The Apology Act

2008-02-1320apology20compensation20aborigines20rudd20226233In our highly individualistic and litigious society where people have the tendency to sue left and right for being allegedly injured whether unintentionally or maliciously, the Ontario government had followed what other provinces and some countries have done to trim down the number of personal injury lawsuits – legislate the Apology Act.

In a nutshell, the Apology Act allows a person to say sorry to the aggrieved party without fear of “ it being used as evidence of liability in a civil legal proceeding under provincial law”. It other words, expressing an apology doesn’t translate to admission of guilt. An apology tends to mend the heart of the aggrieved and the government hopes that this new law would reduce the incidence of personal injury lawsuits. I’m not so sure how lawyers who specialize in personal injury cases would feel about this but it certainly does look like it might induce their lucrative trade into a permanent recession.

I remember the much publicized case of the Valley Golf Club mauling where Sec. Pangandaman publicly apologized for the incident, where two of his sons got involved. Many people mistook his expression of regret as a confession of guilt. Under the Apology Act such statements cannot be used as evidence of liability on the part of the Pangandamans. It does however promote some sense of conciliation and restoration of civility.

 

POVERTY AS AN EXCUSE FOR INDIGNITY

images1The recently much publicized case of Nicole, the Pinay who recanted her rape statement years after her rapist, an American sailor languished in jail, startled many observers with the incredulous twist to the story. It was learned that she was allegedly handed P100K and an immigrant visa to the U.S. in exchange for the exoneration of the American. As expected, conspiracy theories emerged, the most obvious of them was it was overall a ploy of the American government to repatriate its jailed citizen, at the expense of the mockery of the Phil. justice system. I’m not here to argue about the whys and the wherefores of this case because it has been beaten black and blue in the papers and cyberspace. I am here to say that I am rather surprised at the degree of unanimity of Pinoy commenters who believe that Nicole’s act of selling her soul to the devil, of putting a price tag on her dignity and moral value was justified to extricate herself from poverty. This kind of reasoning seem to pervade people’s minds nowadays that somehow it is justified to rob, steal, kill, sell your body so you can put food on the table for the family. It is a disconcerting feeling really because on one angle the country is on its high road to moral bankruptcy and what is even more frightening is the harrowing thought of the haves who continue to impoverish the have nots so they can exploit them down to their bare souls. When poverty becomes an acceptable excuse for indignity, it is a tell tale sign of an impending collapse of such a society.

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Eternal Bliss

As I was intently watching Discovery Channel’s documentary – Journey to the Edge of the Universe – a stunning science special that featured actual images of our universe captured by powerful telescopes and spacecraft combined with computer graphics and superb commentary, my 7 year old daughter quipped – “ is that where heaven is Daddy?” I replied ” no, that’s the heavens. Not quite heaven sweetie”. (Note: if you want to do justice to this documentary, it is an absolute must to view it on HDTV). The breathtaking voyage across the vast expanse of our universe had once again challenged my brain with the thought-provoking subject of an expanding universe.  The incomprehensible notions of infinity and eternity hovered in my mind as the interstellar journey penetrated the nebulous depths of our very own galaxy, the Milky Way, continuing to probe  “other distant galaxies”.   The dimensions and distances mentioned are truly colossal.  What if our earth is as large as Jupiter which is 11 times larger in diameter, how long will a day last ?   When the narrator mentions  – ” the glow of a powerful newborn star from this part of the universe will take some 25,000 years to reach planet earth” or ” our very own sun with extinguish itself in about 6 billion years from now”, I have come to realize the triviality and insignificance of my existence in the overall scheme of things in this extremely humongous and seemingly boundless and unfathomable universe.  The magnificence of the cosmos makes us entertain the mind-boggling and disturbing question – how was the universe created? Disturbing in a sense because it makes us take off our religious blinders if we were to engage in a candid and healthy discussion of such a controversial subject. It is always nice to know what lies on the other side of the coin so to speak. Moreover, there is a quote that says, “ if we speak from authority in a discussion, we are merely quoting from memory”. 

 
There are two contrasting logical views on the birth of our universe. It was either magically created from absolute non-existence, an utterly paradoxical proposal that defies logic and therefore naturally brings forth the second view, a more humanly plausible and comprehensible alternative,  that the universe had always existed. In short, a timeless universe that had no beginning and no conceivable end. 

Contrary to what most people think, the Big Bang theory postulated by science , as the “spark” that created universe that we know today does not preclude its non-existence. Prior to the big bang, a universe was assumed to have existed but with totally different form and physical properties, one that exists in theory and never experienced by earthlings but its properties manifested in some way in the cosmological phenomenon of the enigmatic black hole –  that of a singularity. The big bang event supposedly ushered in or transformed the state of such singularity to the material world or universe that we know today, where physical properties such as time, space and matter began to exist for the first time.  For a non-scientist, ordinary minded folk like myself, the previous and the next link are in my opinion the most comprehensible literature on timeless universe and singularity I discovered in cyberspace.  The author calls the pre big bang universe state of singularity the White World to give it a physical dimension for illustration purposes. Give it a read if you have the time.

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Blogging Overdose

bloggingLast Feb was probably my busiest blogging month ever as I churned out a post every 3 days or so. Well, lately I have been infected with blog laziness. It’s probably the weather as spring whispers its arrival as the days last longer. The anticipation of  roaming the outdoors again is pretty exciting. Or perhaps it is just a case of  me wanting to get a bit more TV time and sleeping a little early these days and that means getting under  the blanket by 11pm.  I feel a bit more relaxed with the increased leisure and sleeping time. True, there’s  a bit more work at the office these days and my office blogging time had likewise reduced.  As actress Lily Tomlin said,  ” for fast acting relief, try slowing down”.  This is not to say that I have run out of blogging ideas. I still want to stick to the “ speaking up and getting out of your comfort zone “ theme but won’t want to be overly negative. I was mulling on writing about the notion of Pinas being the primary supplier of care givers / nannies  to the world, whether it uplifts the image of the country or not but my wife strongly urged me to hold on to my horses because it is a very controversial subject if not emotional  for some people.  Comment well taken so my horns are locked, for now 🙂


DRIVING RULES

catholic-drivingMy wife is a relatively new driver in this country and still intimidated up to now by the freeway,  and prefers to take the regular roads if she can. Her female officemate suggests that she stay on the slower right lane of the freeway to be safe, whereupon another male office mate who hails from a Southeast Asian country interjects in the casual conversation and says “stay in the middle lane, that’s the slow lane. My relatives told me so when I came to this country – that’s where you should stay to be safe”. “Oh common now” retorted the two women. “That’s not what the driving rules say. If you possess our provincial driver’s license you should know the rules.”  An argument ensued and very timely, a customer came in, a truck/rig driver by profession,  to deposit a check, which prompted my wife’s female officemate to propose “ well, this gentlemen is a professional driver. Let us see what he says”. The customer’s verdict – “ whoever told you that the middle lane is the slow lane was bullshitting. There is only one official driving rule in this province and they better know that”. Case closed. I just hope the moron officemate got the gist of the exchange.

Here’s my point. I don’t care which country you come from. I left Pinas for a long time where everybody breaks the driving rules left and right. I’m quite sure it is still the case today. It is even worse in some Asian and Middle Eastern countries. You can’t import your frigging driving rules to this country, where driving is considered a privilege, not a right, where every applicant goes through a stringent graduated  licensing process.  Driving rules were created to establish order and safety and I wonder why I see chaos in the highway because we have no shortage of idiots who either bring their crappy habit or institute their own moronic rules for their own convenience. If I was in that conversation, my horns would go stiff and I would have gored the guy 🙂

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