For whatever I can share to inform, inspire, enlighten, and bring joy and hope to others, then this blog has best served its purpose.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Patriotism, a walk in the park, and Chinese arrogance

With the communist China's flexing of her military muscle to intimidate neighboring countries by which she had territorial disputes with (most particularly in the East and South China Seas area), we would be witnessing a new form of Hitlerism to flourish in this part of the globe. Red China has become more assertive than ever citing history to be her legal grounds in claiming the entire South China Sea and some parts of the East China Sea as well, which is absurd! It would be like, for example, Italy to cite history to claim back all the nations belonging to the Roman empire of old or for India to own the whole of the Indian Ocean because it bears her name. This new form of Hitlerism in the East is what I would love calling by its other title: "Chinese arrogance".

But unlike Hitler's Nazi Germany known for her blitzkrieg, China uses the Art of War techniques she has acquired and learned from Sun Tzu. Deception is the name of the game for the Chinese. It wouldn't come as a surprise, for anyone who reads Sun Tzu, for a Chinese leader to say "peace" while the action contradicts. Still, territorial disputes from among all nations could be best resolved through diplomatic means. But with China now trying to adapt what was her own version of the United States' "big stick" diplomacy, smaller nations such as the Philippines would be bullied to submission.

Never shall the Philippines give up her sovereignty that easy without a fight. China must be repulsed. Filipinos are known warriors and that warrior spirit lurks in the blood running through their veins waiting to be disturbed. While military might is a big factor in war, courage is everything. Patriotism, to quote from Charles de Gaulle, is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for other people than your own comes first. If China is not amnesiac, she must remember it only took a small force of Mongolians to put her down on her knees in the 13th century. The message is clear: China would be grabbing what she thinks she can benefit from you to support her growing needs. In other words, she’s doing what she likes to do because of greed.

China’s arrogance will one day bring her down to her knees (again). And when that happens, a walk in the park to greet everyone she meets along the way is a much better option than trying to play the troublemaker. We’re all but citizens of this world, after all. We need to respect each other.

Monday, September 24, 2012

How effective your writing is: The importance of a flawless grammar in prose writing

If you think that grammatical errors are just a minor thing in writing, you’re absolutely wrong. Except for poetry writing where what's needed is not a grammarian but an interpreter to a poet's discourse, prose writing requires a consistently flawless grammar to make your writing becomes effective. A flawless grammar, however, is just one of the elements to writing effectively but to fail to comply with would ruin what you're writing about for a particular topic. A good writer should always be aware of his grammar, correct usage of words, and writing style (whether it's formal or conversational, etcetera) in order for the readers to easily absorb what you would like to convey about.

I'm not saying I can only be writing a perfect prose but to try to avoid grammatical errors as much as possible each time I write. I always felt sorry for writers who never seem to care about correct grammars and even typographical errors in their writings but also felt relieved, though, because I wouldn't care to continue reading anymore upon discovering a flaw or two.  Writing is a way to communicate our thoughts to others; we should, therefore, write responsibly and effectively. I would like to share to you some tips on how to write effectively and the importance of a flawless grammar that prose writing should require:

1. Mastery of language. The best way to write effectively for a particular topic is through mastery of language. If you’re not comfortable with the language you are using to express your thoughts, ideas, and emotions through the written words, then you would find it hard to write with ease and grace to make your points.

2. As you write, you need to ask yourself these questions:  “What this is all about and for?”  “What I would like my readers to expect and do?” “Am I making sense at all to them?”

3. A flawless grammar. Imagine reading an article filled with grammatical errors, it will kill the excitement that every reader should have felt reading an interesting topic.

4. Avoid saying too much about yourself except when needed. While it is good to include your personal experiences to make your writings have that personal touch to it, saying too much about your own self is a big no-no. Some people will find it boring to read someone else’s life stories when all they need  to know is for you say something about their problems and how can you find solutions for them, an entertaining read, or something which they can relate a lot with at. When you try to say something about you, make sure you’re talking about them or a particular topic more than you’re talking about yourself except when you’re writing an autobiography.

