Thursday, June 25, 2009

I Got My Vice But This One Appalled Me

Behind every great fortune lies a great crime- Honoré de Balzac

I smoke. Before, I used up two packs of cigarette a day, but since I got married, I gradually decreased my intake. At present, I consume six or seven sticks or a pack in 3 days. With a little more determination, maybe someday I’ll quit.

What ever unpleasant habit I got, may it be detrimental to my health, no one is to blame but myself. It’s a matter of personal choice really. But what got my attention and upset me is this. It doesn’t matter if these officials backed down. The point was they tried to implement a sociopathic policy.

Fact: China has 350 million smokers. Each year about one million die from smoking-related diseases.

I wonder what kind of moral values these government officials adhere to by forcing government employees to a habit in order to save an economy. Do they think its “patriotic” or perhaps “nationalistic” to get smoke-related diseases in exchange for floating a sinking industry? Are Chinese lives so cheap that they are willing to sacrifice it recklessly in favor of some Tai-pan to recover his investment? If they can do these dastardly acts to their own people, how much more when it comes to non-Chinese consumers?

Recently, we heard of Chinese products that are harmful to humans. From lead on toys to melamine in milk, not to mention those that got over-looked because of sheer volumes dumped cheap to other countries. I don’t mind if markets are flooded with imitation products from that country. I don’t mind if it wantonly disregards copy-right laws. I don’t mind if it’s lacking in quality, as long as it was made, keeping in mind, humans are its end user. It may be cheap, a much sought after deal in this trying times. But in the long run, at what price are we going to pay for patronizing it? I think adding a few riyals to buy a more decent good is much cheaper than a hospital bill or worst a 4x6 lot in a memorial park.

I once admired China for its meteoric rise as an economic giant. But behind its great riches lies, God only knows, insurmountable violation of human rights, unfair labor practices, manipulative one-sided loan bargaining and in the case of Darfur, lives and property lost, all in the name of “percentage return of investment”.

From now on, I won’t buy consumable goods from that country. I may not make a difference or cause any dent on its economic infrastructure… but it’s a start.

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P.S. – I’d like to thanks Pen for pointing out this article to me.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

To All Fathers (Including Me)

“Any fool can have a child. That doesn't make you a father. It's the courage to raise a child that makes you a father." – Barack Obama

A man who has begotten a child. That is the definition of "father" according to Merriam-Webster. But does it stop there? Is that the only function of the male specie? To sow his seed, for some in reckless abandonment, and his purpose in the cycle of life is done? Maybe, that holds true with respect to faunas at a lower tier of the food chain. But I disagree when it comes to us, humans.

In the old days we are content with the notion that man’s responsibility is to put food on the table. As long as stomachs are full, man has done his task and is free to indulge on other forms of diversion. But in a modern world we live in, where men and women are on equal footing, where both parents (in most unit) equally share in the family expenses, it is but just right that men should also take half of the domestic chores, especially when it comes to raising offspring.

I did my part and proud of it. It never occurred to me that a portion of my manliness was taken away. I have my share in wiping off my daughter’s ahh-ahh, cleaning her butt of pooh-pooh and mopping her wee-wee. Not to mention the lack of sleep, waking up in the middle of the night to feed her when she was a baby. I don't look at it as my responsibility, but rather, I want to experience what its like to be a father.

I want to raise her in a way I deem right. Fill her with love without spoiling. Educate her in the best way I could afford. Guide her but letting her choose her own destiny. Helping her realize her own dream. In my capacity, that’s the only legacy I could give and left behind.

When I’m gone, I want to be remembered, not as the man who begotten her, but as a parent whose sacrifices were willingly made in order for her to be where she wants to be. Intact recollection of struggles and happy times we spent together, so she'll have something to reminiscence, to use as guidelines and to share to her own children. I want to be remembered as a father.

Happy Father’s Day everyone.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Going Back Home (Part 4)

The next day, they sent us off at the airport for our flight home. Boracay was not supposed to be in our agenda. You see, I let my wife chose which place we’re going to visit, Cebu or Boracay? Since we’ve been to Boracay a lot of times, she opted for Cebu. But as our plane landed in Caticlan, nagkayaya-an bigla. So we spent an overnight in Boracay.

