EDUCATION POLICE

When we coin an odd sounding term like “Education Police” we immediately conjure thoughts about the state and it’s cane wielding cops chasing after truants and drop-outs, making sure they get back to the classroom. In a communist regime perhaps but as we all know, communism is no longer cool these days, if not totally dead. In this era of global democracy where people have the liberty to educate themselves to their own liking, the idea of Education Police unexpectedly sprung up in democratic South Korea on a completely different mission – to prevent students from killing themselves from studying too much. In the land of Hyundai, Samsung and LG, competition for good jobs is tightening up that families are willing to bet their houses so their kids can get to the elite universities. Shades of Pilipinas eh ? You can’t get a good job in Pinas nowadays if you’re not from the elite schools . I heard stories of security guards rejecting applicants right at the door if they’re not elite school graduates. Tough competition like Korea except that we don’t have global giant corporations like Hyundai, Samsung, LG to show for. We are twice as many in numbers as the South Koreans making jobs even harder to find. In short, we’re behaving like the South Koreans but we don’t have the industrial infrastructure to show for and we are increasing our population with total abandon as if hoping that one day, mannah will fall from heaven to quench our hunger and thirst permanently. I am completely befuddled by people who totally miss a crucial point in the population control debate, that in order for a country to be progressive, it has to produce a population of potential taxpayers and not freeloaders, wanderers and hobos.
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Weekday Musings

There are times when we dread changes, especially those we can’t control and we are faced with a decision to opt out or bite the bullet. One such life changing event is when your office decides to move out of town and you are given the choice to tag along or part and seek employment elsewhere. The company promises a hassle free departure, without prejudice much like uncontested divorce, should you decide to part – so they say. Commuting 100kms return daily could be a bitch but your hands are tied when you’ve spent many years with the company. You could jeopardize your retirement in case you decide to leave for the sole reason of convenience. I have to make a crucial decision. I sure will my miss my express train and my crossword puzzle ( need to print the online version now 🙂 ) I would be spending on gas this time, a bit more than my monthly train pass. But I could look at the positive side of things. I may miss my downtown walks and gigs with my officemates but I would be working in the suburbs where the air is fresh and golf courses are mere minutes away. I won’t need to pay for parking at the train station and bundle up myself from head to toe in winter. With a good jacket I could just climb into the heated comfort of my car and drive to my office. As they say, you can’t have everything you want in life. It is always a balancing act between the pluses and minuses. We shall see.

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Thoughts on Happiness

We could come up with hundreds of motivational quotes on happiness, talk and rationalize about them our entire lifetime but one thing is sure – each of us would have already dealt with the pursuit of happiness on our individual , unique ways from the moment we knew we existed. There are times when we would be in a state of quandary, not fully understanding what happiness really means, more so when abrupt, life changing events punctuate our journey. As we move on in life, happiness increasingly behaves like a variable not a constant. Often times it is gives us the illusion of being perpetually elusive and unreachable, much like a Shangri-la. Happiness is like a chameleon that perhaps we can’t precisely define what it really is but we can certainly experience what we may call our personal versions of it.

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence” …Aristotle

This sounds so amazingly simplistic and it does pack a big punch. Do I have the right to my own individual happiness ? No ifs and buts about it – you bet I do, much like everyone else. How about people who curtail if not abandon their own personal pursuits and aspirations for the sake of others, loved ones most especially, so that they could be happy ? Have they missed the real purpose and meaning of life ? An example would be the dude who works overseas in a western country, perhaps even illegally, lives in a cramped rented bedroom and thrives on cheap canned food so he could send all his earnings back to Pinas so his wife and kids could buy a new car and take tours to Hongkong and Singapore. I bet you many would say – it’s noble, commendable, inspiring, etc.. The dude is doing a noble thing indeed. But if his family has any clue of what gratitude means and really care about their father, they should rid of the selfishness, make good use of the stipend received to improve their lives, finish school, get jobs and extricate themselves from the dependency bind expediently so that Dad could take a break and enjoy life himself. If happiness is indeed “the meaning and the purpose of life and the whole aim and end of human existence”, Dad shouldn’t be the sacrificial lamb. If his family truly cares about him, he shouldn’t be the oxen pulling the yoke his entire lifetime carrying everyone in the family until his last breath.
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Cyberwoes

About 3 years ago I attended a security luncheon seminar at a press club hosted by a national telecom carrier and moderated by popular CBC broadcast journalist Wendy Mesley. I bet people went, yours truly included, to see Wendy in person ; after all, she is a topnotch TV anchor with a vibrant, engaging and pleasing personality (my all time favorite anchorbabe is Erica Hill, formerly of CNN and now with CBS, who is still stunning after making it to the People Magazine’s 100 most beautiful people list in 2006 [#35]). Wendy was definitely a show on her own but the seminar wasn’t bad at all. Former hackers turned G-men and RCMP crime busters were on the podium sharing their experiences , both from the conman and G-man side of the fence , likewise taking questions from the audience . At one point everyone froze momentarily, instinctively groped for their back pockets and wallets when the security experts hurled an unexpected question to the crowd “ have you ever tried googling your VISA or Mastercard account number ? If it shows up it is likely compromised as hackers may have sold your card number to scammers over the internet . Credit card numbers are sold from anywhere 10 cents to a dollar per number by cyberthieves. “ Everyone was silent, perturbed by the thought that their credit cards may have been compromised. In that brief moment of anxiety, Wendy Mesley turned from Snow White to evil Cruella de Vil for being a bearer of potential bad news 😦 We left sensitized with the importance of awareness and vigilance but at the same time apprehensive with the thought that danger lurks in cyberspace and that as implementors and users of technology we must be one step ahead of the underworld elements when it comes to protecting valuable information.
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An Un-Christmas Post

