Saturday, November 21, 2009

Party Colors

The more you observe politics, the more you've got to admit that each party is worse than the other. - Will Rogers

Like football teams, most nations’ political parties identify their affiliation by colors. Communists or socialist are red, royalists and conservatives are blue, environmentalists are green and so forth. The same is true with party names.

Governments, especially those who prefer the parliamentary form, have a clear line drawn in their different political parties. Basically there are three, namely right, center and left. Rights are conservatives, center for moderates and left represent the socialist. That includes the off-shoot of both poles, the ultra-right with their fascist-like ideals and the extreme-left with their Marxist’s ideology. During election, electorates know a candidate’s political agenda thru their party affiliation. That’s because party members personify the principles in which their party was founded.

But in the Philippines, colors do not represent a political group. It represents more an individual rather than an ideology. Aquino inherited yellow from his mother. I don’t know what orange means but Villar chooses it as his battle flag. Roxas’ blue, I think, show his family’s “royal” status in Western Visayas.

Party names are the same. It’s a misnomer, invented to deceive the ignorant. For instance; Pwersa Ng Masang Pilipino is not a socialist group nor it represent them. It only uses the masses for its own end. “Country first” is not the slogan or aim of the Nationalist People’s Coalition and Kilusang Bagong Lipunan have their chance yet I still have to see the social reforms it espouses.

In Congress, I observed only two political entities; the Leftist and the Opportunist. You know who the former are. They’re at the periphery of the congressional circle. They were not elected and their seats are courtesy of the party-list system. The latter is like a chameleon. It changes color to what ever surrounding it’s “in” and their loyalty is a commodity. It’s for sale and has an expiry date. It last only until the next election or maybe bartered in exchange for a slot in the line-up of any leading party. No wonder Reagan find no difference between a politician and a prostitute. They are similar in many ways.

In the US’s two party system, you’re either a republican or a democrat. Republicans are identified with the rich and democrats “represents” the middle class, ethnic groups and the low-income sector. But which ever party wins the presidency or garnered the majority in both houses, their first and foremost duty is to protect the domestic and foreign interests of corporate America. At least their leaders serve a group while ours serve their constituents only if they find it favorable to themselves.

Our government is run by people who think, not the welfare of those who voted them to power, but how to suck up to who ever guarantee their political survival. They think, not of our nation’s future, but how to safeguard their individual turf, as if it’s a legacy, theirs to own and handed down from parents to offspring.

Before we write down our candidates, let us learn first to differentiate what they say and what they meant. Read between the lines, recognize their true agenda and see through their fa├žade to know their true color.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Judging Others

Accomplishment is socially judged by ill defined criteria so that one has to rely on others to find out how one is doing. - Albert Bandura

Some of you may be aware that PEBA honored me by choosing yours truly as one of the judges in this year’s search for the Top 10 Outstanding Expatriates/OFW Blogs. At first I thought it was going to be easy but then I realize it’s not only difficult mentally but emotionally as well.

There are 37 candidates to choose from. I knew most of them and some I considered as friends. In fairness and for transparency’s sake, I devised a method of calculating the result to avoid being accused of partisanship or later might hear discriminatory allegation (like what happened last year). Hopefully these will do justice to my selection.

There are 5 categories in which blogs are to be judge, PEBA entry post, blog contents, blog entries, popularity and blog traffic. Judges are to handle the first 3 categories and pick what they considered their top ten choices. As for me, I rate each category between 1 thru 10, where 1 is the lowest grade given for an entry and 10 the highest. But since I don’t believe in anything perfect outside the physical world, the highest I could give is 9. Believe me; even if you got an excellent blog, how ever good a writer you are, there will always be a better blog or a superior writer out there.

PEBA entry post is somewhat easier to evaluate compared to the other two categories. I judge an entry by its relevance to the contest’s theme and the way the essay’s message makes an impact on me. 15% of the rating will be taken from this category.

Blog content is somewhat within my territory of familiarity. I sub-categorize it into three;
Refresh rate, presentation and blog information.

Refresh rate is the time it takes for a blog to “download”. I consider this necessary because it is somehow discomforting for a reader to “pick” a blog that somewhat takes forever to appear on screen. A refresh rate between 5 and 10 seconds is good enough for me (at low traffic, my own blog has a refresh rate of 3 seconds).

Presentation, in my opinion, is important to a reader. It’s composed of a blog’s appearance; in its uniqueness, symmetry, readability and color coordination. Bloggers who takes pain in making their site pleasing to the eye gets extra points than those who just use available templates or those who over-do their “make-up”.

Blog information is useful to readers or visitors. It includes post categories and history, personal information and links to other useful sites.

I grade each sub-category from 1 to 9 using the formula - summation of grades of all sub-categories divided by 3. Fifteen percent will be taken from its result to be added to the over-all ranking.

Blog entries is the most tasking of the three. Since some blogs are more than a year old and contains more than 50 posts, I made a point to set January to October of this year the cut-off time of entries I’m going to read. I did this in order to meet the date of submission of my results on December 15. Grading each entry depends on how it impresses me. Is it inspirational, informative or thought-provoking? Is it entertaining or just plain boring? Take note that since the contest organizers specifically stated that each blog nominee contains at least one entry post per month; it would be disadvantageous for a nominee if they have no entry for any month inside my cut-off. You are excuse from this provision if your blog is younger than January as long as it has an entry starting from the month of its conception. 30% of the overall result will be taken using the same formula I used above - summation of grades of all read posts divided by the total number of posts read, adding a point penalty to the divisor for each month without an entry.

Using this method, a meaningful entry posted once or twice a month, gains more points compared to posting insignificant entries trice a week. At least a nominee have an idea what’s their ranking if they wrote something like “what I ate for breakfast this morning”.

I’m explaining the mechanics of my computation in order for candidates to know where they stand in my evaluation. But it doesn’t mean that what I’ve explained is “the basis” in choosing the finalist or my final evaluation makes “the difference”. Remember, there are nine other judges to consider. Each has their own method in selecting the most commendable blogs. Beside that, popular vote and blog traffic are still two categories where a nominee may edge other contenders.

So, to each of the nominees, I say GOODLUCK!