Friday, July 29, 2005

My Cyberpunk & Dystopian Country

When Neil Gaiman was here he described Metro Manila as a huge cyberpunk sprawl. Coming in from Singapore - which he described as compact and gleaming, a country where everybody follows the rules and where there are plenty of rules to follow (one of these would be the infamous law against chewing gum) - it comes as no surprice. The chewing gum law would be emasculated and laughed at by us denizens of Metro Manila, the Philippines for that matter. I never thought of my country or the national capital region (NCR)as a cyberpunk sprawl. Are we really? Sprawl...yes. The NCR is had expanded geometrically. The population at the center of NCR doubles during the day of the work week. People migrate from the fringes to the center to work. The word cyberpunk conjures up images of Akira, the Matrix and Blade Runner. Yes,How about cyberpunk? A quick search on the net and through Wikepedia brought me the following quotes: From Bruce Sterling describing the cyberpunk ethos as:
Anything that can be done to a rat can be done to a human being. We can do just about anything you can imagine to rats. And closing your eyes and refusing to think about this won't make it go away.
That is cyberpunk.
Cyberpunk is fiction. It is a genre of science fiction. Cyberpunk describes a dystopian world in the future where corruption and pragmagtism of government the visceral nature of corporatocrcy is shown and the battles against them seem never-ending. Gone are the bright-eyed heroes like Luke Skywalker, in the genre we see heroes like Bladerunner's Dekker - a disillusioned cog in the wheel of this dystopian society. Is cyberpunk then noir science fiction? It must be. There is no clear lines marking the wealthy and the unwealthy, riches and poverty live side by side. Authority is corrupt or at the least pragmatic. People have their own agendas. And the hero or protagonist turn out to be cogs of the wheel, a regular Joe Schmoe the mundane man. The main difference between noir and cyberpunk may be in cyberpunk the element of futuristic technology and industry is prevent. Some have described cyberpunk as the dystopian part of SF. Fiction they say can be used to mirror reality. Often time the grittier it is and the more visceral it is the closer it comes to reality, heightened reality of life plagued with problems. It then becomes a satire or a morality play of our time. A social mirror that can be used as cautionary tale or an outlet. Yes. I think in general we live in a dystopian society. We are the manifestation of the cyberpunk tale. But we should also remember that origin of the word dystopia. Dystopia is the negative word of utopia. Dys from the Greek word "bad". But what of utopia. This is a pun from the Greek word ou (meaning no) or eu (meaning good) with topos (meaning place). So the word Utopia both meant a good place or a no place. Henry VIII's Chancellor, friend, martyr(beheaded on the orders of Henry for Moore's loyalty to the Catholic Faith)and saint (a direct consequence of the beheading)Sir Thomas Moore coined this word to describe an ideal place. So reality is in general dystopic were all living in a cyberpunk world. Well at least I would like to think that and despite living in a dystopian place we do have our moments, often in the mundane and in the un-news worthy category but they are there. Nobody writes about the ordinary men and women from different times. And we encounter dystopian tides in our life I think we behave most of the time like the unlikey heroes in a cyberpunk take. I think the poet Edna St Vincent Millay said it eloquently: I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

On Comic Books

Hi! This post appears on one of my other blogs. Have a nice day!. I used to remember when comic compilations or lengthy comics were called trade paperbacks. I was not an avid comic collector till I was introduced to it by my friends in high school. And even then did not get into to it till my late college years.
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  • Wednesday, July 27, 2005

    DVD: Love Actually & Moulin Rouge

    Hi! This post appears on one of my other blogs. Have a nice day!. DVDs worth the wait. For the prices to drop that is. In buying DVDs it would seem at least for those released in the Philippine market it is prudent to wait a while before one buys. DVDs are not essential products. They do fill in a need but not a direct need. Hence you can afford not to buy it at once. And again, at least for me, these DVDs are worth the wait
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  • Tuesday, July 26, 2005

    Quotations for such times

    During these times of political fluidity I remember two quotes and a fable about revolutions and the change of government. The first comes from Historians Will and Ariel Durant's book "The Lessons of History".
    "The only real revolution is in the enlightenment of the mind and the improvement of character, the only real emancipation is individual, and the only real revolutionaries are philosophers and saints."
    The next quotation comes from Ambrose Bierce's satirical work "The Devil's Dictionary",
    "REVOLUTION, n. In politics, an abrupt change in the form of misgovernment. . . . the substitution of the rule of an Administration for that of a Ministry, whereby the welfare and happiness of the people were advanced a full half-inch."
    And the last comes from George Orwell's fable "Animal Farm". In the tale the animals liberate themselves from their human oppressors and begin to build an equitable society. They set-up the basic laws of their society:
    1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy. 2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend. 3. No animal shall wear clothes. 4. No animal shall sleep in a bed. 5. No animal shall drink alcohol. 6. No animal shall kill any other animal. 7. All animals are equal.
    In due time things changes slowly. Their leaders, the pigs, fight for power and the victors - gradually changes the law.
    1. Four legs good, two legs better! 2. No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets. 3. No animal shall drink alcohol to excess. 4. No animal shall kill any other animal without cause. 5. All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
    "All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others"
    Often times what needs to be said has already been said and just needs to be repeated.