Boracay
A lot of things have change since I last came here (about 6 years ago). They already have an airport and seaport in Caticlan and the boats going to Boracay are well organized. There’s only one disembarking/embarking point in the island and you have to rent a tricycle (P100.00 fee) to go to the resorts. These island of 3 barangays have blossomed into a semblance of a town and I won’t be surprised if someday it will be declared a town or perhaps even a city, just like Olongapo. By the way, if your in the town proper and needed a ride, don’t take tricycles parking in some areas. Instead, flag down those that are plying along the road. Taking tricycles on “standby” is equivalent to renting it. It will cost you P100 while those that you flag downed only cost P7 per person. I got this tip from the receptionist of the hotel we checked-in to.

Inns and hotel room fees varies, depending on the amenities and its proximity from the beach. Price ranges from P1500 for a room with a fan to P140000 per night for a suite complete with amenities you could think of, including a swimming pool and jacuzzi (it sound silly, what the hell do you need a pool or a jacuzzi for in Boracay?). We got ours for P2500, discounted to P2000, because my wife’s nephew’s friend knows the guy who runs the place. It includes an AC, a big flat TV screen which we never use, a ref and a fancy bathroom.

After we checked-in and settled down, we immediately went to the beach to look for a place to have dinner. The place is like a big, long stripped of carnival along the seashore. A lot of “happenings” going on everywhere you go. A nice candle light dinner with jazz music here, a live band performing there, disco music blaring somewhere else. Kulang na lang may kumaka-in ng apoy at buhay na manok at kumpleto na ang circus.

From our vantage point, this is what Boracay looks like after sun down.

Ayaw pa-awat ni Bea. She likes to play on the sand even as the night grows older. We have to literally drag her away to get some rest so will have more stamina in the morning.

Seven o’clock in the morning, and we're already in the waters.

My wife didn’t wear her bathing suit. She got intimidated by those skinny girls roaming around wearing nothing but teeny weenie bikinis. I took some pictures (secretly of course) but I won’t post it here. Wholesome ‘tong blog ko no!

Boracay in daytime is just as active as I witnessed last night. Besides the fancy restos and fastfoods, souvenir shops are open as well and hawkers plying their trade everywhere. You want fake watches and fake pearl necklaces? They got it. You want a partial or whole body massage? They’ll rub it. You want real tattoos or fake ones (henna)? They’ll paint it. You want your hair braided like Carmelo Anthony? You got it. You want your hair to look like a floor mop? They’ll gladly do it for you. You want all kind of souvenir, from t-shirts to little things you stick on your refrigerator door? They have a whole bunch of it.

If you want excitement, they have all kind of rides, from jet ski, para-gliding, sailing, banana rides and even a helicopter ride around the island. The only ride we took is a tourist bus going homeward bound before sunset.

Manila
We spent four days in Manila prior to our flight back here. We do this every year to buy the thinks we need, especially Bea’s clothing. You see, although Riyadh got a lot of malls, your choices, particularly in clothes, are limited, unlike malls in the Philippines where you can find all you need and different selection to choose from.

But of course we also treat our daughter by going to Ocean Park and Star City. I won’t post any pictures because everybody knows where it is. Besides, Ocean Park is not as fancy as advertised in TFC. The only place Bea did enjoy was in Star City. Not the rides but the playground where other children her age play.

So, there you are folks, a blow-by-blow account of our vacation. Will resume our regular programming in my next post.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Responsableng Panunulat: Isang Pagsusuri

Walang hanganan ang takbo ng isipan kung ang sinusulat ay nobela o may temang pantasya. Ito ay nakapaloob sa kategoryang kathang-isip. Ngunit pag ang tema ay komentaryong pang lipunan (social commentary), may kaakibat itong responsabilidad at dapat maging maingat sa pagsulat. Dito ang obserbasyon at kongklusyon ay dapat sinasaliksik at pinag-iisipan. Dahil ang nakasalalay ay pangyayaring apektado ang alin mang tinutukoy na sektor ng lipunan at posibling gawing batayan sa pag buo ng isang opinyon. Ang kwentong pinamagatang Tsokolate ay gawin nating halimbawa para malinaw ang ating pagtatalakay.

