Mystery Voter

Shouldn’t election results, even national elections, be finalized within the same day? Expediency is a must because ballot counting that takes days and weeks are prone to tampering as well as “various forms irregularities” that we all fear to be happening even as we speak. My wife was told by her sister on the phone yesterday that a neighbor who voted on election day saw her name on the registration list with a check as having voted. Problem is my wife left Pinas 10 years ago. Who voted in her place? This kind of irregularity is rampant but who knows what else is happening during the long wait for the final results ? The wait isn’t only agonizing but it also opens the door to tampering and no amount of watchdogs and foreign observers can discern what’s happening behind the closed doors of agency responsible for protecting the sanctity of these ballots.

Pinas must learn from other nations and eliminate the outmoded and corruption prone popular voting. There is no sense in having the entire population vote for a national candidate. The massive ballot count is not only physically taxing and costly but also prone to errors and manipulation. Canada’s highly decentralized party system and the U.S. electoral college are examples of systems that streamlines and simplifies the ballot count. Along with the high tech counting system, it is facilitates the expedient counting of votes which are completed before midnight of election day. It is time for Pinas to change – the present system is extremely flawed.

MEN FIRST !

It’s Victoria Day long weekend here and the weather had been quite excellent despite the chilly but balmy wind. I’m a happy camper with 17 deg C frankly speaking and I don’t really mind the cardigan or light sweater. I love it when the heater and aircon is silent the whole day πŸ™‚ My buddy and I teed-off at a nearby public golf course early this morning and we were paired with a charming Korean couple, probably in their fifties. At the first tee, I casually suggested – ” OK, should we have the lady tee-off first?” Without hesitation, the husband blurted out emphatically – ” No, men first “. LOL πŸ™‚ Oh well, maybe we should have told his wife directly πŸ™‚ What can I say ? As I said , they were a friendly and charming couple πŸ™‚

CALGARY, ALBERTA

I travelled to Calgary quote a few times within the last 6 months( work related) and I’d be remiss if I didn’t devote half a page of my blog to the Calgary, Alberta – Canada’s oil capital and the much celebrated boomtown city. Here’s a shot I took of the Calgary Tower, a 626 ft. structure and by no means towering if compared to Toronto’s CN Tower ( 1800 ft.) The elevator ride was excruciatingly slow and what could you expect of a structure that was built 40 years ago. It certainly lacks the fast and hi-tech glass elevators but does stand in the right spot with an excellent view of the city and the vast and seemingly endless tract of land that stretches all the way to the oil rich sands in the far north.

I get a chill down my spine when I step on this glass floor and look down. Thoughts of the glass breaking and me skydiving minus the parachute isn’t too comforting. This is just a small spot – not the entire floor for heaven’s sake πŸ™‚ I know that the glass is darn thick but silly thoughts like the tower shaking and the glass dislodging from the frame hover in my brain the whole time.

Here’s a partial shot of downtown with the Canadian Rockies in the background. Calgary isn’t a mega city like Toronto but has the distinction of being the cleanest city in the world ( 4 Canadian cities are in the top 10). Opulence isn’t something you would easily find here. Their 5 star hotels are spartan compared to those in world class cities. The rooms are small but functional. Blame that on the cowboy, hardworking traits of the founders of this place.

If Toronto has the PATH, a climate-controlled underground walkway at the downtown core full of shops, restaurants, banks, subway stops where people congregate during winter, Calgary has “skywalks” or bridges connecting every major building at the downtown core. Skywalks much like the underground allows people to move around the downtown buildings minus their boots and winter topcoats. One interesting fact about Calgary is their C-trains are free as long as you travel within the down town area.

I’m quite suprised why this wonderful work of art was installed at a most awkward spot – an intersection of a crowded street. It’s difficult to get a good shot of this masterpiece with the telephone street box in the way! I’ve moved back and forth trying to get a good shot but couldn’t. Oh well, I’m not a professional photographer anyway so i’m forgiven. Notice the TV camera aimed right at the horse. I wonder what it is for πŸ™‚

I took the photo of this picture at the Tower. Calgary had its first economic windfall in the 70’s when the oil prices skyrocketed. The prosperity didn’t hold on for long when oil prices plummeted in the 80’s. Calgary learned the hard way and has since then diversified its economy and vowed to undertake the ecomonic challenge head on. The recent oil boom had triggered an economic windfall in the province and Calgary is on the map once again. Hopefully this time the mistakes of the 70’s will be avoided. If I was to immigrate to Canada tomorrow, I’d come to Calgary, where jobs are a plenty.