    Makati during the SONA- 25.07.05

    Malacanang declare July 25 a holiday, one of the reasons for the declaration was GMA wanted the people to enjoy the day and have time to listen and see the SONA. End result was Makati was a ghost town. But, not for all some of us were still working no rest for the wicked. Paseo Underpass
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  • A room & a street

    A room A room
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  • An Afternoon in the UP

    My nephews and I like to take the afternoon off on weekdays and roam about or pasyal. We have been to different places a few weekends ago we were ar UP. Here are some of the pictures. The UP Beta Way Betaway
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  • Monday, July 25, 2005

    The Sona that was...

    So the President has finished with her SONA, or State of the Nation Address. Manuel Quezon III covered the affair well in his post. Its also worthwhile to look at the PCIJ Blog 's post on the the SONA. This was the President's shortest speech on record lasting around thirty minutes. She outlined her achievements and long term plan. Each of her statement were punctuated by applause from her loyal allies. The Opposition did boycott the event so there was no one about to boo her pronouncement or walk out. One of the many things the Opposition has bungled in recent weeks. Two things to note about the speech. One, She did not directly talk about the political scandal hounding her government. No direct mention at all. And two, she was now for constitutional change and federalism as the cure for the decrepit political system. As Manolo (MLQ) said she stated what Ramos wanted. The Speaker of the House was of course estatic and so were the other allies of the President - Congressmen and the local executives. Ramos who was acknowledge in the speech even before Drilon was acknowledge looks like the chesire cat from Wonderland. And Drilon, poor looked forlorn. Had he just witnessed the impending doom of the Senate. And where was the Opposition? In the street rallying. After failing to muster the much needed number of signitures for their impeachment. Now the complaint is going to the committee on justice and not to the Senate. And how about the rally? Well today was a holiday so what did they meet on the road only the Pro-Gloria forces, the anti-riot squads, and the news media. Political milleage from a rally is difficult to get during a public holiday. So are we now approaching the Kingmaker scenario. Where the loosing player has and will influence the succession to the party that have been kind to her during her stint in the game.

    Dracula by Bram Stroker

    Hi! This post appears on one of my other blogs. Have a nice day!. It is one of the few epistolary novels that I have read. A epistolary novel is a novel that uses letters, diary entries, newspaper clippings and others to tell the story. Epistolary is derived from the word epistles or letters. Another example of a epistolary novel is Pierre Choderlos de Laclos novel "Les Liasons Dangereuses" (Dangerous Liaisons) first published in 1782.
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  • The Kingmaker and kingmakers

    The Kingmaker has often been part of the political process since the beginning of time. A kingmaker refers to a group or an individual who is not a viable candidate but has the ability to influence the outcome of a political succession. The country is replete with Kingmakers and would-be kingmakers. But what makes a kingmaker a kingmaker. Well he supposedly has to have some sort of power. And power can be divided into three. Politics Means influence on the body politic. This can be control over people voting in the legislature. One of the more overt kingmakers is this and is personified by Japanese politician Kakuei Tanaka, who despite the political scandals hounding him was able to control a sizable bloc of legislators in the Japanese Diet, in effect having a stranglehold on the Prime Minister, without occupying a position in the Prime Minister's cabinet. Influence over the vote or perception of the masses. Religious groups, certain inviduals, the media and other instititutions can shape the succession. Religious groups and individuals can make stands against or for someone. Media can balloon or emasculate stories to the benefit or advantage of a politician. This can also mean influence or control over the poltical leaders of the land as well as control of the beaurocracy. Support of the incumbent leader can influence the political succession. At the incumbent's disposal is the strength and power of the government. And he or she can dispense this to suit their agenda. Monetary Money of course is the fuel that powers of the political war machines. In England there was a chap named Richard Neville, the 16th Earl of Warwick. Through marriage, skill and good fortune Neville was able to accumulate a great amount of wealth. Aside from the royal family he was the richest man in England. And through his wealth and power he was able to depose and support candidates to the throne. He was also known as Warwick the Kingmaker. Wealth alone was not enough but because of his wealth he was able to maintain a standing army, which he used often in the War of the Roses. In modern times wealth is being used not much to support standing army but to finance campaigns and the political machinery. Adolf Hitler would not have become Fuerher is he did not have the support of Germany's Industrialists. Big Bussiness is still doing it but the most succesful efforts are those that are not seen. Arms In the old days power it said came out of the barrel of a gun. The military establishment has often played a crucial role in the deposing and ascendancy of a king or a leader. Roman Emperors were supported or deposed by the Roman legions, or more directly the Praetorian Guards. Julius Ceasar became master of Rome when crossed the Rubicon with his troops. Fidel Castro and Mao Zedong came to power through the use of arms. It must be remembered though that the use of arms can be explicit or implied. One of the groups that supported Hitler's rise to power was Germany's military establishment, the Wehrmarcht. Hitler had to prove himself loyal to the German military. Part of their deal was the marginalization of the Nazi Party's SA or Storm Troopers. Shortly after Hitler came to power the top echelon of the SA were rounded up, charged and executed. The bulk of SA were then assimilated to Wehrmarcht. It was also called the Night of the Long Knives, Nazi members who were calling for a socialist revolution were also liquidated, along with political enemies of the past. In the end though the Kingmakers find themselves with an individual or a group they could not control. Warwick was consumed by the War of the Roses. The German Army fell to Hitler's madness. It would seem that it is the industrialists who survive but did they? How did the industrialists fare when the faction they backed came into power. In the case of Left-wing idealogues and supporters, one has just to take a look at Russia and Cuba to see the repression and redistribution of wealth that followed these so-called revolution for the masses. In our society a present are several kingmakers. They use money and political power to shore up their position and attack their opponents. Rallies fueled by money, loyalty, fanaticism and gullability are used ad naseum. News are sensationalised and even polls of what seem to be insignificant sample size are used to condition the mind. So at this point who is winning? Are any of the kingmakers' winning? The Kingmaker Scenario Or are we overlooking another type of kingmaker. The spoiler in a kingmaker scenario. This player is often seen in an endgame situation. A losing player who is unable to win but has the capability to determine which among the other players will win. She may make decisions to favor a player who kinder to her during the early part of the political game.