Paglalahat (Generalizing)
Tama ang pangungusap na “Ang lahing Negroid ay kulot ang buhok, maitim ang balat at makapal ang labi.”. Ngunit ang diwa sa pangungusap na “Ang Africano ay kulot ang buhok, maitim ang balat at makapal ang labi” ay mali. Dahil karamihan sa nakatira sa hilagang bahagi ng Africa ay mapuputi ang kutis at hindi kulot ang buhok.

Dito madalas nagkakamali ang manunulat, lalo na’t kung ang kaalaman sa tinatalakay ay hindi lubos o kapiranggot lamang. Sa ating halimbawa;

“Isa lang (ang) dahilan kung bakit nagpapaalipin sa ibang lahi ang mga Pinoy. PERA.”
Iwasang gumamit ng mga katagang pangkalahatan kung ang tinutukoy ay iilang tao lamang. Sa pangungusap na ito, kasama ang may akda sa nagpapaalipin sa ibang lahi at mukhang pera.

“Ipinapanalangin kasi ng isang OFW na tumaas nang tumaas nang tumaas ang halaga ng dolyar laban sa piso.”
Merong ilang kababayan na may ganitong pag-uugali, ngunit ang karamihan ay hindi. Kahit gumamit ang may-akda ng pang-uring “isang”, umani pa rin ng batikos dahil binanggit nya ang katagang "OFW" - ang pangkalahatang tawag sa mga Pilipinong nagta-trabaho sa labas ng Pilipinas.

Eksaherasyon (Hyperbole)
Ang eksaherasyon ay ginagamit para makakuha ng reaksyong emosyonal. Kadalasan ang layunin ng may akda ay magpatawa at maturingang masiste (witty). Ngunit sa mga halimbawang ito;

“Gustong-gusto kasing maging Victoria’s Secret ang ginagamit na pabango ng asawa na dati’y White Flower lamang.”

Layuning magpatawa ang may-akda kapalit ng pagsangkalan at pag-alipusta sa pamilya ng tinutukoy.

“Nagkasya kasi tayo sa mga second choice dahil ang mga de-kalibre, naroon at kasalukuyang minumura ng amo kapalit ng dolyar. Bayani ka bang tatawagin kung humahalik ka naman sa paa ng mga dayuhan?”

Mali. Dahil hindi lamang nilahat ng may-akda ang “mga de-kalibre”, gumamit pa ng “hyperbolic statement” na “minumura ng amo kapalit ng dolyar” at “humahalik ka naman sa paa ng mga dayuhan”. Imbis na matuwa o humanga ay nainsulto ang mga OFW, dahil sa pagmamalabis at hindi makatotohanang pagkakalarawan ng kanilang pagtatrabaho sa ibang bansa.

Pagsasalungatan (Contradiction)
Ang opinyon ng isang manunulat ay dapat ayon o kaalinsunod sa iba nya pang opinyon.

“Ikakatwiran na walang pag-asa dito. Mahirap ang buhay dito. O talagang mahilig lang ang iba sa “piso tamang barko”. Meron din naman dito. Kaya lang, ang mga bagay na narito, ayaw naman natin. Para lang din sinabing “walang akong magawa”. Marami ka naman pwedeng gawin. Kaya lang, itong mga bagay na available na gagawin mo, ayaw mong gawin, tinatamad kang gawin o may iba kang gustong gawin.”

“Ang problema, kapag mataas ang halaga ng dolyar, mababa ang halaga ng piso. At kapag mababa ang halaga ng piso, ang ibig sabihin, mababa rin ang ekonomiya ng bansa. At kapag mababa ang ekonomiya ng bansa, mataas ang mga pangunahing bilihin at siyempre pang apektado ang mga karaniwang manggagawa na sumusuweldo ng mababa dito sa Pilipinas.”

