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Category Archives: EDUCATION

Reject Bucari photographer’s apology

“I want to solidify as an artist and show that as I grow as a person and make mistakes and learn from them, I’m going to grow artistically.”
–Eminem

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By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — Philippine Mayor Rolito Cajilig of Leon, Iloilo and Iloilo second district Rep. Arcadio Gorriceta should reject the “apology” made by Ilonggo photographer Steve Francis Quiatchon.
As an artist, Quiatchon committed no crime. El no cometio ningun crimen.
The controversial photo of a beautiful lady Quitachon took in Bucari, Leon recently was a piece of art, a product of a high-minded craftmanship.
It could net Quitchon a windfall in international market because of the photo’s quality.
He should be congratulated for putting Bucari, known as the “Little Baguio”, on the map in a unique manner.
Because of the controversy generated by the photo, Bucari, Leon is now the talk of the town.
Through the social media, people in the four corners of the globe are starting to be mesmerized by the town’s potentials and richness in ecosystem and tourism.

BODY

Even in antiquity, a woman’s body has been savagely the subject of intense debate and quarrel. King David, the first known Biblical Peeping Tom, watched with lust Bathsheba’s body, thus King Solomon became a product of King David’s adultery.
The New Testament chronicled how Salome made her controversial dance. In the Roman Empire, Caesar had been bewitched after Egyptian servants rolled up the carpet and exposed Cleopatra’s body.
The “scandals” and ‘infamy” of female Pharoahs Hatshepsut (Maatkare), Ahmose-Nefertari, Ashotep, Sobeknefru have been inscribed on ancient tablets and caves before photography was born eons of years later.
A plethora of social and political movements even challenged to the core the Victorian morality that created a paradigm shift in the British Empire’s rigid moral system where nudity was a total hysteria.
The Bucari, Leon photo was a product of the artist’s talent and imaginative skills, an expression of his mind as an emerging synthesis of evolutionary strategist, inventor and mechanic.
It was Albert Einstein who said that “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
Pablo Picasso best described how important is an artist in the Divine Providence’s hierarchy: “God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant and the cat. He has no real style, He just goes on trying other things.”

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ACCORDING to a former coup plotter who now lives in northern Iloilo, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV wouldn’t be so brave and daring in his recent spat with President Rodrigo Duterte if he did not have the support of big political and military personalities in the country.
“Trillanes knows that as a senator, he is only a David fighting a Goliath in Malacanang and yet, he even threatened to jail the president if it will be proven that Mr. Duterte had more than P2 billion in his bank accounts,” the former coup plotter said.
Is former president FVR one of them, Mr. Coup Plotter?

 

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The greatest thinker of all time

“Our knowledge is a receding mirage in an expanding desert of ignorance.”Will Durant

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW JERSEY — He was a pride of Asia.
Before being adjudged as the No. 1 “greatest thinker of all time” by Dr. Will Durant, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and Medal of Freedom, the great American historian-philosopher acknowledged that the choice of Confucius had sparked doubts and quarrels.
“By what canon shall we include Confucius and omit Buddha and Christ?” Durant inquires in The Greatest Minds and Ideas of All Time.
“By this alone: that he was a moral philosopher rather than a preacher of religious faith; that his call to the noble life was based upon secular motives rather then upon supernatural considerations; that he far more resembles Socrates than Jesus.”
Born (552 B.C.) in an age of confusion, in which the old power and glory of China had passed into feudal disintegration and factional strife, Kung-fu-tse undertook to restore health and order to his country.
In the book compiled and edited by John Little, Durant describes Kung-fu-tse’s speech as “a sound moral and political philosophy within the compass of a paragraph. It was a highly conservative system; it exalted manners and etiquette, and scorned democracy; despite its clear enunciation of the Golden Rule it was nearer to Stoicism than to Christianity.”