    Thursday, July 21, 2005


    Leitmotiv or Leitmotif is a particular piece of music associated with place, idea or a particular person. In certain instances all three. The theme from Dr No is a perfect example of this. When you hear first notes of the song it brings to mind the image of James Bond 007 British Secret Agent license to kill. It so powerful that the song is used for every James Bond movie. Not only does it eveoke the image of Bond but it also brings to mind the adventure and sophistication of his world. A world that could only completely exsist inside the realm of fiction. Another perfect example would be the Darth Vader's Imperial March from the Star Wars saga. Once you hear you know that Darth Vader, the star destroyers, the Imperial stormtroopers have arrived and the Rebel Alliance is in trouble. Some believe that the song was plagiarised from Gustav Holt's orchestral piece entitled Mars: The God of War, which is a part of a bigger orchestral piece of Holt's called the Planets. They maybe right but it really does not matter because stand on its own. The Imperial March will forever be Darth Vader's theme. I like Leimotives. Most music I like are basically leitmotives. Why is this so? All evoke a memory for me. And most of them have a calming effect although there are other types of music I listen to just keep me awake. Maybe its music therapy. I have read somewhere music can enhance once sense of well being. A study pointed out that chemically it can bring about an increase in the endorphin level in the brain. Endorphins are chemicals that make a person feel good and not stressed. The same study pointed out that the efficacy of music is individual, it depends on the person and what he likes. There is not fast and hard rule on what type of music will de-stress you, it all depends on you. Is not that cool? What music de-stresses me? Its a mix bunch really. I like California Dreamin from the Mamas & the Papas, I also like Eine Kleine Nacht Musik from Mozart, Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, Eraserhead Music, Fat Boy Slim's Weapon of Choice, Duran Duran's Save a Prayer, Frank Sinatra, Asin, Mike Hanapol, Evita, TVJ (Tito, Vic & Joey), novelty songs and a lot more. Of late though the theme of the Benny Hill show seems to swimming around my head. Maybe its because as of late my nephews have taken a liking to the Benny Hill Show. The original name the Benny Hill song was Yakety Yak Sax. The funny thing is sometimes I form a mental cocktail of all the political events that have been happening. All the things that you see on tv - the rallies, the political statements, the hearings and all things political - except they seemed to have been speedened up just like in the Benny Hill show. And like the Benny Hill show all actions are accompanied by the Yakety Yak Sax music. GMA as Benny Hill with the political players as the cast. Imagining that makes me laugh. Music is really good for you.

