Friday, 21 February 2014

Running is a Selfish Act, But Not that it Should

There are a number of human activities that are designed to be done by a group or with one. Basketball, running a family, forming a band, even life itself must be with someone else. I do not wish to get into the cliche of why life has to be teamwork, because that would mean saying that birds can fly and cats, well, think they're kings whenever you feed the.

Human activities require one to roleplay in a stage where everyone else has a role to play (redundant and unnecessary to use "roleplay" and the jumbled form of it in the same line).

Running is not one of those human activities.

It's a selfish act.

And again, not that it should.

Unlike other sports, running is about making every drop of the sweat worth it, no matter what it takes. This means, blocking all distractions, including other runners, when trying to get to a certain goal. It's a serious endeavor, and though it is the most natural form of sports, it does not take into consideration the other members of the competition. Even relay runs advocate its own selfishness. Though it might involve teamplayers, when a member has already relayed the responsibility to another, it negates the team aspect of it.

Running is about the runner. Running is running.

Put basketball into this perspective - the sport is about dribbling, shooting, defense, offense, hoops, and every imaginable ankle breaking endeavors. It was never meant to be about one thing. Other sports promote the same thing. Football is about, well, every concussion and whatever it is that athletes do with their God-given muscles. Table tennis is about top spin and all kinds of spinning unimaginable in the spinning world.

Running, on the other hand, advocates only itself. There are techniques and strategies, of course, but there is no other form of running. Because if it was another kind, it'll be exhibitionism, not running.

That's why it has a pressing urge to be selfish.

I keep saying it shouldn't, because I see a different scenario whenever I have to personally engage in a competition or even when going out for a leisure run just for the sake of it.

There's every bit of opportunity to excel in running. There is the last mile to think about, the last push to get you from point A to B, struggling or not. Every day is an inevitability to run because with only a pair of shoes, you can run like hell, or shit. Of course, there are the hydration belts, the dri-fit, the hydration pack, the energy gel, but these are only optional.

As a runner, you aim for a target. If you suddenly aim for self-serving ideas of running - the fame, the bragging rights, the far-fetched stories, the flatulence from the ego - it defeats the purpose of running. I see people deprived of the ability to buy new equipment and they are the ones who make the most of every mile, because they know for themselves they can always take satisfaction from the littlest things, those that can't be bought, those that come from the love of running. The love of running.

Running is a selfish act, but not that it should.

You run when everyone else isn't. You run alone. You run without excuses. You run not smiling, or too much of it. You run not because everyone else is.

That's where the selfish part comes to play, but all good runners know that it isn't absolutely necessary to act like a selfish prick.

As a runner, a fledgling at that, I wish to do it without the reward, without the spotlight, and definitely, without the perks that come people's praises. I will run because as a selfish person, I can be unselfish when running.

And personally, I have my brother-in-law to thank for it. And my family. And my dogs who are always excited to see me home after every run. Must be the sweat.

I just ran a half marathon, and I must say, people's crooked ideas of running ruin the sport that I learned to love, just like photography where getting a DSLR makes you professional. There's a slight difference with a DSLR as a bling-bling and a camera as a professional equipment.

And flatulence is different from enthusiasm. All the pun intended.

It's not going to stop me, though, to struggle to reach the last mile the next time, because regardless if people have already shifted to another self-serving activity, I'd still run.

Running is a selfish act. Not that it should.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

A Bus Accident is All You Need to Know About How Competent your Government is on Everything There is to be Concerned About

There are two kinds of accidents - the controllable and the non-controllable.

The government seems to have a high tolerance for the avoidable accidents, or funnily at that, an inclination for accidents that they feel obliged to resolve only when they happen.

As a kid growing up with full of testosterone, I always felt the urge to always be outside, outdoors where all the risks of injury or sickness reside. There were some bruises, and some cuts, and because I had the testosterone, it did not stop me from getting more, not that I wanted to. But parents unselfishly wish to lock you indoors when your playmates are outside mixing sweat with dirt. They force you to stay inside and deprive you of your right to get injured, though there wasn't really any indication of it happening, or any premonition of it taking place. They just do what they have to do as parents. If it wasn't for that, I would probably be a 31-year old junkie now with half of my limbs and two of my wisdom teeth knocked off.

And then the bus accident.

I will agree - if it weren't for greed, people who died would still be alive now, probably. If it weren't for bus owners not filing registrations, we would probably move on with a boring cliche of what could have, of a near death. I know nothing about profits, but to have 200 buses running 24/7 gives you a ballpark number of how much they were making versus how much it takes to register a bus unit.

