Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Check out this link to a blog with an entry entitled, "If you Hate America so much, Get the Hell Out!", supposedly written by a Jay Gould III who not only introduces himself as a CEO but is one helluva...well, I think you guys should just click on the link and make your own opinion of the sonofab****.
This Jay Gould III makes the Ku Klux Klan look like Barbie dolls in white gowns.
Please note: don't copy this guy's article and paste it on your respective blogs if only to generate more traffic. Yes, I'm fully aware of the freedom of expression -- but if this is the kind of junk that is going to be scattered online, then it would be more prudent to just make your own critique with this asshole's blog entry as reference.
Somehow I'm suspicious about this Gould's real motives. He's just too evil to be true. My guess is that he's simply a fictional character generated to build more traffic in some person's blog. This is why I didn't place his article here. It would only serve this person's devious objectives.
Well, what do you guys think?
Monday, November 19, 2007
The first case involves a group of media people, a group of artists, and a mural.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
I don't see why we're hopping mad about this. Yes, I admit that the remark was racist -- but isn't everybody? I mean, we Filipinos also have our own assumptions about people of colors other than ours. Heck, we're even racist about our own kind: Waray females being war freaks, Ilocanos being cheapskates, Batangueños being full of hot air...
Let's analyze events prior to this comment that may have given rise to such a remark. Case in point: the recent cheating in the Nursing Board exam. Lord knows how long this has been happening, and probably someone got sloppy which is why this thing was blown out into the open. How many cheats in nursing uniforms have we already exported to the US, Middle East, and other countries? And since we have been sending out below-standard nurses abroad, how many of these people have also manifested below-standard traits in their respective workplaces?
Because of this cheating in the Nursing Board exams, a cloud of doubt now hovers over other licensure exams given in this country. For all we know, we now have quasi-doctors, pseudo-lawyers, feeling-engineers, etc. who also earned their stripes from cheating.
Has cheating become so rampant among us Filipinos that it has now become synonymous with the term, "Philippine culture?"
On the lower end of the spectrum, cheating can be seen in the academe. Some start early as students who smuggle in the staple kodigo during quizzes and exams. If you think that examination time is the only instance where cheating is prevalent, let us not forget the copy-and-paste methods of some resourceful individuals in their academic papers. I know for a fact that one can survive academic life without cheating because I graduated from college without ever giving in to the need to cheat. However, there are those who simply go for more "exciting" methods. I just can't understand why people go through such lengths just to cheat when it's much easier, safer, and more correct to just study and do the research. Up to now, I have yet to hear a valid argument which states that cheating is good for one's scholastic life.
As for the high end, I'll just go for two words: Philippine elections. Enough said.
Going back to the Desperate Housewives issue, people are just so overacting about the whole thing. Last I heard, inspite of the ABC network apologizing to the Filipino community about the remark, the Filipinos still want to see blood. Now they want the whole episode rewritten and all. Aw, come on! People have already seen it: why make a bigger mess out of it? At the back of their minds, ABC network executives must be thinking that Filipinos are just trying to get as much media mileage from the issue.
Once and for all, why don't we just admit that we DO have many crappy med schools, we DO have many crappy nurses, and that we cheat to our hearts' desire? Why get slighted for something that's as true as George Bush's war on terror?
Sometimes I think it just serves us right for being the butt of racist remarks. Remember the one stated by Joan Rivers about Filipinos being dog eaters? If that's not true, then tell me what azucena means. I don't eat dogs, but I admit that I see other Filipinos eating dogs -- so why deny the fact?
Besides, in the anthropological sense, there are certain indigenous tribes in the Philippines that do eat dogs as part of their rituals. They even raise dogs just to use them as "offerings to their Gods." Please correct me if I'm wrong but I think it's these tribes in the Cordillera region that have these rituals (Igorots, Ifugaos, etc.). I cannot say that this is a travesty because their culture is different from ours. On the other hand, in their culture, we do things that may be offending to them. All we can do is to just accept their customs and rituals.
Igorots and Ifugaos are also Filipinos, and they eat dogs. And Joan Rivers is certainly right. If she thinks that we're barbarians because we do that, then that's her opinion. From one racist to another, I think her race feels that they're all that, anyway -- even when they're not. (Touche!)
And to further stress how racist I am, I believe that many Filipinos are better at the English language than the Americans themselves. They may have created the language, but WE ARE THE MASTERS OF THE LANGUAGE!
