Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Remembering Friendster

Today marks the end of the phenomenon called Friendster. It was one of the few social networking sites which started in the early twenty-first century that was able to survive and thrive despite the unpredictable and ever-changing world of the internet.

It was where we first encountered those treasured testimonials and addictive bulletins. Yes, the bulletins. There were those times when we so enjoyed reposting bulletins in which we answered questions like favorite colors, habits, among other. And what about the profile views? Weren’t we so excited then to know who viewed our profiles? Those were the days, those were the times.

But beyond that, I think it was in Friendster that we got to know new friends, made or broke relationships, expressed our thoughts through blogs, and communicated with people both stranger and no stranger.

Indeed times a-changing and Friendster has to move on too. This is the last day when we could back up those precious photos meticulously given with captions, long list of messages, and those precious testimonials.

The month of May ends together with Friendster but there is a lot to look forward to in June.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Small Wonders

Life is indeed fuelled by small wonders. No amount of grandiose words can fully describe my delight in hearing a child utter his first words. Those words may seem too simple for some but they comprise a world already for those who delight in the child. The chaos of the present world fades into nothingness as you hear the little tongue move and play with the formative syllables. I am convinced more and more each day that you cannot celebrate life without learning first to appreciate a child.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Maggi Mishap

I grew up in the period when the dominant instant noodles were Payless and Maggi. Payless already made product update by producing its Pancit Shanghai. Maggi instant noodles, on the other hand, was only making a comeback. Unfortunately Maggi noodles, particularly beef and chicken flavors, were said to be compromised because of salmonella. What you’ll read below is the statement of Nestle Philippines regarding their voluntary recall. This particular statement was also published in Manila Bulletin’s May 15, 2011 issue, page 14.

Nestlé Philippines, Inc. has voluntarily recalled all MAGGI Rich Mami Noodles Beef & Chicken Flavors from stores nationwide, following a routine quality test which found traces of salmonella in two batches of MAGGI Rich Mami Noodles Beef Flavor.

The product recall is a precautionary measure being taken to ensure the safety and quality of our products and in the interests of our consumers, which we regard as of paramount importance.

We have immediately initiated an extensive investigation to determine the cause of this contamination, and initial findings suggest flavoring ingredients as the cause. MAGGI Rich Mami Noodles come with flavoring in sachet, which is used to enhance the noodle's flavor.

We have stopped production of all MAGGI Rich Mami Noodles pending the completion of the investigation.
The quality and safety of our products are non-negotiable priorities for us, and it is in this regard that we have decided to do a complete voluntary recall of all MAGGI Rich Mami Noodles, even outside those of the affected batches, for thorough product evaluation and testing.

We have not received any consumer concerns related to the consumption of MAGGI Rich Mami Noodles. The product is safe to eat if the cooking instructions are followed.

Consumers who have purchased MAGGI Rich Mami Noodles are requested to contact the Nestlé hotline at 8980061 (for Metro Manila) and 1-800-100-637853 (toll-free for provincial areas). Our hotlines are open 24 hours a day, from Mondays to Sundays. The concerned batches have the lot codes 11020598A2 and 11030598A1. The lot code numbers are found at the back of the product pack, between the "Best Before" date and the ingredients list.

See the actual statement from the Nestle Philippines website here:

For your information, dear reader.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Words to those Cowards

I’ve never been into bitter, physical fights before despite the fact that I could easily lose my temper. But then as one grows older there comes certain instances when direct confrontations are already imperative. And that is my view as I write this right now.

The attack in our house last night was a cowardly act of some unknown people who either have no concrete thing in their heads or are just plain drug addicts. As far I know I don’t have any domestic enemies who would resort to such antics. This is vandalism at its lowest, most primordial form – attacking for no apparent reasons. This thing has happened many times already; once our bath towel was deliberately burned outside, our back window opened and vandalized, and our front door defaced.

I am quite sure that those savages will not be able to read this, but I am raising a challenge that if anyone has to settle any issue with me, it is better to lay the issue down in front of me and settle it face-to-face. I cannot afford to fight cowards who can only attack when everyone else is asleep. And certainly I do not want to live among savages. I detest living there in the past years. To live with them any longer is to condone their savagery and recognize their savage nature.

Does this call for a house transfer? I say yes. Definitely. We deserve a more human living. Enough of all these.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Escaping the Country of the Blind

I first encountered the short story The Country of the Blind in some of the books I read before. Also, I have always heard of the statement: “In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.” A sultry and sleepless night compelled me to pull out my book containing several short stories, one of which is this classic work of H.G. Wells. The “The Country of the Blind” could stand well alongside Mr. Well’s other works such as “The Time Machine”, among others. But this particular short story crosses almost to the realms of speculative fiction.

The story is about a man named Nunez sent into this obscure valley by accident (or perhaps by divine providence) and encountered a community composed primarily of blind people. There was a mutual repulsion between Nunez and the blind people there but both responded to that: Nunez attempted to rule over the people while the people sought to deliver Nunez from his insanity (caused primarily by his ability to see).

Forced to live among them to obtain food, Nunez worked like the blind people. But his stay was complicated by love (by love by sight) to a blind lady. To win her, he had to be “neutralized”, to be “cured” from his disease of sight. In the end, as he marveled at the beautiful scenery he was witnessing, he decided to escape back to his world, to his reality.

There is something dark in the story, particularly in that possibility of creating a world within our world. The life of those blind people is their religion, their faith. They have made their lives (which to an outsider are but weird ones) their reality.

I think the story expounded on that sleeping capability within each person to re-imagine a thing that humans treat as commonplace and fashion it according to their will. But how does one sustain this re-imagination is a standing question.