But like the Pinoy basura movies I used to watch when I didn't have any idea of what was a good movie, the government delivers the punchlines.

Everything about what the government does is predictable. Or stupid. Or elementary. Or childish. Or uneducated.

Easy. Comedic. Farce.

I find it really funny, but should LTFRB inspections be a regular thing? Shouldn't they be inspecting each company on every regular day when it is boring to do inspections and when public pressure isn't telling them what to do? Prevention is preparing for a disaster when there is none.

It gives the impression that the government is not exerting enough effort and money to do its job. The government is a childish government because it only knows when to stop when the limbs are gone and when blood is already dripping. Kids who get locked inside the house find their lives miserable, but on any given Sunday, I will trade an accident with miserable. By a heartbeat.

When the cat is away, the mouse will own a bus company.

The actions that we see are a bane of a cause.

The blame is not entirely on the government, but should the government feel it is competent enough to serve the people, it should take every blame, because that's what we paid them for, to do the dirty job on our behalf. No one wants to be a politician or a government employee because your private life becomes part of the public. But I am surprised to see that everyone seems wanting to take a government post. Like a fantasy.

Because it's an easy job. It does not have any scorecard.

No qualifications. No entrance exams. No background check.

When you are a product of your father's failed legacy, it gives you an exemption. You automatically win the hearts of the many. You advertise your last name rather than advocate your capabilities. When you are after the pay rather than the cause, it is a failure from the beginning, but no one notices. Erase - everyone notices, but old habits are the hardest to break. Pay a voter 500 pesos and old habits are your qualifications to being a politician.

This is where the problem commences.

It is difficult for a man to understanding something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.

The last one's quoted. But I am always reminded of this whenever I see people getting into government responsibilities without understanding the reason why they have to be there in the first place.

So how does this connect to the bus accident?

Just a while ago, LTFRB initiated a surprise inspection of another bus company in Manila and found out some buses had double plates as well. When Martilyo Gang strikes, ban hammers in malls. When people get trapped in coal mines, implement safety regulations. So when I will steal money from a bank with a banana, and not that I can and should, bananas are history? Funny way of looking at it, but it's one too many funny things about this government.

A bus accident is all you need to know about how competent your government is and how it addresses issues only when they happen.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Philippine News Media is a Load of Crap

Philippine News Media is a Load of Crap

As an advocate of mass media, being a graduate of Mass Communication (not pasang-awa, no failed subject, and definitely spent every day of it like it was the last), I should always be vouching for my own. I am supposed to be part of the cliche of trying to elevate the image of my profession (vocation) the way a nursing graduate would. But I am no self-righteous prick, and not that all other professions are.

There is really something so wrong with Philippine news media.

Regardless if I were a Mass Communication graduate or otherwise, there is really something wrong with Philippine news media.

First, it does not cherry pick the news. It puts into the spotlight everything and anything that happens. Yes, this is transparency and fair play at work, but to cover an event of Amalayer and makes it national news is so sickening it does not deserve a second of airtime. This is what the news media has become - a plethora of eggheads trying to sensationalize events that do not concern the general public.

Second, it does not have enough balls to keep politicians honest. Documentaries are my favorite part of it, local documentaries, I should specify. The I-Witness, Doku, The Correspondents. They focus on the lower class and try to highlight how they try to keep up with life. Along the way, they also manage to join them in a cavalcade of struggles to find food and alms, always trying to make sure the audience gets a first-hand look at how they become victims of their own mistakes. As they try to make the audience absorb the magnificence of poverty, in between the documentarist will try to inject a little emotional touch to it, a little tear in the eye or a dagger straight to the heart effect captured by the cameras before it fades to the tv show logo. All these are part of the entertainment that is Philippine documentary, then I realize, where's the morale, where's the tagline, where's the end outcome when the oppressed get to overcome their struggles in search of a life that the media indirectly tries to show them? Then every magnificence of it is a mistake because not only did it fail to help out in their fight against poverty, it does not offer the people the chance to make a choice, to at least tell the difference between surviving and struggling. At the end of every documentary is an open ended question. There's the lack of "keeping them honest."

I remember watching a news about a lost ring sent by a foreign fiancee to his Filipino partner. The post office is not able to give an explanation other than plain burglary. Local news was quick to question how they lost the ring. When they found out this was not the first time an incident of the same type occurred, they never had it in them to go back and ask the post master about it. All we saw from the news beat was a statement of the other victim confessing how the post master bribed her into not telling anyone and promised to pay the value of the lost item. As routine would suggest, even local police would not in its full capacity try and look at the other angle to balance things out. Talk about Serbisyong Totoo and Panig sa Katotohanan.