5. Be simplistic and clear. This is where most writers failed to effectively connect to the readers about what it is they’re trying to say. Unless you’re 100% sure it is the most appropriate word to use in a sentence and know your audience, using hard-to-understand words are a turn off to readers. Some audiences, though, are well tolerable with hard-to-understand words but the majority of people prefer to read easy-to-understand writings.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Betrayal of a Public Trust: The case with Trillanes

Yesterday's verbal confrontation between senate president Juan Ponce Enrile and senator Trillanes, which ended up the senate president calling Trillanes a "fraud and a coward" while the young senator walked his way out from the senate session hall, showed how divided this country has become. The said word war has revealed some delicate informations/issues concerning the Philippine's trying to solve the sovereignty issue with China over the disputed Spratly islands and the Scarborough shoal. Trillanes, as what the news said, volunteered himself before the president to become a backdoor negotiator. But what was really intriguing came out when Enrile himself read the notes acquired from the former Philippine envoy to China Sonia Brady documenting the Trillanes mission which, according to experts in diplomatic processes, could only do more harm than good.

The veteran senator Enrile accused Trillanes of selling Philippine sovereignty to the Chinese during his mission by which he was the backdoor negotiator and even went on to describe further about his exposition of the man as something that will unmask the Phantom of the Opera in Philippine politics. Enrile, referring to the notes he was reading, said: "He (Trillanes) told the Chinese that we cannot enforce our own coastal protection.  That our fishermen are living on subsistence living. That they cannot go too far so they can give the (disputed) part of the waters to us."

Trillanes, on the other hand, accused the senate president as an Arroyo ally and even went on to say that he was just using this issue to divert everyone's attention. For Trillanes, Enrile was no other than someone who would accomodate for the benefit of the former president Arroyo's allies especially in the dividing of the Camarines Sur into two. But no matter where this issue shall end, which I hope to see two of the country's high-ranking officials getting reconciled with each other, the point is when can this country of ours experience unity and learn from its mistakes? If the notes (considered confidential) that Enrile has brought to the open is proven valid and true, then what can we say of Trillanes? Should we just ignore or tolerate what he has said, according to the notes Enrile was reading, to the Chinese diplomats that "In the Philippines, no one cares about Scarborough shoal."

"My God, this guy is a fraud," to echo what was Enrile was thinking about the young senator who has claimed himself a patriot, was just a normal reaction upon discovering someone's act of betrayal. How can a Philippine Military Academy graduate navy captain and now the senator of the Republic of the Philippines easily just slipped into the dragon's lair and fed him what might be used against us? Has he had this rebelious instinct in him keeping the fire alive in his heart  for the cause of what he believed in or for the cause of whatever interest it can do him favor? The man who led a failed mutiny at Oakwood in 2003 against the Arroyo administration should have long ago died fighting for what he believed in or now a dictator of this country with his military junta. But politics, Philippine politics I was saying, perhaps becoming just too infectious and that he gets his share of the disease. How stupid these people who have elected him while he was in prison serving his sentence for treason.

Enrile was right in saying about Trillanes: "He is supposed to be a trained military man but he does not know anything about military strategy." China may be far more superior in terms of military might compared to us, but we can't allow them or anyone to just easily  take from us what is truly ours. If they're going to exploit such an advantage and invade us, then let them. We will fight them with what we've got: courage. And that's what matters most. Diplomatic means to solve this territoral dispute is vital and necessary, but with China seemed like not cooperating at all by refusing to bring this case to UNCLOS, then we must prepare for the worst.

