Jobs, jobs, jobs

jobsJobs – isn’t this what everyone yaps about these days, politicians, businessmen and proletarians alike ? Jobs, jobs, jobs seems to be the theme of every candidate of any political stripe these days. Elect me and I WILL CREATE JOBS. Jobs is the magic word. It is supposed to be the catalyst that sparks economic growth. Create more jobs so that more people can have money to buy goods and services and enhance their quality of life and yes, pay taxes lest we forget. Taxes fatten the government coffers. Robust consumer spending makes corporations profitable. The pattern becomes a virtuous circle. More taxes allows the government to modernize public infrastructure creating much needed jobs. Corporations tend to expand and increase production output as the result of increased revenues, hiring more workers in the process. This is not what I am blogging about though. We all know that jobs can be created with the proverbial albeit controversial government stimulus spending. We also know that corporations never stop finding ways to invest in new products and services to spark consumer spending. What disappoints me is when jobs are to be had, people start bitching about the environment – pollution, carbon emission and what not and the holier than thou amongst us start bitching about the social consequences of jobs, its long term psychological effects on people, on families…yadada. Try constructing an oil pipeline these days and you would be bombarded with endless criticism from die hard evironmentalists, accussing you of endangering the planet by inviting a catastrophe of apocalyptic proportions in event of an accidental spill. Try building a casino complex with the intent of employing thousands of people and you will be met with stiff opposition from the holier than thou crowd, accusing you of potentially destroying people’s lives and breaking families apart with the culture of gambling. Try buying modern, quiet, energy efficient small jet planes to replace noisy and sluggish propeller planes to improve service of a small airport by a downtown lake and you will be accused of polluting the environment. So where the hell are we going to get these much needed jobs to stimulate the economy, if we can’t compromise but bitch and moan and oppose every proposal because of our lofty ideals ?

FINDING A JOB

job_hiringIt is not impossible to find a job these days. What is difficult is finding the right job with the right pay. It is even more difficult when we lose our good paying jobs. Finding a job with the same salary becomes a real challenge. Most people hate the idea of starting again. Talking about Pinas now – how many well schooled people do you know who simply gave up of finding a job just because they don’t have the fortitude of starting from an entry level salary ? How many people do you know who can’t find a job on their own and rely on other people to find a job for them ? How many people do we know who simply gave up on the idea of supporting his own self become totally reliant to family for the rest of their lives ? How many people waste money by going to special courses upon finishing decide to stay at home, waiting for jobs to come to them ? How many people dream of working abroad yet never had the guts to try working to gain some experience ? If you can’t mingle and work with your compatriots in your own country, what makes you think you can easily work in another country with a different culture, a different language ?

 

 

Let PEACE Begin With Me

peaceLast holiday season we got invited by a family friend to a Christmas cantata at her church. After the wonderful evening of singing with a great choir and watching well produced skit plays we had a sumptuous dinner at the house of one of our close friends who were likewise invited to the event. What a great way to end a wonderful and memorable event for all of us. Memorable in the sense that beyond the usual perfunctory yuletide theme of peace it packed a message that surprisingly kindled a spark that lingered a bit longer, certainly longer than the exit from the car park :)let peace begin with me.  With the tragedy of the massacre of the innocent children of Sandy Hook still fresh in our memories, how proper and fitting the message could be, as if shaking you up and saying – why don’t you do something ?  Come to think of it, are we not sick and tired of all the gang wars, drug wars, religious wars and all the violence and senseless killings that never ever resolve anything ?  And hey, I will not be arguing about control here. Where I live I can’t own a handgun unless I am a member of a gun club nor a rifle unless I have a license to hunt. These licenses aren’t rights but privileges subject to passing mandatory government safety courses and extensive background checks. I can only carry my handgun when I travel from my house to the gun club – nowhere else. I have no right to lug the gun around for self protection. Perhaps numbers could speak for itself. The metropolis where I live with a population of some 4M has less than 100 murders in a year. This could sound laughable, but my wife and my ex-wife (if I had any) will have to affix their signatures of approval on my application for a firearm license. Absence of such approval with result in rejection of the application.

war casualtyGovernments and religious fanatics who live for prophetic fulfillment are the main reasons why the killing continues. It somehow justifies their existence, of protecting people from the imaginary evil that supposedly lurks everywhere threatening to take over. Maybe our brains could overpower the machinery that perpetuates this paranoid thinking. Maybe we can focus on minding our own business, be less adversarial and be a bit more patient, tolerant of the simple mistakes of others. Maybe we could be less envious and hateful of the success of others. Maybe we should stop feeling too special demanding extra attention from others. Maybe we could tame our egos and start mingling with people and genuinely enjoy their company. If I start behaving this way, I could probably make my home and workplace a bit more peaceful :)

