote from the text:

Dumako naman po tayo sa pondo ng NFA.

Noong 2004: 117,000 metric tons ang pagkukulang ng supply ng Pilipinas. Ang binili nila, 900,000 metric tons. Kahit ulitin mo pa ng mahigit pitong beses ang pagkukulang, sobra pa rin ang binili nila.

Noong 2007: 589,000 metric tons ang pagkukulang ng supply sa Pilipinas. Ang binili nila, 1.827 million metric tons. Kahit ulitin mo pa ng mahigit tatlong beses ang pagkukulang, sobra na naman ang binili nila.

Ang masakit nito, dahil sobra-sobra ang binibili nila taun-taon, nabubulok lang pala sa mga kamalig ang bigas, kagaya ng nangyari noong 2008.

Hindi po ba krimen ito, na hinahayaan nilang mabulok ang bigas, sa kabila ng apat na milyong Pilipinong hindi kumakain ng tatlong beses sa isang araw?

Ang resulta nito, umabot na sa 171.6 billion pesos ang utang ng NFA noong Mayo ng taong ito.


I give credit to those intelligent workers at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) who have relayed their views that it is not the crisis that is the big deal, but the way the population booms exponentially in the country. Well then, so there was really shortage of rice in those years mentioned, noting that it was years under the regime of then President Gloria-Arroyo. Connecting it to year 2008 when I blogged about the country’s rice crisis, was it possible that the crisis that was amplified in the news in 2008 was the result of these over-purchase? that what was suppose to be consumed (and the supposed buffer stocks) was already spoiled by 2008? To quote from the last entry on the series: “…from him [the then DA secretary] I learned that we are in fact producing more rice than the foremost rice exporter Thailand…” Whether the over-purchase was local or foreign defies simple logic – what was the purpose of the overspending?

Indeed there is much to be explained and probed about the ‘rice situation’ in the country. In as much as we want to at least sweep the government of corruption, we shall inevitably crash into the monsters of our past. We will see in the coming months how the government will fare in this endeavor.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

KAPWA sa UPLB UPCAT Review 2010 Aftermath and other Musings

Even in this little event of ours, it showed us that there are still individuals who look up to the University of the Philippines as prestigious and to a certain extent, hard-to-get. The existence of various review centers and sessions (prior to the holding of the annual UPCAT) stands evidence to this. Indeed obtaining a slot in UP is an honor already. And thus despite what turned out to be a not-so-conducive place (as was said by the attendees) more than a hundred students trekked to our venue to attend our annual review.

I shall not put myself outside the blames that might have arisen from the event; we all share the work, both residents and alumni alike. Perhaps over the years, we get to learn new things that we incorporate for the next holding of the event. If there have been misses in the past activities, there have certainly been hits (and innovations) which I did not see in the previous reviews.

* reviewers during our past review; photo taken by then Miss Jackieline Reogo

My part in the review was particularly harrowing and it was already a wake-up call for me to improve and make the best out of the degree that I pursued in college. The attendees have all the right to comment on the overall turnout of the review. But they have certainly no right to dictate what are to done or not to be done on the activity.

I particularly detest the comments of the attendees of Canossa College of San Pablo City. They should have set their minds that it was supposed to be a city-wide review and they could not hope to get all the comfort and convenience that they are offered from their walled up school. They are wishing instead that the review should have been held in Canossa.

Canossa? Hello? Baka hindi n’yo alam kung gaano kahirap noong nakaraan na imbitahan kayo sa review at contest! It was not really compulsory; you can ignore our review for all I know. But to attend and just whine, that is another story. You may not recall that I was behind your seating places, and I was hearing how you were struggling to get the discussions understood; discussions which the past attendees have found interesting and fun.

Our review is not a place for entertainment and circus. They could have asked for the review to be held in a comedy bar. We were there to help out our fellow students get in UP, as we have done for past years already. I cannot guarantee the “perfect-ness” of our activity, but we do hope that as we have been through the horrors of being a student there, we should be able to give them insights on how to deal with the exam.

In any case, the review shall still be an annual event. It’s just that I am too sensitive with regards to the way they see the activity that the resident members have painstakingly prepared. To them, I extend my warmest greetings for a job well done. To Sir Bryan Hernandez, Sir Mark Lester Chico, Sir Arnold Sinen, and Jun and Arjay (KAPWA Alumni) for their presence, I also send out my thanks. Special thanks to Sir Ike Prudenet who have always shown the enthusiasm in serving the aspiring UP students of San Pablo City.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Towards Achieving the ‘Millennium Development Goals’

I have recently attended a conference in which the theme concerns the Millennium Development Goals or MDGs. It was with shame that I realized that I am not aware of this and more shame when I failed to follow the discussions that occurred during the two-day conference.