    Wednesday, July 20, 2005

    Advantages of joining your local aquarium club

    Hi! This post appears on one of my other blogs. Have a nice day!. There are several advantages to joining a local aquarium club. 1. You meet fellow aquarium keepers. 2. You get to learn the tricks of the trade in aquarium keeping. 3. You get to learn where to buy the cheap but reliable stuff. 4. You do not have to wonder if this system or that equipment will work, the club is a vast reservoir of practical knowledge. 5. You will enjoy the hobby more.
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  • Panoramic photos One

    Hi! This post appears on one of my other blogs. Have a nice day!. Fort Santiago: Fort Santiago Panoramic Makati: Makati panoramic
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  • Peque Gallaga's Pinoy Blonde

    Hi! This post appears on one of my other blogs. Have a nice day!. My first Peque Gallaga movie was probably Scorpio Nights. I remember the movie because it was shown at the Film Center and I had to play hooky just to watch the film. A jeepney ride from Cubao to the Rizal Coliseum and then another jeep to the Film Center.
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  • Tuesday, July 19, 2005

    Audio Books

    Hi! This post appears on one of my other blogs. Have a nice day!. In one of my posts mentioned the huge amount of audio books on sale at National Book Store. In that post I revealed that I was able to buy a small bag of audio book. What is an audio book?
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  • Monday, July 18, 2005

    Home Bird Weekend

    I am a homebird at heart. This means I literally enjoy being at the house on weekends. So it was the weekend and I was not inclined to surf the net nor watch the latest update on the state of the nation's politics. I was determined to enjoy the weekend. The morning started out late and I immediately watched the movie "Love Actually". Amazing film and more amazing DVD because it contained the deleted but interesting and funny scenes. Afterward read a couple of books I had lined up. Read short stories and learned: the two ways a husband got his revenge on his wife and her lover; how hot water resulted in a discovery that had fatal results; and the fatal approach of a new sun. Had an agreeable lunch with the family. We had steamed fish and fried beef. The fish was bought early in the morning from a fishmonger at Farmers Market. It was one of those deep sea fishes that is best cooked steamed or grilled. The combination of sesame oil and green onions was overpowering. The beef was bought at shopwise. As a rule I only buy beef on the day you will be cooking it. I really do not like it when beef ages in refrigerator. It develops this black spots that do not really tastes awful. One thing that made the meal more agreeable was the absence of politics. I think as a family we have of late refrained to talk about politics, more of getting tired of it anyway. The Pro-Gloria forces were supposed to be having a rally that afternoon. I spent the afternoon with my two nephews, Thirdee and Hansie, watching the best of Benny Hill. They like the slapstick and chase bit of Benny Hill. My nephews call him "Benny the Hill". I do not know how that came to be. Nevertheless, they have become so used to Benny Hill that are now very familiar with the sketches and the theme songs, especially the ending credits chase song. After viewing Benny Hill for about two hours my nephews glided towards my PC to play with the computer game of Dr Seuss and Reader Rabbit. They slept soundly after that. Upon waking up after sunset, my nephews started reading and after dinner I went to bed. I suspect my nephews went up to their room to view again a DVD possibly Tom & Jerry or the X-Men. End of a stress free day no 1 Sunday found us gearing for a walk at the University of the Philippines. Along with my nephews I we strolled around the Academic Oval. This part of UP is closed to traffic every Sunday, although there were two or three cars about. As we walked around there were the usual people about. There BMX bikers who had converted a part of UP into a course. And then there were some foreigners enjoying their picnic. It was a nice visit, the air was breezy and the sun was up but the clouds shielded us from its rays. I even saw an old highschool batchmate pass us by on his racer. Unfortunately, I could not recognize him (he was in full custom so to speak) but he did shout my highschool name as whizzed by. And so during his second pass I just smiled for despite not knowing who he was I did not want to appear a snob. Nightime found us back at the house. Again watching Benny Hill. After a few hours my nephews went to their mother and I was left alone to watch Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars. End of stress free day no 2

    The Neighborhood

    Our family lives in one of the most noisy and polluted commercial disctricts in Quezon City. Oddly enough though a few meters from the nearest commercial establishment, Mercury Drug Store, is ourr quiet neighborhood. Generally silent and peaceful for most of the time except when the jeeps and other forms of public transport passes by or park from time to time. The place may lack the genteel atmosphere of a Forbes Park village or the impossing gates of Greenhills but its a place we call home. Plus you are just a hop and skip from the nearest grocery and the cineplex so living here has its advantages. According to my father, our neighborhood used to be called University Village - hence the name of the streets Cambridge, Yale, Harvard, etc etc. And I recall that for a time we had open canals that actually had fished in them. And most of the residents lived in houses, domestic domiciles. Today, you have buildings, warehouses/houses, apartments and some open slots, most of those open slots are occuppied by shantytowns. At present there are more people square meter than there was five or ten years ago. Shantytowns mushroomed all over the place. One particular shantytown used to be called mani or peanut town. The main business of the populace was the hawking of boiled peanuts. So whenever you pass by that place you would often see people cooking peanuts on the sidewalk. Their cooking fuel would be old wood and their utensils the big steel basins. Sometimes you would also find them cooking corn too. Some shanty towns would be less colorful but inside each is thriving population of students, maids, mechanics, gamblers, drunks, faith healers and all other sorts. A mini society crammed into a a little space. This pockets of community compromise the bigger community of our neighborhood. Yes we are neighbors. All of us living and trying to make ends meet in this neighborhood we call home.