So to these fellow Asian countries who insist on hiring Americans, Canadians, Europeans, and other caucasians as English teachers in their respective countries, you guys should better think twice, you racists (like me)....
Monday, November 12, 2007
Whew, that really made my day. I've been out of the academe for quite some time now, and yet my essence still hasn't left the university. I still get calls from former students like the thesis-writer who thank me for a job well-done. I must have done something right.
I have truly come to understand and appreciate the nobility of the teaching profession, especially after one particular incident. I was in media prior to my stint in the academe, and one time my former media colleagues and I had a reunion of sorts during one of my visits to Manila. All of them came to the venue in cars, while I had to hitch a ride with one of them. Just when the party was in full swing, one of them commented, "You know, you're one big fool. Imagine: if you stayed with us in media, your own car would be parked alongside ours. You'd always have money in your pocket. But you just had to go to the academe -- and how much are you being paid there?" Enraged, I retorted, "I may not have as much money in my pocket as you guys, but remember this: you people wouldn't be the professionals you are today if it wasn't for people like me!"
The rewards of being an educator, after all, cannot be measured by how much money one has in his/her pocket. In fact, a teacher who is true to his/her calling only has a take-home salary just enough for a decent subsistence. Also, compared to others, the teaching profession is a 24-hour job. Classroom work is but a mere fraction of what a teacher does. Spare time is spent studying and preparing for the next lectures, checking papers, researching to hone one's skills and to add to one's knowledge, and maintaining an interpersonal relationship with students that borders on becoming a surrogate parent.
Notwithstanding all the pitfalls that come with being an academician, seeing that "eureka" expression in my students' faces after explaining lessons of the day is worth all the riches in the world. Teaching even becomes more fulfilling when a student names me as his/her mentor after garnering an accolade. Now, this is something my former media colleague will never be able to equate -- not even with 10 cars and money in a Swiss bank.
In my four-year term in UPVTC, I would tell my classes at the start of every semester that lessons in my class are not limited to the four walls of a classroom. This is where I introduce the concept of critical thinking that allows my students to have a better understanding of the world through intensified use of their five senses (and even their sixth -- if they have one) and a thorough analysis of things they have observed in their environment. I also taught them about the higher value of a question as opposed to an answer. Questions have to be well-formulated to elicit significant answers. On the other hand, stupid questions also merit stupid answers. With constant injections of these two paradigms all throughout classes, I would finish every semester with my students armed with tools not just to guide them through the rest of their respective courses but also through the rest of their lives.
My former students -- including the thesis-writer -- may soon forget my name, but they will forever bring with them lessons I taught them in and out of the classroom. I am also happy that as my former students turn into the greatest minds this country has ever produced, I know that at one point in their lives, I was a contributor to their success.
Intangible as it may seem, this is the beauty of teaching.
Meanwhile, Filipinos are once again faced with the debacle of making ends meet with the rising costs of basic goods and services -- a typical after-effect of oil price hikes. What a way to greet the Christmas season.
The people so comfortably seated in Malacañang are now trying to appease poor Juan dela Cruz by saying that the situation with the oil price hikes could have been worse had not it been for the "strong economy" we are experiencing right now.
What an irony: our local foreign exchange says that the Philippine peso is now at 42 against the dollar, but I have yet to see Filipinos dancing in the streets because of its effects. C'mon, Malacañang hotshots: stop pulling our leg! The only time I'm going to believe in a Philippine economic recovery is when there are no more reports of children like Marianet Amper committing suicide over hunger and extreme poverty.
Going back to the issue at hand, local oil firms are only reacting to the continuing rise in the prices of oil, or the so-called "black gold" in the world market. As of late, world oil prices have already soared at an all-time high of $100 a barrel. The Philippines is a major oil importer since it cannot generate its own oil resources. Thus, it becomes prone to any price fluctuation in the world market.
In the meantime, members of the OPEC as well as non-OPEC but oil-producing nations garner a windfall over the plight of numerous oil-importing countries -- the Philippines included. Such is the vicious cycle of dependence between these oil-rich countries and the Land of Pinoys.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
This is the tagline used by one of the most controversial documentary films to date. Its title: An Inconvenient Truth.
I missed watching the movie when it first came out in movie theaters in the middle of this year. However, the buzz about it was just so strong it made me curious enough to consider buying a DVD. When this movie garnered two Oscars and a Golden Globe, it made me even more curious. Then when I found out that former US Vice President Al Gore -- the main character in this movie -- won the highly-prestigious 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, I made it top priority to get myself a copy of the movie ASAP.