This is where the mistake lies. News media glorifies the oppressed and less fortunate and tries to make an entertainment out of it, instead of giving them choices on how they are supposed to get out of the hole. You see underage kids diving into the ocean with no complete apparatus and they run the risk of drowning, but the documentary does not even remind them and government the danger of such, much more the intolerance of the system that likes it more to have kids work than study.

The supposed responsibility of the news media to keep them honest is a paid one, a privilege given only to the privileged. News media hides behind the covers of being neutral, of not taking enough effort to provide choices. It stays in the middle because it's more self-serving.

Third, news organizations make news, not cover them. During and after the Yolanda typhoon, instead of encouraging other private and government institutions to donate and come up with relief help, they become the relief melting pot. How is this wrong? Because as news organizations, you are not to create the news; you are to cover one. Both GMA and ABSCBN and even TV5 had their own relief operations and it's nice to see that they care about the victims. But relief operations are not the responsibility of these organizations. If they suddenly jump into the bandwagon of asking for help and making their own news, it bounces back to them the overlap in three ways:

1) It overshadows their responsibility of balanced and fair news. As news organizations, they are expected ALWAYS to stay anonymous from an event, not becoming part of it.
2) News reporters ought to stay away from the emotional side of the news. Backstories are the only part where BTS and the news reporters' emotions are to be shown. But having them on the main news is so wrong.
3) It acknowledges the fact that the government is not effective, competent and mindful of the welfare of all its citizens.

I worry the most about number 3 because although this says what's obvious, do we blame it on the government's lack of effort or the news media's neutral attitude?

I still believe that Philippine news media is a powerful one, an entity that can dictate how tables are to be turned, but I do feel that while its benevolence is its strength, it lacks the courage to fulfill its duty, or at least tries to, even without pressure from the people.

In a country like ours where the only luxury for entertainment and information is our inability to separate the fact from the fiction, news organizations ought to have in them the ability to affect change, not to advocate hypocrisy and neutralism. It should try to protect or help develop the Filipino culture where it came from. I am starting to reaffirm now what I know before, that an apple tree only bears a fruit of its kind, but such analogy may suggest that the culture dictates the outcome of everything that evolves from it, news media being one of them. So instead, I'd rather that the culture we have is no way a victim of the endeavors that it catalyzed, much more the news media a victim of not trying enough to stay from the traditional for fear of conformity.

So in verbatim, Philippine News Media is a load of crap. All the pun intended.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Why This Will Still Drag On Despite Showing and Admitting the Obvious

I was never a big fan of local and national news. While I was out of my hometown for five years working somewhere, I was deprived of the modest opportunity to watch any of the available shows, both foreign and local, on a tube. Deprived, yes, but never felt left out, because, in those in-between moments when I needed to come home, I get to see the same news over and over again. It gets to that sickening level that you no longer want to see any part of it, yet, surprisingly, a lot of people are still hooked into it. Hooked, mesmerized, amazed and ecstatic to see a minute of their favorite news.

Which, to my own understanding, is part and parcel of the political problem that we now see arising from the pork barrel scam. Now I do not want to be just a advocacy pretend hiding behind the cloak of a bandwagon, but here lies the most straightforward hint of a flaw and no one seemed to take it as a grave concern - that despite something becoming SO obvious, we seem very tolerable, very forgiving, of corruption and political evilness.

And I don't seem surprised why I dislike getting excited watching national news.

It's the one thing I hate doing and the one thing that sucks life out of me - to say that the flaw is blamed on our culture. Why this keeps dragging us almost to a drain is because of our inability to show patriotism and loyalty to our country. I believe patriotism is what we lacked, the genuine love for our country.

When some accused get to be scrutinized in public, we cry the cry of a victim. We go out and show placards and let people know what we feel about it. Nothing's wrong with it, but like one political analyst said, we lack a follow-up, the next step, that critical ACTION ITEM. We are so good at showing emotions, yet suck at taking something out of it. Connecting the dots, I can only generalize that the fault is on the following:

1) The culture we have has spoiled us to be activists not revolutionists. Even history gave us a hint of that conflict - the legacy of the revolution was tainted by a conflict amongst the revolutionist and the reformists, even taking it to the extreme by sacrificing one Andres Bonifacio so the "other Filipino" can take the spotlight only by himself. That was many years ago, and we're still seeing the same thing. When did we start to grow up?

2) We do not like to take the lead, yet so pushy at telling people what they need to do. It's like everyone wants to be an advocate but no one wants to take a little "bom-bits" in the butthole on behalf of everyone. I like the Million Man March, but no one seemed to take anything out of it.