Here’s one man who started a simple handshake to an enemy of his country…

Continue reading

Democracy at the Crossroads

images_church_stateIt is utterly shocking to learn that women could be banned from wearing trousers in Sudan. In Egypt, women resort to the use of fake hymen to “restore” their virginity before marriage so their future husbands don’t divorce them. The re-virgination is also a way to prevent their very own family from embarrassment and avoid the dreaded and feared “honor killing” on them. The Egyptian government wants to ban the product and punish those who import and sell them to the public. We Pinoys cringe at the thought of such restrictive and oppressive practices of other cultures and pride ourselves with the freedoms we enjoy in our country. Yet for a long time we harmed ourselves the opposite way, by our government’s inaction and lack of political will to confront the most serious threat to our country today, the problem of overpopulation and its tragic consequence of poverty. At last, after more than a decade of debate, the RH bill is finally put to law. There is reason to rejoice. The approval of the RH bill in both legislative houses is an epiphany, a profound pronouncement to the world that Pinoys live in the present and not the medieval times. The approval is well timed to complement the country’s plan towards economic prosperity. Today, Pinas’ economic numbers are solid and the country is now an acknowledged emerging “Tiger Cub” economy of Asia poised to break out in the next 3 decades as the 16th largest economy in the world. The government needs to create a long term plan to ensure that the momentum gained is maintained and sustained in the long haul.

THE CHURCH AND STATE

church_stateThere is no doubt that a large population creates a strong consumption economy but it is only strong when such population collectively contribute to “creating” the economy and not becoming a wholesale encumbrance, a liability to the government. Creating human beings isn’t the goal. Rather, creating human beings that won’t wallow in abject poverty and sub-human conditions should be the goal. A country’s exploding population that outruns economic growth exacerbates poverty. At some point it has to slow down, not totally stop and prudent population control strategy is the right approach. The RH bill will provide the much needed sex education to prevent teen pregnancy and help parents right size their families, to that which they can financially support. This kind of strategy is a necessary ingredient to any country’s social program, that is if such country believes that it no longer exists in the medieval times. It took 14 years for the bill to get passed. In the the end the state was able to sail through turbulent waters – the church’s incessant meddling and fear mongering. The reason for the separation of church and state in the constitution is express and unambiguous – to guarantee and maintain the secularity of government in the context of democracy.  In short, the law of the land not the law of religion is in force to rule the country. Unless we are prepared to run democracy with its core principles intact, we better return it to the Americans.

RH BILL MOMENTS

RHThe RH bill created a passionate debate amongst Pinoys where the pro and con supporters take a stab at the issue whenever they can, sometimes in a humourous, satirical fashion. I watched Ann Curtis diss Andy Eigenmann who in the movie A Secret Affair played the role of the slutty woman who was desperately trying to snatch lover Derek Ramsey from her – “ I wish the RH bill was approved long time ago so a slut like you could have been prevented to come into this world “. It sounded a tad gaudy and clumsy but hey, we hear the point ;) Of course who could have missed that Iskul Bukol moment in the Senate when Sen. Sotto, a staunch opponent of the bill, asked what he thought about contraceptives for men said “ Is there such a thing ? If so then it’s the women’s turn to protest about it “ ;) I have never been a fan of Sen. Miriam Defensor. This pugnacious and scrappy lawmaker, an outspoken supporter of the RH bill, is an acquired taste for most people but I thought she put the kibosh on the accusation of heresy when she compared herself to Nicolaus Copernicus, the 16th century astronomer whose theory that the earth revolved around the sun, not the other way around as believed by the Catholic church was condemned as heretical. Science proclaimed Copernicus’ discovery to be true, years after he posited his theory. Copernicus body was reburied in 2010 and proclaimed a hero 500 years after lying in an unmarked grave. He was never given a Christian burial because the church denounced his work until the day he died. You can trust I am with you on this one Miriam ;) And who could forget Cong. Manny Pacquiao, who said that the 2 minute slumber he experienced from that Hulk Hogan punch courtesy of Marquez made him appreciate the sanctity of life even more, hence his NO vote for the bill. He obviously forgot the Incredible Hulk punch he delivered on Ricky Hatton’s head in 2009. It laid the poor guy motionless on the mat for 4 minutes. :neutral:

LOSING WITH DIGNITY

loserIn the aftermath of the bill’s approval, it is not uncommon for people to be disappointed when the result isn’t what they expected. But that’s the essence of democracy lest we forget – the rule of the majority takes precedence. The CBCP is extremely upset with the result. How dare the flock lend a deaf ear to its leaders ?