An Inconvenient Truth didn't have spectacular special effects, nor did it have a stellar cast of characters. In fact, this film was simply a slide show presentation made by Al Gore pertaining to the worsening problem of global warming. Yes, it's quite "academe schmacademe" as an officemate of mine would put it -- so to those of little or no minds, better stick to watching dense superhero movies or risk getting a nosebleed from too much brain activity.
Watching An Inconvenient Truth not only made me realize how large a threat we people are to our own habitat. It also made me look back at the 2000 polls and consider this philosophical question: could a vast majority of Americans have been so wrong in choosing who to sit in the White House?
I could only theorize how much better the world would've been had American voters chosen Al Gore over the incumbent president. US foreign and economic policies would change under the Gore administration. Instead of American taxpayers' money getting siphoned off toward military reinforcements in the so-called "war on terrorism," it could be realigned toward science and technology so that the world can better address the problem of global warming.
With this new focus in American policies, a trickle-down effect could ensue:
- The US could have taken part in ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, and our country would have taken a stronger stand in the global thrust to save our planet.
- More studies and breakthroughs can be made in the area of finding and harnessing more cost-effective sources of energy instead of continuing our overdependence on fossil-based fuels.
- There would be more concentration into the study of nuclear power as a source of energy instead of using this phenomenal power as a means for creating weapons of mass destruction.
- The US will probably be lessening its interference in the affairs of the Middle East and other countries. In effect, lesser military troops will be deployed overseas and countries like Iraq will have more elbow room to decide on their respective fates.
- The US can organize and/or more actively participate in international conventions pertaining to climate change and other environmental issues. Considering our nation's influence as a so-called superpower, we can easily bring countries together to rally behind moves to curtail the effects of global warming.
- Since Gore emphasized in An Inconvenient Truth that there simply cannot be a choice between economics and the environment, I'm sure that he will personally see to it that all present economic policies will have to be rethought and -- if needed -- rewritten, taking into account the current status of the environment.
- The "war on terrorism" could've been the "war against global warming," and more countries could've been more eager to participate in the latter.
- There would be stricter laws for companies, groups, or individuals who continue to contribute to the devastation of the environment, and America could set an example so that other countries can do the same.
- This may be a longshot, but considering Gore's emphasis on saving the environment rather than on meddling in other countries' affairs, there is a possibility that 9/11 may not have happened.
- Disaster preparedness and the installation of more improved early warning devices would be considered top priority, and the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, the California wildfires, and other calamities could be kept at a minimum.
But alas, all we could do now is to dream of "what-ifs" with regret because many Americans were apparently impressed by George Bush's savvy talk and empty promises as compared to Al Gore's doomsday warnings that the sky is falling.
Why is America so intent on glossing over the fact that global warming is a real threat and not just a theory conjured in a science laboratory? Is it because of a cover-up by the present administration to hide the fact that the US is the biggest contributor of carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere -- and that there are no clear indications that they are doing something about it?
This is the "inconvenient truth" -- in fact, one of many inconvenient truths -- that Al Gore exposed through this documentary film. He noted that the situation will only get worse in the next 50 years or so, and only if we all accept this as a fact and do something about it can we avert this environmental crisis. And he made his point clear through well-researched data, graphs, statistics, photos, and mini-movies. Memorable segments included the Futurama segment that explained in the most basic terms how global warming occurs, as well as the 3D segment depicting a swimming polar bear looking for solid ice to climb on. Al Gore's voice was heard over the 3D segment, explaining that there already have been reports of drowned polar bears because they grew exhausted from swimming for miles and not finding ice masses to climb onto.
Al Gore himself has already come up with his own book with the same title to complement the movie, and it has already landed on the New York Times bestseller list in the paperback non-fiction category. In fact, as of July 2, 2006, it snatched the No. 1 spot in the said list. (See: Wikipedia for An Inconvenient Truth)
I'm seriously thinking of letting the teachers at my daughter's school borrow my DVD of An Inconvenient Truth so that they can organize a film showing there. I guess this is my way of helping Al Gore in his personal crusade to save our environment. This is truly a must-see movie that would surely jolt us into action.
But like I said earlier, if you do have the brains (and the concern) of a pea, then go rent a superhero movie instead. And bring George Bush with you.