3) The only option we like having is to take it to the streets. We forget that there are other options. When you feel sick and tired of the same old same old, leave other lines blank in your ballot during elections; it is not mandatory to fill all the positions out. If you feel that ONLY one candidate deserves your vote, then write only one name. That is, of course, ONLY if the thought crosses your mind.

4) We put humor into something serious the wrongest way. They say there is a spark of smile and enthusiasm in every challenge, but I say there shouldn't be any room for parody when the welfare of the country is at stake. There really isn't anything funny about pork barrel, so there's no need for undermining, unnecessary and stupid sense of humor.

5) There is too many government agencies, yet not one of them know how to do their jobs. COA had in its disposal the audit report and investigation for years, yet never did anything to address the issues. Yes, COA is for auditing from its name alone, but NO, it also has a responsibility to recommend actions to address what it thinks are irregularities. It's as simple as knowing what you are supposed to do and let other agencies know what they need to do about it. People rely on its government to do its job, and we hate it that it takes begging from the people before anyone from the government does something on an issue.

6) In times of crisis and disaster, we fail to realize that they owe us help. Not the kind of help that's given only when a bridge is damaged, but the kind that is given all year, when roads should have been repaired many years ago, when drainage was top priority when there wasn't any flood, when a Barangay Hall was more important than a basketball court. Sad thing is that Filipinos like patches instead of a long-term solution, which is reflective of how we solve problems on our own. We like substandard products, Class B gadgets, and it also shows in our polity.

7) Despite showing the obvious, we are still tolerable of corruption. Very tolerable that even when a Senator admitted mishandling the PDAF, we blame it on Napoles. Have we not realized it yet that each lawmaker has the responsibility of spending the money wisely, and if I were Napoles, I would most likely throw back a rebuttal "eh bat nyo kasi binigay sa akin?" We like scapegoats, and we easily can find one from an unlikely source.

 No sense of patriotism. There is not a genuine love for our country. I say this because I see that people no longer appreciate and respect the small things. Traffic lights get ignored, we pass against one way streets, we jaywalk like Luke (Skywalker, if you get the humor), we Wang-Wang even when a Presidential Decree has been in place since Marcos' regime, we make fun of our National Anthem (..."Ang mamatay ng may bulak"...f*** you if you do this), when given the chance to work abroad we brag about things we saw in another country and compare it with anything local (I hear a lot of people so proud of saying "idiay kastoy nga lugar, mayat ti kastoy ken kasdiay, ngem ditoy ket pulos nga blah blah" or something to that effect). And then there is the problem with camaraderie. Other countries have worse kinds of conflicts. They hate each other for a lot of wrong reasons. But at the end of the day, they find ways to make sure their country is intact and no one, not even their own kind, will put it down a rubble. It's this sense of love for country that we lack. Back in my elementary days, I saw that politics can get into a person as early as grade school. I saw that when kids needed to learn the beauty of governance by running for school organizations, they bribe their schoolmates with bookmarks and giveaways, then when it was labo-labo, their parents intervene by donating school materials or facilities. Because we only like taking care of our welfare, we become oblivious of our responsibility of making sure our culture does not get tainted with selfishness. I also realized that Filipinos have the funny habit of being the overnight critic on politicians yet when placed in the same position, will do the same thing, or even worse. The crab mentality has evolved into a modern "don't wanna left behind" mindset. So the trend goes on and on.

I like making a list of things that bother me, because with a list, I become more aware of what's happening around me. I am neither an anti-Philippines, a rebel without a cause, or an advocacy pretend, although I wished I can be one of those. But at the end of the day, the only advocacy we can be or should be part of, is the advocacy of getting stuck with this country and realizing we owe it big time the sense of appreciation and making sure we take care of it like we take care of our personal intentions. 

Sayang, the country has lots of potential, 20.44B PDAF, to be more specific.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

A Canon 60D and I Can Die Anytime

Please follow the link below for more details:
This is intended as a "just my two cents" article, but if it catches on to something, I'd be grateful.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Middle Man

From experience, the hardest part to being the designated middle man is that not one side is willing enough to take a compromise. This is rightfully true not only in the industry of making profit but also in personal matters, interpersonal relationships and even dealing with oneself.

I personally believe that every human being is born a self-righteous one. And as he grows up, the righteousness becomes a sort of a choice, a pivotal attitude test. He either becomes a victim of his own ego or a controlling one who makes everything measured and balanced. In the business of dealing with people, one may feel the desire to brag and boast, or even gesticulate an idea for the purpose of making an impression. Often, people who get stuck in the middle become the most unselfish people because they get to see two extreme sides of a situation.