    Friday, July 15, 2005

    Friendship, Egroups, at iba pa

    I got so engrossed during my break answering emails from one of my group that it ate most of my free time today. E-groups are on of the more interesting things in the Internet. It is different from a forum in that you need to go back to the forum to check the latest posts. In E-groups you have the option of receiving the message as an email or check the posts at the site. The most interesting e-groups I have joined is my old barkada's e-group, UPQS. A fellowship formed between girls and boys from UPIS, my highschool. Our fiendship excuse me friendship thrived and bloosomed during college. And it endured after college. Eventually fate and fortune descended us and scattered us to the ends of the Earth. These were the friends from the pre-cd days. Yes, we were the last generation to use vinyl records. Those were days of Risk, Return of the Jedi, Bagets and 99.5 RT was at its peak. You can now actually deduce our collective age from those clues. The nice thing about this e-group. Is that it allows us to communicate despite the distance between us and the time difference. The exchanges in this e-group of around 30 or so thirty something individuals becomes animated. Exchange of ideas are seldom diplomatic. And people begin to argue and counter-argue. I think in the last few months our exchanges exceeded 1000. Exchanges include but were not limited national issues, whether or not Star Wars was a just war, crushes, debate on whether to put the latest Superman or Darna pic on egroup site. At present Lynda Carter during her glory days as Wonder Woman. The thing is despite the arguments and debate ,which color up the e-group, I find myself going back to the e-group. Somehow it still feels like you can still able to talk, insult and generally have a good times with your friends. And of course discover new friends. As in the case of the other e-groups I have joined and with blogging. I guess that is one of the good things about the Internet.

    Wednesday, July 13, 2005

    What to read during interesting times: Animal Farm

    Hi! This post appears on one of my other blogs. Have a nice day!. The Chinese have a curse that goes,"May you live in interesting times". I first heard the phrase a few years before EDSA I and now I think the quotation is also apt. Whether you are pro, anti or non of the above Philippine politics is in a chrysalis. My assessment of the situation is that despite the stormy nature of the body politics is that it is in a process of consolidation. Below the office I work in I could hear the drums of the rallyists. The political opposition has made a promise to muster around a million people. In today's world and in particular in the Philippine setting political foes use people rather than armies to fight their wars. Its the number of people one can muster for a rally or an election that counts and like before it is the alliances and loyalties between political leaders that count. And like any society the Army and organised religion have their role to play.
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  • Tuesday, July 12, 2005

    Video Baton from Sassy Lawyer

    Does the film one collects give an insight on who you are? Can one be defined by the movie one watches? What is a meme ? Well to know check this link to Wikipedia or you can be satisified with this definition - a meme is a piece information passed from mind to mind or a unit of cultural transmission or a unit of imitation. This meme came from Sassy Lawyer who in turn got it from Yuga. This particular meme requires me to tag four others, so I pass it on to: Allan, Ben, Mona, and Zarah. Total Number of Films I own on DVD, VCD, LD and VHS : I gave up on VHS a long time ago; Laser disc I have around 3 or four; VCD movies around 60; and 33 original DVDs. The Last Films I Bought : Goodfellas, Unforgiven and THX Five (5) Films Which I Watch A Lot Life of Brian: The Monty Python gang's take on the life of Brian, his mother told him he was the Messiah, during the time of Jesus Christ. I often replay the crucifixion scene where the whole cast is crucified and they begin to sing "Always Look at the Bright Side of Life". Goldfinger: Bond...James Bond. Sean Connery playing Bond versus Goldfinger, Oddjob and Pussy Galore. The Princess Bride:The tale of Buttercup and Wesley complicated by the strategems of Prince Humperdink, the cunning of Vizzini, the strength and good-heartedness of Fezzik the Giant, the revenge of Inigo Montoya and the wise cracks of Miracle Max. The Lion in Winter:Plots and counter-plots in the court of King Henry II of England and his queen, Eleanor of Acquitaine. Its a Plantagenet's christmas, celebrate the nativity with politics and intrigue. I prefer the 1968 version where the roles were played by Peter O'Toole and Katherine Hepburn. Love Actually: Comedic ensemble performance depicting love and comedy in the UK during the Christmas season. Five Films That mean A Lot To Me: La Grand Illusion: A pre WWII French film that the Nazis tried to eradicate from the face of the Earth or at least keep away from the public. I first saw this film during those screenings sponsored by the embassy at the old Shangrila cinemas. Secondhand Lions: Michael Caine, Robert Duvall and Haley Joel Osment. Story of a boy sent to live with his eccentric but suspicuously wealthy uncles in Texas. Kind Hearts & Coronets: Sir Alec Guiness essaying eight roles. A black comedy depicting the gentle art of killing one's blood. Set in Edwardian England. Stalag 17: Comedy, intrigue, escape and cynics. A prisoner of war camp for non commissioned officers during World War II. Imelda : The documentary about Imelda by Imelda talking about Imelda. Plus the usual gang of friends, sychophants and enemies.