Instead of betraying our country and conniving with the enemies, why not die fighting for the only country we've got and for our rights? I remember a novel I read a few years back titled Lord of Darkness which I forgot who the author was, in the middle of a conversation between the middle-aged Knight serving during the time of the Crusades in the Holy Land, and his beautiful, and young captive lady from the Moors who have asked him this question: "Are you afraid of death?" The Knight, which is also called the Lord of Darkness, just smiled and said: "If my time has come it will find me wherever I am, whatever I am doing. I shall not be able to avoid her sting. But only in the manner of death which I may die, I prefer to die holding in my arm a sword facing the enemies or in bed making love to a beautiful woman."

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Here's why I still am the poet I used to know and be: Defining poetry

I've got a story to tell you. I still has to write it. It's not a story actually but a poem.Written last year, this poem is my way of defining poetry and one that tells a story by which, as the hardest part of writing is how to start and could be made easy by not writing anything at all, writers have still to write what has already been long ago written and for what is to come. Because everything in life, as what Sylvia Plath once said, is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it and the imagination to improvise. She even warns about the worst enemy to creativity, and that is self-doubt. I hope you will enjoy reading this poem of mine and the story it might compel you to create.

If the list contains more than one
of whose names signed.

If you refer to more than one piece from
the same
but also  exactly what you wish

from each and
exactly where without  any
intervening punctuation.

If you are citing only a part
if the part is the same
the list of works

detailed and precise
if more than one piece from
the same is not the only way.

The abstract would replace
the spelled in the text
must match if your list contains

more than one piece
with the same—
like other way—

since each piece
is unique
if the figuring out

can only be effective.
If logic requires
as you continue

even if the list contains
much of the same.
Clarify. Ensure. Add.

Sometimes you should omit
the possible components
that are

not available on your own processor.
The meaning contrasts with its words.
Emotion transforms.

The quest for a good leader: Can the Philippines find someone who can finally lead its people to victory?

Amid the economic crisis the Philippines has gone through, corruption of those who have significant positions in the government, political war waged by those traditional politicians or also known as the "TRAPOs" throwing shits on and persecuting each other, the decades-old insurgency which has now become the world's longest, poverty, calamities, and other things that can only add more clouds to the scene than what is but a promising vista everyone would be desiring to look at, the question that would immediately register in your mind you would like to ask yourself or anyone else is: "Can the Philippines find someone who can finally lead its people to victory, prosperity, and freedom?" With the national election only a year to go, the Filipino people would once again cast their votes hoping that the people they have helped put into positions would be competent enough to lead and run a nation for good. Running a nation is never an easy task. It requires that a leader should be wise and intelligent, courageous, patient, compassionate, and knows what's best for the country he is serving, among other traits. A good leader is a good follower and one that leads a life of service.

The Philippines can't have such a kind of leader if the majority of its people allow the incompetent ones, recycled, and the crooked and sanamagans to rule over them. In a democratic country such as the Philippines, it is the people who will decide for what's best for them. But unless the majority of the Filipinos learn to choose for the right leaders and support them, the Philippines, as a country, remains where it has been for a long time. Great nations are products of great leaders and great leaders are made by the people, not born.

In these trying times of our nation's history, a good and effective leader is a necessity. He must build up a strong military to back up the growing economy. He must abolish partisan politics and create a centralized common party instead by which the people freely choose for who will govern them. He must acknowledge and tolerates religious beliefs or affiliations his citizens might be exercising. He must bring justice to whom it is due. He must be humble, knows how to bow down when needed, and above all, one who is a dealer of hope.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Balanghai boats: A proof of a pre-Hispanic Kingdom of Butuan

You probably may have heard about the phrase that said: "In the beginning there was no Philippines, but there was already Butuan." But that was simply true, noting about the place that has already been existing and as an established independent form of government long before the first European colonizers and explorers have set foot on what is now called the Philippine Islands.  Butuan became the center of trade and commerce in the Philippines by the 11th century and has established a strong trading relations in as early as 10th century with neighboring countries such as Vietnam (then called as the Kingdom of Champa), among the areas covered by the Shrivijayan empire, and many others.