This is where the difficult task of a middle man comes in.

People are the hardest to please, and not that there is another set of species.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Why I Think Filipinos Hate Nancy Binay

(Disclaimer: This is, in no way, hitching the bandwagon of news and trends surrounding the "cursed" Senator elect. The opinions stated here are purely from my own observation and understanding, and I will try to sound so educated about the issue.)

1) We think she represents the katangahan in us.
But given the benefit of the doubt, we made mistakes of electing attorneys, or topnotch graduates, or former soldiers and police superintendents who had more of the talk than the walk. Why is electing a Ms. Binay such a big deal now when we have a history of getting stupidly swayed by charm before? I believe casting judgment on a Ms. Binay who, in my own humblest understanding, is only trying to make a statement even before she does her work is like telling a university graduate that he does not represent the so-called "masa." So it boils down to this - does her image even satisfy the voter in us, or are we merely playing too cerebral on the issue because she can always be an easy scapegoat?

2) She is an easy target.
Unlike rich politicians who can probably pay for yoru impressions of them, or celebrities whose shining smiles can overshadow their lack of acting skills and inexperience in politics, Ms. Binay does not embody your typical appealing politician, and in the world of Phillippine politics, being yourself is both a curse and a blessing. I bet, when Kris Aquino runs for the Senate, you would not even dare say when one sucks at acting, she definitely will suck at anything.

3) Election Day is the only day in three years where both the "magagaling" and "genuine tangas" become tanga at one given instance.
From what I have seen so far, Filipinos are so easy convinced by hearsays and satires and all those memes that it is already difficult for anyone to check the authenticity of published materials. I so love what I have observed in FB the past few days - people falling easily into that trap where an alleged "early press conference" took place where Ms. Binay challenged the people to not vote for her. Now, if this is the sort of intellectual beings that we have become, thank you for sarcasm coz I can now use it.

4) Ms. Binay is caught between those who like to vote because of a trend and those who suddenly became honorary members of an Editorial Board, being TOO trigger happy on comments and opinions without looking into the need to dig first into the facts. Lemons from lemonades, I always put it.
Did anyone care to ask why we still and now have in our disposal a Senator Legarda, a Senator (!) Bam Aquino, a Senator Angara, or a Senator Ejercito who merely used the legacy of their fathers or dreaded fame to get into the core of our unconscious mind? How different are these Senadors from a Ms. Binay? If I were to answer my own question - not so different. I feel a hint of suspicion - am I just merely a Binay advocate? For the record, I did not vote any of the candidates mentioned. Again, lemons from lemonades.

To cap, I can list reasons why it might be a good opportunity to have a Ms. Binay in the Senate pool:
1) Poe, Binay and (Hontiveros) would have or will represent a surge in a new political trend, of trying to change the landscape of the traditional (I wish it was easy for me to use TRAPO in the same statement, but I could never forgive myself). We're dipping into an experimental phase of Philippine politics, and I consider that a good thing, a transition where the "looking forward to" is something to look forward to. Our thinking might not synch with our expectations, but this isn't supposed to be a big of a deal. Remember GMA? We (though I am not included, I'd like to speak in the collective context) thought we were giving our country a chance of redeeming itself from the Erap nightmare, yet made the biggest mistake of our lives. Filipinos, a failed Ms. Binay is easier to suck up than GMA's. But with wishful thinking, I do hope she doesn't. That's where we as citizens come in.

2) The practical thinking prevailed in this election. Clearly, this is an indication of something pivotal. People no longer get carried away by advertisements but by public image, in the national scene, at least, coz I heard some cities still had to elect the same mayors when they already sucked the first time. How did Poe top the list? She merely played the good public image part without probably having to spend as much as any Senatorial candidate (I'm merely guessing here, coz I don't have the research and budget for digging deep to back this up). As an advocate of advertising and the arts, it sucks to see advocacies tossed around during elections without research and meaningful insights. But as advertisements would so willingly allow it, once done with a product, you decide to stick with it or move on to another when not satisfied.

3) Ms. Binay and the other low-profile candidates triggered the Filipino in you, both in the good and bad way. So, nagising ka na Pinoy, gawin mo na yung nararapat. Pero please man lang, wag mo na sanang idaan sa satires and memes sa Wordpress. Lagi mong iisipin, with your tactics, you are feeding progress-hungry Filipinos desperate for some changes, kaya madali silang nadadala sa sinisimulan mong kalokohan, so ingat ingat lang sa mga pinapalabas mong articles.