Bigotry or Honesty ?

gay_marriageThe gay marriage issue is extremely controversial because it not only divides the people of a nation – it further causes deep divisions even within the church itself. While the Catholic church firmly opposes same sex marriage, some denominations even within the more fundamentalist Evangelical churches are struggling with the conflicting sentiments of their adherents. If there are die hard fundamentalists, there are those who ditch their religious leanings in favor of secularism and abide by the wishes of the law of the land. Canada had passed the same sex marriage law and the rest of the world criticized the country as the modern day equivalent of Sodom and Gomorrah. The prophets of doom expected God’s wrath to burn the country to the ground and turn its cursed people into stone. At the end of the day though, the law didn’t encroach on people’s religious persuasions. They were free to continue to believe and practice their time honored religious traditions. In other words the name of the game turned into respect and  tolerance – live and let live.

When Carrie Prejean, Miss California was asked at the Miss USA pageant of what she thinks of same sex marriage, here’s her reply :

“I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that’s how I was raised.”

Miss California’s answer incensed many people including one of the pageant’s directors. Celebrity blogger Perez Hilton called her a stupid bitch. What did they expect her to say ? That she MUST adhere to political correctness and does being politically correct mean that she acquiesce to liberal and popular opinion ?  She was asked and she expressed her opinion without berating the other side – what is wrong with that ? She didn’t she conduct a sermon of what things ought to be, didn’t  she? Alas,  people don’t seem to  understand that there are those who will never agree with gay marriage until their last breath !  We can all have different opinions and need not agree on everything but we can stay united. What’s is the glue of unity ? Respect and tolerance. Sadly, many people have lost touch with reality. They are abusing the tolerance the majority had so graciously afforded them.

(more photos of Quebec City next page )

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Fussy Eater

images1I’m a person that likes to look at things at face value, with more of a take it or leave it mentality.  I’d love everything to suit my taste but also recognize things that can’t be changed. Let me rephrase – I hate straying from the standard,  making exceptions to something that is already set because I hate it when a request drags into an argument.  I believe that a restaurant menu exists because it serves a purpose – to keep things organized. My wife has a penchant for changing things in the menu, even worse, in fast food counters where every item is set and numbered, she’ll throw in something like – “oh, can I have half of this and half of that ?  Or can you put in some of that on this?”  It confuses the server and she’ll reply ” don’t worry – I’m willing to pay if you’ll charge me”.  Then the ” wait, I’ll check with my manager.. blah,blah ” routine  ensues resulting in delay. Gosh. Me ? No problem – give me THAT and everything that comes with the damn thing – pickles, sauerkraut, roasted bugs – whatever and I’ll shut my mouth. Darn, let’s get over with the ordering and start eating for godsakes 🙂 

Lately I’ve learned not to order big because I’ve been given the job of a swiper, a finisher. Very likely my daughter would consume half of what she orders and my wife a little bit more than half therefore we must be conscientious and not allow good food to be dumped into the waste bin when half of Africa is starving.  Additionally, I have to be prepared to swap my plate with the missus, just in case her order becomes a culinary disaster 🙂 “Yuk, this pasta alfredo tastes so crummy. Can we trade  ? “  When I sampled the pasta, it looked like it need a sprinkle of salt and my taste buds gave it a passing grade. Or perhaps, I just have the very non-discriminating taste buds of a pit bull hehe 🙂   I always ask my wife and daughter to place their orders first and when my turn comes, I’d likely say ” just french onion soup for me please”.  Being the finisher I have to leave a bit of room for my tummy.  It could be a drag when we are out on a trip, where we eat in restaurants for every meal. I’m the one who would likely bloat 🙂

Are you a fussy eater? For me being fussy these days doesn’t have to do much with taste but with the kind of food I eat. I’m learning how to drink coffee with low fat milk minus the sugar and boy I’m beginning to get the hang of it 🙂 And yes, I’m getting into the gym once again, after an absence of almost 7 years 😉

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Good Old Quebec City

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After living for so many years in this country, I was glad that my trip to Quebec City, capital of the province of Quebec, finally happened this Easter long weekend. My GPS told me that my 800km one way trip would take some 9 hours but I made it in a little more than 8 leisurely hours including pit stops and pee breaks. I knew that I was in Quebec territory when highways turned into autoroutes, road signs and billboard ads became rather cryptic and the familiar 3 letters of your favorite chicken house turns into this . The so called Charter of the French Language law was passed by the province of Quebec National Assembly in August 1977. The province made it mandatory “to make of French the language of Government and the Law, as well as the normal and everyday language of work, instruction, communication, commerce and business”. Since 1977, you need to travel at your own risk in Quebec highways and throughfares. Heck, I had a hard time plugging in French street names on my GPS let alone the voice prompter of my GPS not knowing how to speak French street names correctly. The message is crystal clear. It is their place and you better learn their language – take it or leave it.