In the end, I think the story subscribes to that thought (perhaps a dream?) that has permeated human thinking and that is the creation of a utopian world. The country of the blind is a utopian country for it contains all the possible needs of the people there in exchange for one thing – their power of sight (and I use the term power here intentionally). Would you dare live in such a country?

But after all, these are just musings by a simple blogger like me. This is not an exhaustive nor a comprehensive study or analysis of the story.

Photo credit: mobiletopsoft.com

[The book I read: “The Country of the Blind” by H.G. Wells, in Turning Point: Fourteen Great Tales of Daring and Decision, Edited by George Bennett, pp. 192-218, Published by Dell Publishing Co., Inc., 1965.]

Monday, May 9, 2011

Meet Jenny Finn, the Doom Messiah

It was in December 2009 when I was inducted into the world of comics and comic books. Reading through them (most especially graphic novels) has always been a pleasure. Just recently, I was able to obtain a work of Mike Mignola (the creator of Hellboy) – Jenny Finn: the Doom Messiah; this is actually a collaboration between Mignola and Troy Nixey.

Set in Victorian London, the story employs the concept of Doom and expounds on the manner it was received by the people at that time. Dark, that’s how I can describe the story. I am not yet aware if there is already a full colored version of the story but the few colored pages I saw online were superb. I foresee the full colored version to be of gloomy atmosphere which matches the storyline well.

Finding Jenny Finn however was a surprise to me, having written a poem which resembles some of her characters. I could not help but recall the concept of the collective unconscious put forward by Carl Jung. Consider my naïve wondering: is it possible that we all have that integral notion of the doom, of our doom, of our end?

But before we get too analytical psychological and philosophical here, I’ll say that you definitely have to meet Jenny Finn.

Writers: Mike Mignola and Troy Nixey | Artists: Troy Nixey (Chapters 1-3), Farel Dalrymple (Chapter 4) | Letterer: Pat Brosseau (Chapters 1-2), Ed Dukeshire (Chapters 3-4) | Published by Boom! Studios (www.boom-studios.com), 2008.

[Buy the book at Amazon. com]

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Land of the Demolished: Parian, Calamba City

Here are some of the photos I took from inside a bus when it passed by Brgy. Parian, Calamba City, Laguna. What you see is the place where a large-scale demolition happened (ironically on April 27, 2011, the same day as the declared 10th Cityhood Anniversary of Calamba City).

I was not able to obtain any news article regarding the incident, only a press release in a blog site and a plea to GMA Network to look into the incident (which was voiced out through Wikipedia).

The press release from the blog site I mentioned said that this particular land is owned by the Lazaros (from the family of former Governor Teresita “Ningning” Lazaro). If this is indeed true, it’s somewhat awkward, more like a political maneuver in fact, given that they no longer hold the office of the governor. What makes it more awkward is that it happened on a feast day, supposedly a day of celebration.

One cannot help but think (if treated in a larger context) that it is part of weeding out those places (or sights perhaps?) which would hamper the boom of Calamba City with regards to its economic development. I don’t think “being urbanized” is the proper term; “being metropolitized” is a more descriptive term.

We are bound to see more of these incidents and drama in the coming years in Calamba City.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Blessed Pope John Paul II: A Past Revisited

The start of May is described by a number of events both here and abroad. There’s the Labor Day, with the protesters rallying for the 125-peso wage hike which was not granted by the government. Then there’s the Agua de Mayo, signaling the rainy season (hopefully, given the intense heat of the last weeks of April) and the commencement of the Flores de Mayo (which would mean pag-aalay in the afternoons, libot in the early evenings, and the santacruzan on the latter part of the month).

A more religion-related commemoration is the Divine Mercy Sunday, designated by then Pope John Paul II as the first Sunday after Easter Sunday. What makes this year’s Divine Mercy Sunday more special and memorable (at least to the Catholic devout) is the beatification of Pope John Paul II. He is now officially Blessed Pope John Paul II.

On this first day of May, we opted to travel to some sites in Manila landing later on a book sale stall. There I was again, rummaging through some sale books. On one book I found a piece of parchment with a picture of the late Pope along with some message and his signature.

The message read: “May the Apostolic Blessing, which I impart to everyone with great affection, be a pledge of my universal favor and the reconciliation of hearts.”

I forgot about the book (maybe something related to his last visit to the country) but nevertheless took the parchment as a souvenir.

But that bit of parchment recalled to my mind an article I read regarding the Pope and Vatican (“Pedophiles and Popes: Doing the Vatican Shuffle” by Michael Parenti, Z Magazine July / August 2010 pp.14-16). This concerns the alleged tendency of the Church (says the article) to defend and even cover up for the child abuses of some of the Church’s priests. I tried to do an online search and I read a result of an investigation in a country in which more than four thousand cases were recorded within a five-decade period (52 years actually). And note that this is just for one country. The article proceeded to discuss other cases in other countries where the general trend is to pass the case or incident to Vatican, thereby bypassing criminal cases that may have been filed against the erring clergies.

I recall this because it was said that it was from the Vatican that the stance to protect its clergies emanated, especially during the time of Blessed Pope John Paul II. Perhaps it is now time to set this issue straight, at least within the Roman Catholic world. This aspect certainty mars an otherwise pristine image of the Blessed Pope.

But beyond this, one cannot help but wonder why the Church cares so much for the yet unborn and not so much for those little ones who have been abused. There is still no unity with regards to the view of the Church on certain matters (on life as in this case). But then, who am I to judge when I am not even a follower? But it’s kind of a turn-off when you see a group of people, supposedly of one belief, speak different tongues (read: views and opinions).

I believe they have set their feet on the wrong stones when they fought against the RH Bill. Hopefully, I could expand on this later.