“I never thought of losing, but now that it’ s happened, the only thing is to do it right. That’s my obligation to all the people who believe in me. We all have to take defeats in life”. Muhammad Ali

Perhaps the bishops and cardinals must ask themselves the question – why have we failed ? What did we do wrong ? The result is crystal clear. It is not Pnoy nor the legislators. The church has clearly failed to connect with its people. In retrospect, the church, along with its anti RH bill supporters trumped their chance to win with their lame, fear mongering tactic of labeling contraceptives as abortifacients. In a way, they shot themselves in the foot with such idiocy. This scare tactic was meant to garner support from the bottom of the social ladder, the impoverished and the most ignorant among us. Contraceptives are already legal and available at the pharmacies to those who can afford a doctor’s prescription. When the government proposes to make contraceptives available to the poor – free to those who cannot afford, all of a sudden they’re abortifacients ! Since when ? If they are dead serious about their abortifacient pitch, why not lobby to take these pills out of the drug store shelves NOW ?

The CBCP’s call for civil disobedience and the exhortation to Catholic voters to defeat the pro RH politicians in this coming election is a clear violation of its statement of faith, a throwback to its mission as mediator and pacifier of men and a clear insult to the democratic processes and principles it must uphold, respect and promote. It is tragic that the church has engaged in the game of dirty politics to compensate for its shortcomings. It has failed to understand that genuine faith has to come from the heart – not coercion. Sadly is has behaved like the church of the days of the Inquisition, intent to destroy and burn those who contradict its views. It has refused to accept defeat in a democratic exercise blaming the heretics for the failure and not itself. Poor loser is such a heavy word. There is dignity in defeat. My wife’s response to the RH bill was bluntly simple – ” they could enact any law they want but the decision still rests with the woman, right ?

Archbishop Tagle said it best :

“It is tragic and unfortunate but we do not take it as a defeat of truth for the truth shall prevail. We call on all Filipinos to work towards healing, and journey together humbly and justly as children of God.

Now that’s the mark of a truly enlightened leader. I wish there are more church leaders of his mold.

No Requiem for Manny Pacquiao… Yet

No, I didn’t watch the Pacquiao – Marquez 4 fight this time around. The loss to Bradley left a lingering sour taste in my mouth. I felt that the Pacman has lost a step or two watching his last 2 fights but still has enough fuel in the tank to pull a decision with Marquez. The 6th KO wasn’t what I expected though. It was devastating for his fans to watch. Is this the end of the Pacman’s storied career ?

THE BRADLEY FIGHT

bradley-pacquiaoI was speculating that the 4th fight with Marquez could be another yawner like the Bradley fight, where the Pacman rested like an exhausted bull for 2 minutes then gored Bradley with impunity in the last minute of every round. He did damage but the strategy failed to impress the judges, at least 2 of them. It was untypical of the Pacman DNA, where he is known to gobble up his opponent at the sound of the bell. The last minute barrage strategy was a bit of a surprise. The Pacman was clearly conserving his strength with such economy of movement. Might it be that he was nursing his inflamed calf which had been bothering him with cramps in the late rounds since Mosely fight ? With the Bradley fight, the Pacman fought good enough to win on points but the strategy was plain unimpressive, so un-Pacquiao like that the perception altered the already precariously Alzheimer-laden brains of 2 elderly judges to full dementia. It was a gross decision. It was like – “well, he didn’t, look like Manny Pacquiao at all so I gave the win to his opponent” kind of thinking.

The 4th fight with Marquez

pacquiao-marquez4In the judges’ book, Pacquiao was winning the fight until the lucky punch in the 6th round. It was startlingly vintage Paqcuiao out for a quick kill and looked well on his way to exact a stoppage on Marquez. Perhaps the Pacman wanted to end it early because he didn’t want the leg cramps to bother him in the late rounds. Had it gone for 2 more rounds, Marquez, who looked like he was fighting on pure instinct because of the punishment, could have been a goner had he not served the asteroid like punch. But that’s boxing and I admire the Pacman for being a gracious loser. A lucky punch can happen as long as the clock is still ticking. It’s not over until its over. Is Pacquiao’s career over ? Not quite in my opinion. Although the KO was devastating, it wasn’t like the Hatton loss. Hatton was overpowered and totally outclassed by Pacquiao from the opening bell. Hatton retired because he found out he couldn’t compete with the best, the elite of boxing, being KO’d by both Pacquiao and Mayweather. Hatton better quit giving lame advice to Manny to hang up his gloves. Give Pacquiao the respect he deserves.