Ang dalawang talatang ito ay magkasalungat. Sa una, pinapangaralan ng may-akda ang mga taong nangingibang bansa. Subalit sa ikalawang talata, alam nya rin pala ang dahilan ng kanilang pag-alis. Walang pinag-iba ito sa tanong mo, sagot mo.

Respeto at Opinyon
Ang opinyon ng isang tao ay dapat ginagalang. Subalit ang pag buo ng isang opinyon ay dapat may sinasandigang ebedensiya ng katotohanan. Dahil ang isang opinyon na walang basehan ay masasabing kathang-isip lamang at makakaranas ng supalpal sa mapagtantong mambabasa.

Ang respeto ay ma-ihahalintulad sa salubongang daan. Para maka-iwas matikman ang maaanghang na salita, siguradohing ang sinusulat ay pinag-isipang mabuti, sinaliksik at tinimbang ang positibo at negatibong aspeto ng usapin. Matutong mag-obserba sa mga pangyayari na walang kinikilingan. Ito lamang at masasabing ang manunulat ay mayroong malawak na pananaw at may kakayahang mag himay sa mga usaping pang lipunan.

Pag-ako Ng Pananagutan
Natural lamang sa isang tao ang nagkakamali. Natural din sa tao ang humingi ng paumanhin sa hindi sinasadyang kamalian. At natural din sa tao ang magpakumbaba at magpatawad. Subalit ang taong sobra ang tiwala sa sarili, hindi tumatanggap ng kamalian at walang paki-alam sa kahihinatnan ng kung sino mang masagasaan ng kanyang ginawa ay tanda ng hindi balanseng pag-iisip. Magkahalintulad sa simtomas ng isang “sociopath”.

Panghuling Salita
Ang mga alituntuning ito ay gabay lamang kung ang punteryang mambabasa ay mga propesyonal, edukado at malawak ang pananaw. Pag ang estelo ng pagsusulat ay katulad sa ating halimbawa, makakatagpo ka ng sumasang-ayon dito na pareho ang ugali sa diwa ng salaysay… makitid ang pag-iisip at pananaw.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Going Back Home (Part 3)

The following morning, we went to Cebu (we’re staying in Mactan). They pointed to us another of Mactan’s tourist spots, one of the most expensive lamp posts in the whole world. Each one cost P90,000 (kuno) and there are several hundreds along the way. Unfortunately not a single one works after the ASEAN summit.

We crossed over to Cebu using this new bridge courtesy of the Japanese government.

Magellan’s Cross
Like any other new comer in Cebu, it’s not complete if you haven’t seen the very cross, so they say, brought by the Spaniards, the first time they stepped on our soil. Amazingly, after more than 400 years, it still looks brand new, like it just came out of the carpentry shop.

I have to shove several Korean tourists to get a better view of the ceiling.

Taoist Temple
This landmark is located in a higher elevation built by the Chinese community of Cebu. It sets atop Beverly Hills, supposed to be the enclave of money eyed citizen of the city, akin to Forbes Park of Manila.

A multi-tiered temple. Similar to where Bruce Lee was to meet and fight different martial art experts at different stages. Sayang na dedo sya bago narating ang next level.

A view of Metro Cebu from the Temple.

Tops
If Hong Kong have Victoria’s Peak, Cebu have what they plainly called “Tops”, probable because it’s nestled at the very top of a hill. From there, on a clear day, you’ll see the whole of Cebu and even the island of Bohol. The scenery is breath-taking, so they say, especially at night.

Unfortunately fog was developing as we climbed up Busay Hill.

We console ourselves by taking this picture with the fog as background. Lovely isn’t it?

A unique formation of picnic tables, the only consolation I got in going to the Tops.

So far what I experienced, after climbing steps at the temple and the cold temperature at the tops, is a pain in the butt (literally speaking). We have to pass by a drugstore to buy a box of "Salonpas" before we went home and called it a day.

Next na lang ang Boracay and Manila adventure ha? Mahaba na kasi ang post na to.