( click on picture to enlarge)

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31 Responses

  1. It can get more mysterious than that bro; in our hometown, even the dead rises on election day and be counted as voters…That’s just how backward the system here.

    ooooh, that glass floor is so scary; especially for me who seem to have a phobia for heigths..Cool pics by the way.

  2. My friend said that her deceased father beat them to the voting precinct in the past presidential election. She was so furious and complained about it but nothing happened.

  3. We were supposed to count the ballots but we had chickenpox. But anyway, we only had about 250 voters in Phnom Penh and it them about 7 hours to count. It’s not that easy. It was worse in 2005. We had about 315 voters and the counting lasted almost 12 hours. The procedures are soooooo tedious, that’s why it takes so long. What more precincts with thousands and thousands of voters?

    Calgary looks like a futuristic space. Those skywalks remind me of the Jetsons. Canada really looks like an awesome place to live in.

  4. BW,

    There’s an article clipped on Filipina Soul’s blog site about 2 candiddates in the mountain province of Luzon settling their tie up for the eight seat in the city council by tossing a coin.

    Alberta is really booming ha! I met a lot of Canadians talking about Alberta and some on their way to move to Alberta when I was on the road in BC last year. It sure looks nice from your photos. I might include Alberta on my next trip there. I really enjoy riding your highways there and I must commend the Canadian Parks Dept. for maintaining your beautiful and clean campgrounds..and free firewood. A campfire is a must for me when I ride and camp solo, I call it “Caveman’s TV”, it lulls me to sleep after a day of adrenaline induce riding on your beautiful highways.

    Have you seen that new glass vista point sticking off the side of the Grand Canyon in Arizona? Very similar to that glass elevator you showed us. Yeah, your imagination can really run wild on that ride up with sweaty palms. I would’ve wet my pants if that thing started shaking while I’m on it going up!

    Like I’ve mentioned to you before, there is a putting green right behind our building here at UCLA but we use it for the Italian BOCCE BALL game or I take out my banig out there to take my after lunch naptime. I hope to learn playing golf one day.

  5. Politics are a dirty game…
    Wow! Calgary looks modern !

  6. Here in the Philippines, if you are a political candidate and you have no well oiled political machinery to buff you up, kawawa ka, you will be prone to being cheated in the counting because nobody will watch your votes. Kaya nga, when you run in the election without sufficient funds, your chances of winning is very slim.

  7. The elevator with the glass floor is definitely freaky! I don’t know if I could take that elevator. πŸ˜‰

    The horse sculpture is pretty creative.

    And the last photo of the poster, what’s with the two guys on motorcycles? Surely, there’s prouder moments for Calgary than those two guys. hehe

  8. Major Tom -wooo, rising form the dead – that’s a bit too much 😦 Here they base the registration list on the latest census. Don’t they do this in Pinas? It’s sweaty palm time for me standing on that glass floor I can tell you πŸ™‚

  9. Abaniko – that’s the sad part – when you complain and nothing is being done to correct it 😦 So much for watchdogs and observers when you have a questionable registration list in the first place.

  10. Noypetes – coin toss for the winner? I guess they don’t trust each other for a recount LOL πŸ™‚ Wow,
    hats off to you for cruising on a bike by yourself ! I guess you do like to commune with nature
    with your camping solo – just stay away from the bears πŸ™‚ The mountain ranges end up in Alberta
    and from there all the way to Ontario it will be the flat prairie and can be boring according to those who travelled by train. THe mountains start appearing again in Queubec πŸ™‚

  11. Rhodora – I know it is not easy to run , much more win for a political office back home. You got to have the funds for sure plus the connections. And as I said – what else is new in politics ? πŸ™‚ I guess You must be pretty well connected and loaded yourself thinking of running as councilor in your hometown hehe πŸ™‚

  12. I’ve never liked politics, but I still believe in the so-called Filipino’s (flawed) right to suffrage.

    I don’t know. I just feel like if I don’t step up or vote. I don’t have the right the complain, which I do a lot.