TO FIGHT OR NOT TO FIGHT

philippians Manny Pacquiao has to do some serious soul searching for his next step. Only he knows his body and skills best. The hunger for revenge for his wounded pride must not be the sole determinant to a go fight decision. I disagree with him when he said that “boxing is my job and what I do for a living“. Not quite. Being a member of the congress is his day job lest he forget. With his new found faith, he should not make a mistake of etching the inspirational Philippians 4:13 verse (I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength) on his back or boxing trunks like what mindless other boxers do. Knocking out your opponent’s brain for fame and fortune isn’t glorifying God at all. At this point in his life where he had seemingly accomplished his boxing goals, Manny should convince himself of the true reason why he needs to continue or quit fighting. It has to be for his and his family’s sake – not the fans, not Freddie Roach nor Bob Arum.

PLAGIARISM

faceboolPlagiarism is defined as “an act or instance of closely imitating the language or thoughts of another author without authorization and the representation of the author’s work as one’s own, as by not crediting the original author”. Sen. Tito Sotto’s pertinacious refusal to apologize for allegedly plagiarizing quotes of U.S. president John F. Kennedy to embellish his senate speech on the pitfalls of contraception was for the most part, consistent of his understanding ( or misunderstanding) of what plagiarism means. Sotto explained that he took some ideas from the article, put his own spin on it, expressed the thought in another language hence no longer a instance of the original, therefore the act does not necessarily smack of plagiarism. He further added that the owner of the article should be proud because ” imitation is the highest form of flattery”. Not entirely wrong, woefully out of context but can’t argue much at such Iskul Bukol logic can you ?

Continue reading

PEE BREAK STORIES

coffee-break-vector-65776The other night I sat down with a buddy of mine at a coffee joint close to his home to discuss the renewal of my insurance policies. My buddy is a part time insurance agent and being a loyal friend, I am always happy to give him the business. While we ironing out the options – my buddy with his laptop and me with my tablet – an elderly Pinoy man , probably in his early 60’s sat down for coffee at the nearby table facing us, well within earshot distance. Me and my buddy were conversing in Tagalog so we could have some privacy and alas this bugger became a total distraction for us for he could hear everything we talked about. Maybe he wasn’t a Pinoy but the inquisitive and unabashed stare suggested he was listening intently. At the point when confidential questions were about to be asked, I took my phone and texted my buddy “ don’t look now but there is a chizmozo beside us – let’s change the subject”. We stopped talking for a bit. I went for a pee break, came back to the table and talked about tablets and HDTVs and cable TV options. I slowly sensed the intruder’s eyes wandering around the coffee shop. He probably sensed that we got irked with his wiretapping or found our conversation a little too fuzzy for his interest. Minutes later his wife arrived, bought some donuts and coffee for herself and both left. Me and my buddy resumed our transactional conversation. I then quipped “ you know that Pinoy man ? Maybe he was interested to buy insurance, that’s why he was listening ! “ My buddy was a little startled and replied “ yeah, maybe you’re right. Why didn’t I think about that ? “ Too late though – he drove out of the parking lot.

GERALD ANDERSON

paskuhanLast Sunday we were at the Paskuhan Village event at the Toronto Metro Convention Center. Celebs John Lloyd and Bea Alonzo were unable to make it so substitutes Gerald Anderson, Sam Milby and Toni Gonzaga aptly filled in. I have a feeling my wife could dump me anytime for Gerald Anderson ;). Being a mom doesn’t exempt her from being an irrational fan of someone young enough to be her son…or let’s just say for political correctness, her nephew :) But at least she isn’t one who would shriek and jump about uncontrollably like those crazed Justin Bieber fans. It would be a total travesty and unfitting example to our 10 year old daughter who was with us at the show. I could imagine my daughter admonishing my wife “ Mom – stop it. You’re embarrassing me :) IMO, I thought the trio were be a better draw than the original couple. That Sam guy could sing I tell you.