    Blissful weekend

    Last Friday, I thought it was going to be the end for GMA. Cabinet secretaries had resigned and asked GMA to resign as well. The Liberal Party headed by Senate President Franklin Drilon has also asked GMA to resign. The Makati Business Club has also asked GMA to resign. Civil Society , a coalition of NGOS , has also asked GMA to resign. Former Pres Cory Aquino has also asked GMA to make the supreme sacrifice and resign. Witnessing the events on tv gave one a feeling of political déjà vu. Was this a re-enactment of Edsa I and II? The events seem to happen so fast and progressive that it seemed impossible not to reach its logical conclusion. Personally, I thought she was not going to make it all. Then it happened… Former President Fidel Ramos supported GMA and did not ask her to resign. The Armed Forces of the Philippines announced that they would not interfere. After several days of deliberation, The CBCP issued a statement that they would be joining the clamor for GMA to resign Well she proved me wrong. Today is Tuesday the 12th of July 2005 and she is still here. I also realised this weekend that it is unhealthy to be too concerned about the politics of this country. It is best to remember that despite the politics of the country each of us has chores to do, obligations to fulfil, responsibilities to keep and a life to live. So last weekend I shut off the television and did other things. Friday night, spend the time listening to music. Saturday, we went to the Neil Gaiman gathering and met some friends afterwards. Sunday, went to birthday party and again met with friends. By Sunday it was clear that GMA was still the occupant of Malacanang and clearly the constitutional putsch had soured. And most of the people I had talked to during the weekend said that they were tired of politics. Even in our family, the hotbed of politic talk over food, the arguments and counter-arguments concerning politics seemed to have reached a satiation point.

    The Weekend Neil Gaiman came to the Philippines

    Hi! This post appears on one of my other blogs. Have a nice day!. This weekend saw the seesaw battle in the realm of Philippine politics. However, it was also the week that writer Neil Gaiman came to the Philippines. One has to thank the Almighty also for small blessings. Although the event might be viewed as trivial by some given the current political impasse, but I think its important also to remember that politics is not the sole preoccupation of a person and there is a need to step back and enjoy the roses so to speak.
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  • Friday, July 08, 2005

    Sacrificing the Queen: Bye Bye Gloria?

    Things are getting interesting. So interesing that the Philippine Daily Inquirer shifted to low graphic "express version". Last night, GMA (President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo) issued a radio statement last night: The gist of her speech was she was not resigning; she admitted that there was a need to change the present political system and anyone who becomes a part of it will be come tainted, like her; Her admittance that she spoke to a comelec official was not admittance to cheating; she would be focusing her attention to changing the system of government conduct reforms and go for a federal system; and in order to do this she will give the cabinet a free hand to run things while she focused on doing the fundamental changes; and she asked her entire cabinet to submit their resignation in order to start fresh. Today, in a press conference ten of her cabinet secretaries resigned en mass and asked her to resign as well. Cabinet secretaries who resigned: Cesar Purisima, Finance Florencio Abad of Education Teresita Quintos Deles, adviser on peace process Imelda Nicolas of the National Anti-Poverty Commission Juan Santos of Trade and Industry Alberto Lina of the Bureau of Customs Emilia Boncodin of Budget Corazon Juliano Soliman of Social Welfare Rene Villa of Agrarian Reform Guillermo Parayno, commissioner of the BIR. Other developments, US Consul has said that the US will oppose any unconstitutional change. The Liberal Party has also asked Arroyo to resign and I guess we will also see other parties follow suit. And it was reported by Congressman Aquino that his mother former Pres Aquino will speak to Arroyo about resigning. The resignation of Arroyo seems to be looming. And the party in power seems to be at tbe point of saving itself by sacrificing the Queen. And resignation is not an unconstitutional way of removing a president. It would seem that the political parties, the middle forces and other people around Arroyo have found a way to end the stalemate with the Opposition. An Arroyo resignation means a De Castro Presidency. Same people in power. Will they now go for constitutional reform? Most of the people in our office seems to be accepting the Noli De Castro presidency as a given. Some switched the from the news channel to the local noon time quiz show. A few were happy. Some were resigned to it and hoped Noli would not be bad and hoped that the proposal to change the form of government will not prevail. I wonder how the people from the provinces take it? Will they really form a separate republic or is all that hot air? Ilokoslovakia or Mindanao Republic in the air? If this prospers GMA would not have been undone by the opposition, they of course helped with the scandals and rallies, but by her own allies and people.The leftists and the oppositionists will not be happy. Arroyo's removal will be a hollow victory for them. Unless of course she remains stubborn. The problem is what if she decides to do a Hugo Chavez? What if she stays put? And insists that the impeachment push through like Erap? The what ifs of politics. The Makati Business Club and Civil Society has also called on her to resign. And people loyal to GMA were at Malacanang to show their support. End of the day I think I will do what the late Egyptian leader Nasser did watch a movie. The problem is no good movie to watch. And the anti-government forces have just started a rally below our building. Calling for GMA and her heir aparent, the next president if the ten resigned cabinet secretaries had their way, Noli de Castro to resign. Sigh. Cory Aquino just came out and asked GMA to make the supreme sacrifice and resign.