Butuan, located in northern Mindanao and now the regional center of Caraga region, is what many historians would refer to as the once pre-Hispanic Indianized Kingdom of this part of the Philippine archipelago. Archaeological finds dating back to that era would reveal us the Balanghai boats (also known as the Butuan boats) excavated in many places near the old El Rio de Butuan and Masao river. These Balanghai boats are not ordinary boats, they are products of extraordinary craftsmanship and seamanship skills combined. There was one time when a Norwegian ambassador to the Philippines, upon visiting Butuan to see what the Balanghai boat should look like, had these words to say: "Your Balanghai boats are older and much more skillfully made than the Vikings of Europe."

The first Spaniards who arrived in the Philippines in the 16th century found out that the locals of Butuan and neighboring areas were living in a well-organized independent villages called "barangays." It was later on learned by the Spaniards that the word "barangay" is derived from "balangay" which is the Austronesian word for "sailboat". Today, a Balanghai festival is celebrated in the city of Butuan every month of May each year. It was beleived that the first migrants who settled the Philippines came on board the Balanghai boats from the areas covered by the Shrivijayan and Majapahit empires in the far south.

The Balanghai boat, considering its size, was used for raiding purposes and for cargo. Carbon dating the wood of one of the excavated Balanghai boats would bring us back to as far as 320 A.D. From among these Balanghai boats, which were more than a mere boat bearing a social unit, of long ago emerged the "barangay" which has become the smallest political unit in Philippine society today.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The needs for a lasting relationship

Human beings are meant for two, a partnership by which love and compassion spring out and let each other become the best version of his or her own self. Everyone has his or her own personal needs but the need to fight for a lasting relationship seems like, sometimes, somewhat hard to attain. Could a lasting relationship really that hard to find? What does it take to make a relationship lasts?

In spite of what others say about relationships, the good news is not all of them fail. There are relationships that last and that is what we have to find out for. It has been said that love is not just about feelings, but of ability as well. A healthy relationship does not just grow as it is without someone nurturing it. It has to be handled with caring hands and one that truly knows what to do with all of it.

If you’re wondering why your own, or someone else’s relationship doesn’t work, then I think it’s about time to try to look closely at it and figure out what it is that you think should work from what’s not. Relationships are always worth restoring, so don’t wait till someone or something else snatch it from you to break it up. The following are just some of the few things to consider on finding someone to become a partner for life and to maintain and keep that relationship healthy:

*It all starts in the choosing of a partner. While it’s true that you can’t teach what or who your heart would love to and that people might change, choosing a good partner from the very start is one factor to indicate what kind of relationship you might be having in the future. If you choose an irresponsible person who is also a womanizer, then you can expect him to do just the same even when the two of you are in a relationship already. If you would like your relationship to be more promising, choose someone whom you think can make you happy and would do exactly the things that you want and like.

*Know your differences. Just because some people have different beliefs and attributes doesn’t mean they can’t live together in harmony. It’s all about honoring each other’s differences and showing each other respect should be the things that unites, not divide.

*Sex should not be confused with love. Sex and love are two different things although they may closely relate well with each other. Sex can be good in a relationship but it’s not all there is. Love is much, much more important than just the plain pleasure one can get from what someone can do better in bed. Remember, a relationship that is based plainly on the physical aspect couldn’t last long. Love relates to the whole person, sex is only a brief, temporary expression of that love.

*Iron things out with an understanding heart. There’s no such thing as a perfect relationship. Problems could arise and the troubles along the way are heading towards your direction and all you wanted to do is an easy way out. Don’t give up too easily. Troubles are there to make your relationship stronger. If you give up too easily, chances are you might still encounter the same troubles for whatever relationships you might be entering again in the future. So stay cool, iron things out with an understanding heart.

*Learn to communicate all the time. Communication is very important in any a relationship. It is one way to open out to your partner everything worth sharing for and to maintain that sense of closeness each one of you deserve to have.