Continue reading

AN UNTITLED POST

I am back after a long recess. My brain is a little rusty. The reason for twiddling my thumbs and procrastinating for my comeback post was insanely simple – I couldn’t drum up a good title. I am serious. One thing I’ve learned is that a long lay off makes you lazier to write. Maybe the excellent summer weather or the relocation of my office to another city had to do something with it. I had such a terrific summer that I couldn’t muster enough gusto to write. I am disappointed that I could only whip up a measly 10 posts or less this year. Driving 1.5 hours one way ( more depending on traffic) may have contributed to my remissness. My early morning ritual at the driveway is like going to an excursion or fishing trip. My laptop bag, gym bag for the workout , lunch bag plus the usual 3 fruit a day combo, my holy trinity of fruits – banana, apple and orange – my tall coffee mug filled with extra large brewed java, a breakfast to go cereal bar takes me a couple of trips back to the house before finally slamming down the trunk of the car. At the height of summer I would have to throw my golf clubs in the trunk every now and then. After work a short trip to the driving range or a quick 9 hole at late twilight ( 5pm) at the nearby golf course extends my work day until sunset, except that in summer the sun sets at 930pm here. I had to watch TV too. Blogging had to take a back seat.

It’s autumn , getting a little colder therefore things move a little slower. No more golf, no more fishing, no more picnics, no more backyard bbqs. People seem to have a bit more time to recoup and focus on things they have missed during the busy summer season. You see I have a whole slew of topics I’d like to blog about but they’ve been sitting idle in my smartphone’s memo pad for months. I have no excuse for not having any ideas to blog about. It’s just plain laziness.

WARRING POLITICIANS

When I did my last post in April, Barack Obama was president. I was kinda speculating that in my comeback post he might not be the president and a republican would take over. I’m glad Obama won. I’m not American so I can’t vote but Barack Obama bailed out Wall Street and that’s the reason why I still have a job. I work for a Wall St. bank outside the US of A. Like the US auto workers who were bailed out by Obama, I would have no second thoughts of voting for the man. If he saved my job – he gets my vote. Prove me figging wrong – or can you ? No brainer eh ? Politicians fulfill the saying – you cannot establish a reputation by telling people what you are going to do. Yep, all the crap talk and the lies included. I shake my head knowing that Mitt Romney unequivocally opposed the bailout of the auto industry, yet in his campaign he trotted around GM, Chrysler and Ford counties asking for their votes and promising the world – a glaring testament to the two-facedness of politicians at its best on display here.

Continue reading

Austerity

Austerity was the most searched word in 2010 according to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary. Not a real surprise because the global community was at the crest of an economic crisis short of the Great Depression that year and ordinary folk may have encountered the word “austerity measures” a little too often both in both print and TV media. Austerity comes from the root word austere which means “rigourously self disciplined and severely moral”. When applied to economics, it translates to ” financial belt tightening”. In short, if the house is in severe financial stress it needs to cut expenses to pay off a mounting debt. Everyone must make a sacrifice by spending less, curtailing whims and spendthrift habits, holding off on unecessary purchases to keep the books in order. The government being the catalyst of the economy must keep its financial house in even keel amidst the tempest and austerity measures is a proven recipe to keep it afloat . Politicians are known to act slow on austerity measures for fear that reducing expenses and social services would ruin their approval rating and therefore risk not getting re-elected. When people are pissed with the economy, they show their vengeance at the polls. Take the case of Greece. It is so unbelievable that the country was going bankrupt if not for the Europen Union bailout that saved it from doom. The bailout wasn’t without strings attached though. The EU demanded that Greece shrink the size of its government, reduce expenses by a certain percentage to keep its book in order else the bailout won’t be granted. Citizens who feared losing their government jobs or pensions took to the streets and rioted, burned buildings, cursed their politicians and demanded a status quo – no changes. It boggles my mind how people react to dire situations. How in the hell can you get out of bankruptcy if you don’t give up something ?? This reminds me of a quote of Albert Einstein ” We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them

PINAS

Enter Pinas. Do we ever complain – burn buildings, stage riots because we are fed up with the government ? Do we ever punish politicians at the polls ? No. Why ? Well, first of all there are millions of us who are either freeloading with relatives or engaged in the underground economy and don’t pay taxes and never get any service from the government – so why give a rat’s ass anyways ? And, we don’t vote for performance. We vote for emotional reasons – we like the person or the family name – period. At the end of the day, our elected politicians possess that sense of entitlement to do anything they want while poverty increases and guess what – we just keep quiet and suffer in silence. Austerity ? We know what that word means. We’ve been stretching it out for many decades now. Who needs social services when we have family to bail us out ?
Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.