Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Election time and Filipino stupidity


With the Philippine mid-term election coming in two weeks, there’s a great need for the Filipino people to become intelligent voters. It’s another opportunity for them to grab to make up for all of the stupidity during last election time's choosing for the wrong candidates. I can still recall the words a dear friend of mine have said to me before he died of heart attack a little over three years ago that the majority of the Filipino people, when it comes to electing their public officials, are somewhat suffering from what he called “stupidity syndrome.”  In the Philippines, he said, popularity triumphs over substance. I can only agree with his observation on how we Filipinos elect our leaders and you can add to it, at some instances, the equation: compassion + sympathy = presidency. It catapulted the late Corazon Aquino to the presidential seat in a peaceful way of putting an end to the Marcos regime in 1986 which was further triggered by the assassination of her late husband Benigno Jr. in 1983 and, as if history repeats itself, it happened to be a similar case also with her son Benigno III who is now the president of this country. President Benigno III owes a lot of his presidency to the people who sympathized with the death of her mother, the former president of the Philippines which, during that time, just in the right timing for the presidential election and the filing of candidacy was still going on. It prompted presidential candidate Mar Roxas, upon knowing and analyzing the whole scenario, to withdraw his candidacy to give way to Aquino and settled a vice president position instead by which he lost.

“The solution is not election,” my friend said when I tried to press him out what he can suggest to make this country change for the better, “but revolution. You have to test it with fire to burn impurities out, more impurities.” His eyes burnt the same color as that of a flame when I peered into the glowing depths of his own, the window of his soul. “But that would be too costly and bloody. Is there no other means aside from that?” I asked. “The people must acquire education not limited to school,” he said. “There has to be this maturity of thinking by the Filipino people and that will lead them to reach that level of consciousness to only do or make things better for all,” he continued. “This country,” he paused for a moment as he tried to clear out his throat, “needs an intellectual leader who can unite the people. Real problems need real solutions, not a cover up to things to only make the present administration looking good. A good leader will not only find the best solution to the problem but he must be the solution himself.” I had to admit I’m learning a lot from this man I called the “Walking Encyclopedia” in a different way than my professors in college. Before I could manage to ask for my next question he turned to interrupt me, now it’s his turn to ask questions, by simply asking: “What do you think will be the best thing you can do for your country?” I was caught off guard, I had to think hard and organize my thoughts in as quickly as I can. “It has to begin in each one of us, in me,” I sounded somewhat confident telling him my answer. “Each one of us should be a leader that serves and, like what you said, the solution. Becoming a solution to the problem instead of a problem to a solution is the best thing I can do for my country.” “That’s a lot better,” he said as if to flatter me, “you will become a good leader!”

“So who would you vote for as president?” his eyes narrowed and a little smile curved at the corner of his mouth.  “I’ll keep it a secret,” I said and thinking about changing the subject. But before I could manage to think for a topic to talk about he was already speaking, “It all began as a wish from the late president Quezon. Be careful what you wish for because there’s a chance you might get it.” “So what’s the issue with president Quezon by the way?” I asked. “Stupidity,” he said. I’m thinking about president Quezon’s greatness and how he has sought Philippine independence from the hands of the Americans. “President Quezon,” he explained, “became stupid by saying ‘I prefer a government run like hell by Filipinos to a government run like heaven by Americans’.” “Quezon is not at all stupid as what you think,” I tried to challenge him. “But he was trying to impart the essence of nationalism for a people called Filipinos and a nation called the Philippines so as to partake in such a chance of making good or bad decisions for its own.”  “Would you like to turn and make the Quezon’s curse into a promise?” he asked. Instead of trying to thicken out the discussion for that particular subject, I shot him a smile and said, “Should I blame Quezon for his answered prayers?” He shot me back a smile and said, "Well, good for him." Deep down, I know, come election time, I won’t be stupid enough to cast my vote for the wrong candidates.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

5 things you should be doing at least once in your lifetime


Life is too short and the living is not always an easy ride. If you try to listen to the news, the negative things are always in a war with the good ones for dominance. The world has become, as it’s been from the very beginning, a battleground between the forces of good and evil. But no matter how the world has become good or bad in the process and changed we should remember that, as citizens of this world, we have (individual) duties and obligations that we must carry out to make this planet a much better place in which to live. The following are, in my own opinion, just 5 of the things each one of us should be doing at least once in our lifetime:

1. Take time to plant trees. Planting trees is one of the best of gifts you can give to Mother Earth and for the future generations. Trees help create shades, filter pollution from the air, prevent soil erosion, provide a dwelling place for animals, help recycle water, and many more.

2. Take time to give to the needy. To freely share what you have to others (be it help, time, or money) without expectation or reward in return is one of the most rewarding of acts you can do for yourself. We must remember what Jesus had said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

3. Take time to learn a new language. Learning a new language allows you to better understand other people’s culture and history. It is through this understanding that the gap between ignorance and cultural differences shall be bridged.

4. Take time to write a poem. While not all of us are born poets, you can still make a poet out of your own self. Poetry writing is one of the purest forms of expression while, at the same time, it reconciles you to the world. Be the poet that you are capable of making by writing down what you feel and think.

5. Take time to make a pilgrimage. It is an oldest form of religiousness. But wherever your journey may take you and for whatever reason motivating you to do it, one thing is certain though: it is to seek inspiration, by which one wants to gain a new perspective, for a change of mind and heart.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Korean crisis: Are we on the brink of war?


With the latest situation involving the two Koreas getting worse--the North and the South--together with the South's ally the United States and with such a slim chance of bringing such a case to the negotiating table at the moment, which fought a battle some five decades ago, would only suggest that war is imminent. War should be at all times avoided but if all means to peaceful settlement of any dispute done and failed, then war begins. It will be fought again with renewed fury--a rematch in the battle for supremacy these two countries are waging and one that could affect at least 70 percent of the world’s population. Yet I hope these two countries would finally settle their differences by talking it all out in the table. Threats from Nokor (North Korea) which are going to include launching of missiles with nuclear capability aimed at Seoul, Tokyo, US military bases in the Pacific, or even reaching as far as the mainland US, should not be taken lightly. North Korea has the world’s largest military with its million-strong standing army which could outnumber the South, but with the US backing the South the retaliation would be devastating should the North invades.

Will North Korea becomes just another Iraq should the war erupts? It’s hard to make comparison between the two countries but North Korea poses a real threat for any country than what was the Saddam Hussein-era Iraq appeared to be hyped. It’s only that North Korea would likely to become the advance party or as pawns pushed on purpose and when that happens new enemies would emerge later on. China will top the list. When the Korean crisis develops into a full-blown conflict and hit a domino effect with every nation, the world will be at war again. This generation will be witnessing a magnified version of World War II. World population will be cut by half as a result of that war. North Korea would be crushed out and China will be paying a heavy price. The United States will remain the world’s lone superpower country. Nations will be rebuilt. Life will be back to normal (although it will never be the same again after a war fought with nuclear warheads).

War should only be the last resort. But oftentimes it happened by accident and one by which our leaders should be held most accountable with out of such a great responsibility imposed upon them. North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, as inexperienced a leader as he is and can be, should make no mistake. He must give his people freedom instead, not war.

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