  13. I was in Calgary 2 years ago and visited the tower , sort of like a mini CN tower. Yeah, this city is booming. I love that its only an hour away from Banff.

    So its a great time for glfing now huh? Enjoy.

  14. I don’t think you can ever get me to step on that glass floor.

    Nice travel pics! I like them.u

  15. I do not think there will a be change in the way the philippine election is carried out simply because most if not all the people who will make laws to change the process exploited the flaws to get in to office and who will definitely pass on on to their siblings, wife or wives the techniques of getting away with it by crooks and by crook.

    The only thing I wish for at this time is for the Filipino people to be wiser and demmand not with words but with actions their rights as masters of these inutile politicians and not the opposite.

  16. I agree with Myepinoy, nothing will change for as long as the ones legislating our laws are products of political dynasties themselves. And they’ll do everything in the book to hold on to that power…

    I hate to say or even think about this but, it seems that it will take a bloody revolution to finally dislodge these thorns in our system. But then again, we’d be saddled with a new generation of tyrants… hay nako!

    Man, must be fun living in those places, huh? πŸ™‚

  17. i don’t know who to blame anymore, but electronic voting and counting seem to be resisted.

    filipinos just deserve a break from all the politicking. i heard that they are about to proclaim as winners the top 8 (or is it 9) senatorial candidates. now what happens with the remaining 3 or 4? those contending for the remaining slots will then pointing at each other, faulting each other of election fraud. a vicious cycle, indeed.

  18. Jeff – I guess you are one of those people who simply doesn’t have faith in the system. No worries – you are not alone bro 😦

  19. Eric – I know it’s kinda scary, believe me πŸ™‚ There was this guy who owned a business – making
    sturdy glass walls for buildings. He was so proud of his product that every time a customer came for a meeting he would run and bang his shoulders onto the glass wall of his office, much like an NFL linebacker would do to an opposing team. One day he was bragging to his would be client, did the stunt but the glass wall broke and he fell to his death. This was listed as one of the stupidest cause of death. It happened right here at downtown Toronto.

  20. MyePinoy – that’s what I think too, that the people in power refuse to change because the flawed
    system suits their sinister plans. I would hate to sound pessimistic but I believe all politicans
    are in an unholy alliance to make the most out of their powers. That’s the reason why Marcos and Erap weren’t given the supreme punishment. Thieves can’t seem to hang their fellow theives.

  21. SexyMom – proclaiming the 8 would be a disaster ! Whoa – shouldn’t they finish ALL counting before proclaiming the winners?? That is just so shortsighted 😦

  22. BW,
    Here’s my take on the political dynasty issue that was debated in the Phil. Batasan and published on the newspaper. I copy/pasted it with my comments inserts:(my apologies for the length of the article)

    “WTF!#%*!!!!! DIE NASTY Anal Orifices!!
    “I don’t particularly condemn it, because it is practiced all over the world. It’s unfortunate, but it’s done all over the country,” re-electionist Sen. Joker Arroyo said yesterday.

    NP:…..Ano ba talaga Mr. Senator? It’s a deplorable practice among the political elites in the Philippines but you’re fine with it?

    “Remember President Kennedy, while he was in office, Robert Kennedy was attorney general and then Edward Kennedy ran and all the Kennedys ran. Even a third set of Kennedys also ran,” Arroyo recalled.

    “The Russian parliament, the Duma, I think during the communist time they also had patronage. They also had pork barrel. That’s also the way the Politburo was able to control them,” Arroyo said.

    NP:…..Mr. Senator taon ng 2007 na po ngayon! At underdeveloped Philippines pa lang po ito!

    Fellow senatorial candidate Vicente “Tito” Sotto III also noted apprehensions over efforts to revive the anti-dynasty bill.