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I am normally satisfied with self help tour brochures but for lack of  time I opted to take the bus tour of old Quebec City along with my wife and daughter. I was glad I did because I had a crash course on Quebec’s illustrious history and appreciated the reason for the centuries old squabble between the French and the Anglos in this country. I now understand the separatist spirit of the Quebecers which up to this day and age remains tamed but precariously alive. French explorer Samuel Champlain arrived in 1608 to establish a colony for mother France on a plateau along the St Lawrence River to be later called Quebec. The name “Quebec”, which comes from the aboriginal Algonquin word kepék meaning “(it) narrows”, originally referred to the area around the Quebec City where the Saint Lawrence River narrows to a cliff-lined gap (wikipedia).

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As the tour guide went around the old fortress city giving us a brief history lesson, I also learned that the British eventually captured Quebec City in 1759 and jointly ruled Quebec for centuries. In last year’s year long fete celebrating 400 years of the founding of Quebec, many Quebecers weren’t too keen on the re-enactment of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, where some 4,000 invading British troops overwhelmed the French defenders. Sentiments die hard, even for centuries. Even until today, the French-Anglo rift although much subdued still exists. Die hard separatists prefer to fly its blue fleur-de-lis flag over the Canadian flag.  Two national referendums on Quebec autonomy were conducted and both resulted in favor of the sovereignists. The last one held in 1995 resulted in a 48%-52% narrow split in favor of remaining in Canada.
 
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The tour bus guide without a hint of reservation tells his passengers in heavily accented English – ” the cities of Toronto, New York, Chicago or even Montreal can be called cosmopolitan, but Quebec City is not. We are unicultural”.  He simply meant that Quebec City is where it all started and its people struggled mightily hard to preserve its language , traditions and culture until this day. In this place there is no compulsion to speak English. Although English units are being taught in school, you can be unilingual French all your life and enjoy its music, movies and arts and advance in your chosen profession without fear of any setback. Quebec City is an amalgamation of the old and new world yet you get the feeling that you are in Europe and not North America. The Quebec countryside with its farm houses and narrow streets is charming and pretty but unmistakably North American though, if not Atlantic Canadian, not quite the same as the rural setting I saw in Southern France. The province of Quebec is truly a distinct society, proud of its rich culture and heritage, it’s people progressive and hardworking. I wish it remains in Canada forever. Que Dieu vous bénisse – Quebec !


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Ang Sinabi ni Chip Tao – Sa Totoo Lang

Tagalog-in na natin ito para magkaintindihan tayo ng lubus-lubusan mga kapwa Pinoy at huwag na natin isama ang mga dayuhan. Kung kahihiyan man ang kinalabasan, tayo tayo lang ang nakaka-alam.

Alam nyo, marami akong nabasang komentaryo ng mga Pinoy tungkol sa column ni Chip Tao dahil nilait raw niya ang lahing Pilipino sa pagsabi niya na ang Pinas raw ay a nation of servants at ang napansin ko, parang chorus line tayong sabay sabay na nagsisigaw na putulin ang ulo at ari ng hambog na Intsik na ito. Hindi ko na tatalakayin kung ano ang dahilan kung bakit sinabi ni Chip Tao ito dahil ang post kong ito ay hindi tungkol sa politika. Ang nais kong siyasatin ay – bakit tayo nasaktan sa sinabi niya ?

Ang unang tanong ko – sa bansa natin, ano ang tingin natin sa mga yaya at katulong? Hindi naman sa paga-ano, may pagka matapobre tayo dahil sa Pinas, ang mga katulong ay sinisuweldohan natin ng mababa sa minimum wage , walang day off, walang benefits. Sapagkat sila ay pinapakain at pinatitira natin sa mga bahay natin, parang tituturing natin na sobra sa sapat ang benepisyo na natatamo nila. Ang totoo ay sila ay parang alipin. Wala silang kinabukasan sa kanilang trabaho. Ngayon, kung ang Pinoy ay lumabas sa Pinas at naging katulong o yaya sa ibang bansa – anong kaibahan – dahil ang mga amo nila ay ibang lahi at sila ay kumikita ng dolyares? Matapobre tayo sa mga katulong sa bansa natin subalit sang-ayon tayo sa mga umalis at namamasukan sa mga estranghero – di yata’t double standard tayo ?? Ang masakit pa, mga degree holder pa ang mga umaalis at pinagmamalaki pa natin – ano ito – sobrang inferiority complex na ibinibigay natin sa estranghero ay katulong na nag-aral sa kolehiyo?