When I was about 10 years old growing back home in Pinas, I always wondered how Santa Claus managed to sneak into our home on Christmas Eve to deliver my wish list. Santa was spot on too. He never erred in providing the stuff we eyeballed at our window shopping trip at the nearby city a week or two before Christmas Day. Being the curious cat I spied on my aunt who I discovered was tasked to procure the gifts that me and my siblings wanted. No wonder why she always seemed to know what Santa can and can’t give 😉 One day I revealed to my siblings what I felt, that Santa wasn’t real and our parents were the real Santa. Despite being the eldest, I didn’t gain any converts. When we all woke up that Christmas Day, all my siblings had their gifts by the tree delivered by Santa. Mine was nowhere to be found. Sensing that I was about to cry, my auntie told me to look around the house as Santa might have misplaced my presents. Alas, I found my presents in the kitchen area, near the garbage bin. My parents warned me that Santa was upset with me because I questioned his existence and if I continued to disbelieve he may not come the next year. Heck, I was interested in the presents more than anything so I shut my mouth.

Last week my daughter told her friend, ” since Santa never gave you an American Girl doll maybe you can leave your wish letter at our Christmas tree. You see Santa gave me one two years ago.” I interjected – ” Not quite girl. Santa only gives the gifts directly to the requester’s home not elsewhere. That is Santa’s golden rule.” 😉 But come to think of it, with the proliferation of the internet nowadays, googling ” is Santa real ? ” could just be a few keystrokes away isn’t it ? I tried and found a slew of fuzzy answers ranging from no, yes, well it depends, maybe but, and what not. Unless young kids venture into the more complex encyclopedic websites , which could be way beyond their league in terms of comprehension, answers.com doesn’t seem capable of giving a definitive answer.
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When Less Could Be Better

When I stumbled upon this video, I was reminded of an incident 9 years ago when me and my wife rented a pretty and cozy little cabin by the lake at a resort at beautiful Lake Tahoe. The “little house on the prairie” 😉 was almost perfect but the bed was nowhere to be found. My wife went bonkers and was about to make a scene at the front office when I discovered that the bed was cleverly embedded at the wall close to the fireplace area. It was a Murphy bed – a space saver to the max. All we needed to do was pull it down when we wanted to use it. An ugly confrontation averted. I bet the wife didn’t relish the thought of having our 2nd honeymoon on a sofa bed 🙂

Less could be better. Paradoxical maybe but how true. I’m not a die hard environmentalist and I’m not about to argue about footprint and carbon emission. It would be another blog topic. But I do agree on the smart and productive use of space. My point is more on the stress of managing the extraneous, unnecessary stuff that lie around our home. Anytime you increment the number of your possessions, the stress of managing them increases. It could be costly too. Changing batteries of 8 wrist watches could cost you money let alone the drag of taking each them to the watch store. Remember the days you were a student and your only possessions were a handful of clothes and books ? That was mighty stress liberating wasn’t it? Less could be better isn’t gospel but practical wisdom especially during this holiday season when our penchant for acquisitiveness lurks like an evil shadow tempting us to break our wallets.  Once again, it is the season not only to be merry, but to scrounge around for bargains on anything and amass them at our castles. The say we effectively only use 20% of our wardrobe. 80% of this 20% we consider our favorite, wearing them more often. This translates to the reality that 80% of our clothes are no more than closet junk.

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Boredom City

Are there issues that bore you to death, like you want to puke when you hear them ? Not that they are totally irrelevant but it just that they grab you differently, with the monotony suffocating you gradually, like they’re squeezing your balls ? 😦

Here’s a couple of them for me :

A. Trial of Michael Jackson’s doctor

Common now – what the heck do we really want folks ? Closure as in hanging MJ’s doctor ? Do we really believe the doctor had malicious intent to kill MJ ? For what ? Was he a significant beneficiary to Michael’s will ? I can’t believe seeing the the daily coverage of the boring trial on TV as if people are waiting for an outcome that would ressurect MJ. Michael’s gone and we must let him rest in peace. The doc doesn’t have money like Steve Jobs. You won’t gain anything by flattening him out, suing the heck out of him to milk him financially dry . Others simply want to appease their emotions, believing that their beloved idol was murdered hence the vengeance call to hang the damn bastard who did it. We must not forget that MJ had the the ultimate responsibility to his body. In the end, he was the author of his own misery – not someone else. Unfortunately there are millions of dimwitted MJ fans out there who can’t discern reality from fantasy. MJ is dead. Let’s move on.

B. The RH Bill

This debate had been going on forever and frankly, the topic just bores me to death. What’s the big fuzz about this anyway ? We’re not even talking abortion here (well, others are steering the argument towards abortion when it isn’t to gain traction – obviously) We’re simply extending and funding the accepted family planning practices to the can’t afford folks so that they can reproduce responsibly. And – more importantly, no one is being coerced. Oh well, I guess I better quit talking now.

Here’s a satire video from George Carlin about the sanctity of life. I’m not endorsing Carlin’s views in its entirety but I do like his humor and candor. I’m so bored shit with the RH debate that I’d like to throw this video smack dab into people’s faces , both pro and anti and tell them ” we are all hypocrite bastards – aren’t we ” ?

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