    Thursday, July 07, 2005

    Reading jawbreaker lament/rant

    I just received my paycheck. Perusing the deductions from the gross always makes my me want to cry. Despite all this debate on the vat nobody it seems has taken the time to take a look at the burden of us daily wage earners - laborers, corporate drones, call center people, teachers, government employees and well you know the rest. At the same time during my regular visits to other blogs I came upon a post at Sassy Lawyer's journal. The post was about an email slowly being forwarded through our area of the Internet. The author is unknown and the email is basically a rant, however, it is not easy to diregard it because of the points and issues it raised. Judge for yourself and go to the site.

    Free films this saturday

    Hi! This post appears on one of my other blogs. Have a nice day!. I got this from one of the egroups Brash Young Cinema Forum I joined . The films will be presented by pelikula @ titus brandsma for FREE. In line with their 7th anniversary the center will be showcasing an all-Filipino line up of films and activities: indepenpent films by Filipino film makers, Takaw Tukso(1986) a critically accliamed film written by Armando Lao and directed by William Pascaul, and forum on scriptwriting with screenwriters Armando Lao ("Takaw Tukso," "Itanong Mo sa Buwan," "Sana Pag-ibig Na," "Pila Balde," "Tuhog", "La Vida Rosa") and Chris Martinez ("Bridal Shower," "Bikini Open").
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  • Wednesday, July 06, 2005

    Neil Gaiman: Book signing mechanics - July 9 to 11

    Hi! This post appears on one of my other blogs. Have a nice day!. I have been a fan of Neil Gaiman's work since I came across the Sandman storyline "Season of the Mists. After I had finished reading of Morpheus and his quest to free the woman he loved and condemned to hell (in the process inheriting Hell and resolving what to do with it), I tried to get all his comic books. I completed most of the Sandman stuff by buying the HC/SC tradepaperbacks, acquiring four comic books in Singapore when I went there, and by luck finding an old special Sandman tale from Filbars. This was the time when they just released Image comics and comic shops were sprouting like mushrooms all over the place.
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  • Tuesday, July 05, 2005

    Rainy season

    Now with the onset of typhoon Emong it is official...the rainy season has started. In my elementary classes I distinctly remember the statement issued about Philippine weather: " the Philippines have to seasons the dry and the wet season". Walking towards the FX station at the back of old Rustan under the gentle but non-ending cascade of the rain brings back memories of rain past. The times spent playing under the rain. The cool wind it brought. Often times the strong winds that felled trees, in particular the old mango tree in the garden. Typhoon Didang, the storm that stranded the family car. The really deadly rains that brought not only flood but disaster and death in its wake. Typhoons are a destructive force indeed. We have seen age old trees uprooted. Houses in my mother's home town in Balian, Pangil, Laguna srtipped bare except for the posts. I remember the person who drowned in a room beneath Lagusnilad. Or the sight of flash flood destroyed towns in Ormoc and more recently in Quezon price. Again one also remembers the trivial things that happened during a rainfall. The transformation of Quezon avenue into a river and one's person's use of a water bike to transverse Quezon avenue river. Or the time I was able to get to home on time just before the storm descended on Metro Manila. Yet in every instance the rain seems to have a cleansing effect on Metro Manila. In my old chemistry class it has been stated that water is the universal solvent. Given enough time it can dissolve anything. I wonder with the arrival of rainy season will it help in dissolve the present political tnesions of the Philippines. Or at least cool the hot heads from both sides of the issue.