But as to these goals, I believe they are generally comprehensible. I am thus taking the liberty of putting them down here:

1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
2. Achieve universal primary education
3. Promote gender equality and empower women
4. Reduce Child Mortality Rate
5. Improve maternal health
6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
7. Ensure environmental sustainability
8. Develop a global partnership for development

In many advocacies that originated from international meetings, it is, of course, especially important to look at them in light of our own country’s situation. That was the goal of the conference. Despite the “hieroglyphic” impact of the talks to me, the keynote address of Professor Jaime Z. Galvez Tan (we were intrigued by this seeming two surnames) was particularly catchy as he enumerated a number of regions and provinces in the country that are least likely to achieve the MDGs, which are suppose to be achieved by 2015. The regions include Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, MiMaRoPa - Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan, Eastern Visayas - Samar, Biliran, Leyte, Bicol Region, and Zamboanga Peninsula. The provinces, on the other hand, include Biliran, Antique, Zamboanga Sibugay, Abra, Masbate, Sultan Kudarat, Northern Samar, and Basilan.

Although the details for naming these escaped me, the numbers themselves are particularly disappointing. I can only point out, among many other factors that were discussed there, the presence of insurgencies, and perhaps local violence, that hinder the advance towards achieving the goals in these regions and provinces. But that of course is my personal opinion only. And beyond the academy that hosted the conference, it is apparent that several (government) agencies should collaborate in order to at least make these goals achievable ones in those mentioned places in the country. I don’t how they shall be able to do it, but with a strong will – be it political or not – a span of five years, I daresay, would be a sizable time period to make them feasible in those places. To a lay spectator like me, I can only wish for the best, and hopefully be able to participate in achieving them even in small ways.

* the photo is a screenshot of the presentation of Dr. Galvez Tan

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Kamusta ang Large Classes?

We, present and former UP students, may have been familiar with a preview of large classes with the lectures that we had for Stat 1, Chem 15, or Physics 81, just to name a few. Now that the shadow of Large Classes that once loomed over the university has already been entrenched in the campus since the start of semester, one cannot help but wonder how this policy is faring so far.

And so I am inviting you, dear UP student (both old and new), to share in here your experiences in having these large classes of yours, or for those who have graduated already before it was implemented, the differences that it could possible give and the possible implications. In short, this would be a survey of some sort in order to have a collective idea – however small it might be – on the good (or not so good) things that it has brought to the university.

Kamusta nga ba ang Large Classes?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Co-Operation

Our new president has been sworn in. The messages of high hopes now reach their termination. It’s going to be the real work for him now.

But instead of nagging right here and now about our complaints for and about the government (which again, I say, is just starting now), we might as well like into ourselves, the citizens, and see what we can do to make this government function effectively.
As I have said earlier, it seems to me that is a contractual activity of some sort. The leaders do their necessary responsibilities but we are not hardcore guards that are placed only to criticize when a wrong move is detected. On our part, we should complete the functionality of the law on the other end by giving it respect. We could start out by obeying the simplest of rules – not littering on public places, no spitting on roads and buildings, obeying roads rules, to name a few. We could never complain about the government’s inability to effect changes towards health and environment if we ourselves put these two things into the bins of neglect.

On a higher plane, we could do well to pay the necessary taxes where they are due. At this start, let us give this leadership a shot and help it having the necessary resources to make its agencies fully functioning. Criticisms and suggestions will always be welcome, I suppose. But in lacking actions on our part for the things we complain of, we will all just look like noise-emitting humans, without contributing anything good.

In short, the government leads, we, in turn, make the proper adherence to the laws and the Constitution, and act against if (and only if) there would a gaping handicap that would emerge I the future and which would be inimical to the people.

We have put Noynoy it this pedestal. We should do well if we help his administration. If not, it would only look like that we are a bunch of foolish voters, electing someone and destroying him later on. We facilitate, we help. For beyond that ideal (although I am more than reluctant to use this term) and working democracy, we all very well know what lies ahead of us – the rise of the red flag. But without making things a little morbid, let us make this democracy work for our good, at least for now.