*And last but not the least, try to look good always. It is one way to attract your partner all the more. Offer yourself good grooming for your partner to see and he or she will love you more for it.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Combat hair loss: Know your Alopecia

While a thinning hair or baldness may have had something in common for most people, it nonetheless differs to some degree from one person to another.

There are many types of hair loss and each type will have its specific treatment. 

It is very important to be able to recognize the type of hair loss a person has as this will lead to the figuring out for the right treatment plan.

Once you started to notice hair thinning in the eyebrow area, it's quite alarming and you've got to do something about it at the soonest time possible. The following are just some of the most common types of hair loss for you to know about:

Alopecia Universalis. This type is the complete and rapid loss of all scalp and body hair which can occur at any age.

Androgenic Alopecia. This type is common for both men and women. It is called male pattern baldness among men which is the thinning or loss of hair starting from the crown of the head.

Alopecia Totalis. This type is believed to be caused by an autoimmune disorder. People who are suffering from this type of hair loss will have lost all of their head hairs.

Alopecia Areata.  Known as the “spot baldness”, this type of hair loss occurs when the body’s own immune system turns against itself targeting the hair follicles. It has been suggested that genes may have played a significant role for people suffering from this type of baldness.

Marginal Alopecia. This is another name for and closely associated with Alopecia Areata.  Alopecia is a Latin word which in English means “hair loss”.

Ophiasis. This is a form of Alopecia Areata by which the hair loss shapes like a wave encircling the head. Ophiasis is derived from the Greek’s word for snake which is “ophis” because of the hair loss’s striking resemblance to the shape of the snake.

Traction Alopecia. This type is the gradual losing of hair by which a pulling force is being applied to the hair constantly. Most prone to this are people who wear tight braids, ponytails, and pigtails leading to the pulling and breakage of hair.

Chignon Alopecia. This is a form of Traction Alopecia by which the onset of hair loss starts at the crown. This may result from prolonged styling of the hair in a tight bun.

Hypotrichosis. This type is a condition of abnormal hair patterns or, in most cases, there’s no hair growth at all.

Telogen Effluvium. This type refers to a temporary hair loss by which the follicles are being rushed toward the resting stage prematurely due to a disease or, even stress.

What causes hair loss? 

Tracing for the causes of hair loss may lead us to many a theory. Genetic is one thing, and stress, poor nutrition, and a serious disease are another. According to a popular belief (and even medically acclaimed), hair loss could be inherited by men from the maternal side of the family and by women from the father’s side. A genetic study on how baldness is being transmitted from one generation to the next may give us a clue but it may not always be the case as these hair loss genes could, as well, strike randomly for every generation.

It has become an accepted fact that a thinning hair may have been the result of the aging process. Many people will most likely notice this physiologic change of their hair lines in their thirties and early forties although some will have been losing hair much earlier even into their twenties.  To sum it all up, hair loss could have been the result for a lot of causes. It could be acquired through the genes, poor nutrition, stress, hormonal changes, chemical exposure, and more.

Hair loss in men

Male pattern baldness or also called as the Androgenetic  Alopecia, is the most common hair loss in men; it is when a man’s hair follicles are most sensitive to Dihydrotestosterone hormone (DHT). The DHT will have a negative impact on the hair (especially the one on the top and front of the head) until it stops growing.  This type of hair loss is usually genetically-based or inherited.  Men who have showed signs of losing hair at an early age are the ones who will most likely to become extensively bald as they aged. Hair loss starts at the scalp and may differ in men and women. Based on a study, the number of hair strands to fall per day is normal when it is not over 150.

Hair loss in women 

Hormonal changes are most likely to be the main cause for hair loss in women.  A woman will undergo at least three stages of hormonal changes in her lifetime that may cause a reversible hair loss: puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. Any woman may develop a female-pattern baldness which is the thinning of hair in the entire scalp. Prior to a woman’s reaching the menopausal stage, a hormone called estrogen helps to counteract the bad effects of DHT, but as the estrogen levels decline, women’s hair follicles fall prey to the damaging effects of DHT.

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