    Monday, July 04, 2005

    Divided interest: Galatica or Earthsea

    Hi! This post appears on one of my other blogs. Have a nice day!. Last Sunday they were airing the second part of new Battlestar Galactica. The Battlestar Galactica starred Lorne Greene, Richard Hatch, Dirk Benedict. A fleet of star ships fleeing their world (which was composed of 12 planets) destroyed by their enemies the Cylons. The rag tag fleet is in search of the legendary 13 planet called Earth. If you suspect that this show has religious overtones, the twelve planets and the twelve tribes of Israel and their search for the 13th planet/tribe, it has but not as deep as CS Lewis "Silent Planet" trilogy. The series came out during the time of Star Wars and thrived for a while. Although I must confess I was rooting for the cylons and there phrase "by your command". They seemed to be more interesting. And of course there was the traitor Count Baltar, played by John Calicos who was beheaded in the first part or was it in the movie? but subsequently appeared in the series with the cylons.
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  • Divisive issue

    The alleged GMA recordings and the jueteng gate scandal has really divided the nation. It is for the moment similar in effect to the Dreyfuss case in France. In the Dreyfuss case families would argues and sensible dinner talk would cease when the case was discussed. The other day I heard a person was shot because of an argument arising from the GMA political scandals. The divisiveness has also beeb active in cyberspace. Friends have been debating about it in e-groups, blogs and forums. I am posting below a post sent to our barkada's e-group about the matter. Before you proceed let me just say I think we have heard the cases from both opposing camps ad infinitum and ad nauseum. And I think its high time the accusers both the opposition and Archibishop Cruz file the proper case in the proper venue, the courts or in case of impeachment Congress. If their accusations are true and their case airtight then let the axe fall where it will. 1. GMA admitted to talking to a comelec official after the election and during the canvassing. It is possible to split hairs or discuss how many angels can fit the head of a pin over this and people have. The thing is she admitted to talking to a comelec official and acknowledge it was improper. 2. Did she commit anything illegal? Or did all the improper act add up as an illegal act? 3. Despite her confession? She has not implicitely stated that the tape was genuine. It can only be genuine if it is corroborated by testimonies of GMA, Garcillano, the wiretapper and also it it is certified genuine by an impartial technical source. Has this happened not yet. 4. Why is this important to me at least. All pro and anti arguments surrounding this debate is mired with emotions and disgust. Its easy to be morally disgusted at an act. Its even easier to be mad at GMA because of the taxes and bitter pill that she has been enforcing. So far I have not seen any damning evidence that has been corroborated, both from the pro and anti GMA camps. In the field of study all evidences should be supported by other facts from other sources. Emotional appeal is seductive but not really dependable. 5. In judging someone (that is what we are doing here) you should have all the facts. I think this is important because sooner or later all of us will be called to account for what we have done. Some of us may have been already been pre-judged in one form or another. If you were the one in that position being allegedly charged with an act, what would you like to be pre-judged based on partial evidence untested and unvalidated. Will you think its fair to be judged by opinions or beliefs of another person or group of person even if they are in the majority? 6. And if GMA is guilty and her actions accountable should she be impeached? Of course. Should she resign even before a trial or an impeachment case? Maybe if the evidence is without a shadow of a doubt true. Does that mean Noli de Castro should resign alongside with her? Not really, unlike the US elections the President and VP are voted separately here in the Philippines. The president unsubstantiated evidence only points to GMA. Even the improper act was done by GMA. No, Mr de Castro stays. He will become President. 7. That is the bind really isn't it? The dilema most people have now? Do we burn the house in order to fix the roof? Is this issue the most important issue at the momnet? or have we just made it so? And now with the admission of PGMA we are in a rut because what are we to do? Is Noli so unacceptable to the most of us that the solution is he should also resign? Maybe she should have just lied. Electoral fraud nor improper conversations with comelec officials is not the monopoly of people in power. The same set of people have been in and out of government so much that in all probability they have all bought votes, talked with comelec officials, did dagdag-bawas and probably a host of assorted things. Political families that have been well-entrenched in their communities have all been saints and always come out on the top. Even the religious groups have one way or another dipped their hands in politics. Birth control, morality, and sexual lifestyle have been the issues were pressure from the moral groups have exerted their hand. Was it democratic? Was it proper? In this light is Edsa I, II and III proper? Are the sins of the father coming back to haunt us?

    Friday, July 01, 2005

    Personality tests are fun

    Personality tests are fun. Its sort of reveals one's personality without the aid of a diviner. Aside from being used to judge a prospective employees psychological disposition. Tests like these are for fun. Something to break the monotony of the moment. In our contemporary setting take the mind for a moment off problems. Off-line versions I like are the Kokology books. Chanced upon a couple of personality tests when I visited Allan's blog. Which Greek God are You test: I am in a bit of a bind with this test because earlier today I saw it posted on Allan's blog now its gone. The results of my test - Athena

    ?? Which Of The Greek Gods Are You ??
    brought to you by Quizilla Anyboy who knows me will vouch that I do not look good in drag. I once dressed up as the ugliest baby girl in the world for Christmas presentation and the epithet ugly was still considered a little bit too kind. Just ask the IT guys in our office who faithfully keeps a copy of the picture tacked to their cork board. Now yours truly in a Pallas Athena full costume would look horrid. Then again this is a personality test and should not be taken seriously. Just enjoy the test. Now if I were a god even demi-god I think of one or two people to punish. The Greek Gods are renown for the punishment they inflicted upon those who displeases them, Sysiphus and Prometheus for example.