    Sotto was not particularly concerned about prohibiting immediate members of a politician’s family from seeking public office, but on allowing a politician’s mistress, or the relatives of his mistress, from joining politics.

    “At first, I don’t know where I should stand on that issue because I had a problem with that.

    NP:…..Huh???

    As the late Sen. Raul Roco pointed out to me, the original political dynasties in Philippine politics are the Rocos and the Sottos,” he said. Sotto revealed two of his grandfathers, Vicente Sotto and Felimon Sotto, were veteran senators during their time.

    NP:…..Aaah ganuon pala!

    “I really have a problem with political dynasty. But I am against political dynasty. Now the problem is, it’s very difficult to define,” Sotto said.

    NP:…..Huh??!..(ulit!)

    “I asked him (Mercado and proponents) up to what degree will this be allowed? Their answer was second degree, but others said third. Then, I asked, do we have a provision about mistresses? Everybody laughed,” Sotto recalled. “But I asked them again, How can this be? It’s a real problem. When I brought it out, they just laughed then they realized that it is an open secret that most politicians also have mistresses,” he said. Sotto said the anti-dynasty bill never took off because of moral questions.

    NP:……Aah..hahahahah!…huh?

    People of the Philippines, these are your legislators at work!”

  23. Noypetes – political dynasties die hard. Names mean a lot and voters, esp in the Phils play the game of regionalism a lot. The Marcoses will be unbeatable in Ilocos for generations to come. Our Pinoy election still reeks with the tribal mentality. We will vote for a candidate who speaks our dialect regardless of his credentials !

  24. onli in the d pilipins.

    and with your post about calgary, a lot will have higher hopes in their migration dream πŸ™‚

  25. Such efficient expediency on election day would be expensive. But I am all for it. If the government can waste our taxes on repaving perfectly good roads, I think they can surely find the money to make this possible. But then again, they don’t profit from such endeavors. It’s a vicious cycle… ultra-depressing.

    Calgary looks charming. I too have altophobia so I can totally relate with the shaky knees. That deconstructed metal horse sculpture looks great! I remember when we went to Rome, I felt the same way when I saw the Pantheon. It didn’t have the emphasis it deserved. I’m guessing it’s the same with the horse, it must’ve already been there before the surrounding buildings were erected. I have always wondered: why do Americans make fun of Canadians a lot?

  26. Tin – yes, there’s lack of skilled labor in Calgary and there’s no reason why this cannot be supplied by immigration. A supermarket chain was in the news as it recruited workers from other provinces, paid their fare and gave them temp housing πŸ™‚ Not sure what’s being done now but at one point Alberta govt officials and businesses were in Toronto hosting a job fair πŸ™‚

  27. Alternati – fixing good roads is good business eh? hehe..

    In Rome where all the ancient buildings are preserved, the city planners are wary of its evolution, mixing the new with the old. I remember when I was in Rome I had to walk miles to get to the lone McDonalds joint and this was waaay back in the late eighties. And a city like Istanbul having the old and the new Istanbul side by side is another example of preserving their heritage.

    If you are on this side of the fence, we make fun of Americans too πŸ™‚ They say Canadians are a quiet and boring bunch and some say they are more civil and respectful people but to think that the best comedians in the business today – Jim Carey, Dan Akroyd, Martin Short, Howie Mandell, Mike Myers are Canadians makes it even more ironic πŸ™‚

  28. The glass floor is scary. Skydiving minus the parachute? I can’t even begin to think about it.:) I like the skyway idea.

  29. Ipanema – skydiving minus the parachute at 600 ft is like a coconut falling to the ground πŸ™‚

    It is scary esp when you fear the glass breaking all of a sudden or some nut starts jumping up and down stressing the glass.. fear..fear.. 😦

  30. the voting system in the phil. is passe’…but i think it is of purpose that they dont want to improve, update or implement the latest counting technic at all.

    is there no greens in calgary? it looks very futuristic.

  31. Curacha – you said it – they don’t want to change it because the present system allows those in power to cheat ! Looks like the counting for the senatorial race isn’t even compeleted yet 😦

    Yes there’s green in Calgary. I was just taking shots at the downtown area πŸ™‚

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