Si Chip Tao ay Asiano at sa Asia dahil sa class system, matapobre rin siya katulad natin. Ang kaibahan lang, walang namamasukan sa kanyang bansa na katulong dahil ang bansa ay mayaman at mataas ang living standards kaya kumukha sila sa ibang bansa. Kung ano ang tingin nya sa katulong -Pinoy man o Intsik- sa bansa niya ay sya rin ang pagturing natin sa mga katulong sa bansa natin. Pareho tayong matapobre kagaya niya. Gayun pa man din, saludo ako sa mga bansa na binigbigyan ng immigration papers ang mga contract workers na katulong pakagatapos ng tatlong taon na pagta-trabaho nila upang sila ay maging malaya na humanap ng ibang trabaho at umunlad at makuha ang kanilang mga pamilya. Itoy katunayan lamang na ang pagsisilbi bilang katulong ay hindi habang buhay na kontrata. May karapatan din ang tao na umunlad katulad ng iba.

Eto pa – ang mga politico natin, sugod marino at akala mo kulang na lang mag declare ng war sa bansa ni Chip Tao subalit ano ba ang nagawa nila sa bansa ? Dahil sa kanilang kasakiman at kasuwapangan, ang Pinas ay namulubi at napilitan ang mga tao na magtrabaho na katulong sa ibang bansa. Ang mga ungas na politico ay panay ang satsat subalit kulang sa gawa para sa bansa kaya walang kaunlaran ang Pinas. Etong naiisip ko – kinagagalak ng mga politico natin na magpadala ng maraming domestic helpers sa abroad para sa mga dollar remittances kahit marami ang na-aabuse ng kanilang mga amo lalong lalo na sa Middle East. Inaasahan kuno ng bansa ang remittances subalit ano ang ginagawa nitong mga unggoy na politico sa kaunlaran ng bansa natin?

Kung talagang sincere tayo sa pag ka upset sa comments ni Chip Tsao, bakit hindi natin tini-training ang mga anak natin to be domestic helpers, nannies DITO MISMO sa bansa natin? Hindi ba ang sabi ng karamihan marangal ang trabaho ng mga namasukan na katulong sa ibang bansa – bakit kaya itituturing natin ito na low class pag sa bansa natin ? Bakit inilalaan natin ang trabaho ng katulong sa mga pinakamahirap sa bansa natin? Umunlad lang ng bahagya ang buhay natin, tayo ay may katulong na sa bahay. Anong tawag natin dito – oppression ng mga mahihirap?

Sang-ayon ako na si Chip Tao ay naging insensitive sa damdamin ng Pinoy ngunit bago tayo magta-tatalak at mag ala-EDSA ulit sa issue na ito at pugutan ng ulo si Chip Tao tingnan muna natin ang mukha natin sa salamin baka tayo’y may pagkahipokrito rin na katulad niya.

Email Blues II – Misrouted Messages

imagesThis is a sequel of some sort to my previous post – Email Blues. The other day a colleague of mine phoned me and asked “how do you recall an email? “ Ayayay.. It was obvious to me that he copied an unintended addressee and wanted to intercept the message before it got read by the recipient ! Microsoft Outlook email has a recall message feature but works only when the recipient hasn’t read the email – yet. If the message has already been read, the recall becomes mere formality because yikes, the harm had been done.

I recall many years ago, when my wife was still working in Pinas – we were on a long distance relationship that time – she had mistakenly addressed her mail for me to her boss, the president of the company ( she was an exec secretary at that time) ! She was raring to go home and hit the send key prematurely , without re-checking the addressee field 😦 The boss intercepted her before she walked out and showed the message on her screen – unopened in the inbox. The boss quipped “ by the way, as you can see, I haven’t read it yet. The subject was a bit strange so I called you to be sure “ 😉 LOL. Embarrassing ! I ultimately received the email and was glad there wasn’t any steamy language hehe.. and it was her response about my planned vacation to Manila 🙂

The thought of sending an email to an unintended party scares me, especially if has to do with office matters which are confidential in nature. I also see a lot of people quarelling on an issue over email – ugh. Why do we have to be stupid to have a transcript, a log of a squabble? A phone call is always best when it comes to settling arguments or disputes because it leaves no track for people to pick up and use against you in future. We all know that email is not the user’s exclusive property. In event of a criminal investigation, employers and email providers are bound by law to turn over email correspondences to the government, and this includes text and Blackberry messages. It may never happen to us but it is important to know our exposure. For now, avoidance of misrouted emails is paramount. A second check of the TO and CC lines wouldn’t harm before we finalize the transmission with the send button !

 

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