GOOD FOR EVIL

A pupil having asked him should one return good for evil, Confucius replied: “With what then will you recompense kindness? Return good for good, and for evil, justice.”
He did not believe that all men were equal; it seemed to him that intelligence was not a universal gift.
As his pupil Mencius put it: “That whereby man differs from the lower animals is little. Most people throw it away.” The greatest fortune of a people would be to keep ignorant persons from public office, and secure their wisest men to rule them.

MAGISTRATE

A great city, Chung-tu, took him at his word and made him magistrate. “A marvelous reformation,” we are told, “ensued in the manners of the people…There was an end of crime…Dishonesty and dissoluteness hid their heads. Loyalty and good faith became the characteristic of the men, chastity and docility of the women.”
It is too good to be true, and probably it did not last very long.
But even if his lifetime Confucius’ followers understood his greatness and foresaw the timeless influence he was to have in molding the courtesy and poise and placid wisdom of the Chinese.
“His disciples buried him with great pomp. A multitude of them built huts near his grave and remained there, mourning as for a father, for nearly three years. When all the others were gone, Tse-Kung,” who had loved him beyond the rest, “continued by the grave for three years more, alone.”

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2017 in EDUCATION, HISTORY

 

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Thank you for the inspiration, Graciano Lopez Jaena!

“When your time comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.”

— Tecumseh

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By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY — We commemorate Graciano Lopez Jaena’s 160th birth anniversary on December 18, 2016.
The reason why Ilonggos are so proud and probably the most-inspired journalists in the Philippines in this generation is because of fellow Ilonggo Lopez Jaena.
Could the son of Jaro, Iloilo City, who died in poverty, have been swallowed by the prevailing system that decimates the moral fiber of many enterprising journalists had he lived in today’s generation?
Born on December 18, 1856 and died on January 20, 1896, Lopez Jaena was not only an outstanding journalist, but was also an orator at par with the country’s and even the Asia’s best.
As the first ilustrado to arrive in Spain where he started the Propaganda Movement against our Spanish colonizers, Lopez Jaena became revolutionary when he formed a triumvirate with Dr. Jose Rizal and Marcel H. del Pilar.
But he became well known for his newspaper, La Solidarid.
No wonder contemporary journalists in Iloilo today flood the Western Visayas community with newspapers.
Almost every freedom-loving and lovers of letters and literature want to become newspapermen or to own and manage their own newspaper in the Ilonggo-speaking populace.
It runs in the Ilonggo blood.
Before he became famous, Lopez Jaena was first sent by his parents to study at St. Vincent Ferrer Seminary in Jaro which had been opened under the administration of Governor General Carlos María de la Torre y Nava Cerrada.
In the seminary, he served as a secretary to Claudio Lopez, his uncle who was the honorary vice consul of Portugal in Iloilo.
But he had ambition to become a physician. Lopez Jaena convinced his parents that he needed to enroll in a university in Manila.

ADMISSION
He was denied admission at the University of Santo Tomas because he did not have a Bachelor of Arts degree when he was at the seminary in Jaro.
Lopez Jaena was appointed to the San Juan de Dios Hospital as an apprentice.
He eventually dropped out due to financial difficulties and returned to Iloilo.
His assimilation with the poor ignited his feelings about the injustices common in that era.

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Lopez Jaena’s potentials as a reformer and writer became apparent at the age of 18 when he wrote the satirical story “Fray Botod” which depicted a fat and lecherous priest.
Lopez Jaena ribbed Fray Botod’s false piety which “always had the Virgin and God on his lips no matter how unjust and underhanded his acts are.”
The story was not published, but a copy circulated widely in Iloilo. The infuriated friars could not prove that Lopez Jaena was the author, thus he became off the hook, so to speak, temporarily.
The son of Jaro refused to testify that certain prisoners died of natural causes when it was obvious that they had died at the hands of the mayor of Pototan town, thus he was pilloried.
He continued to agitate for justice. When he received threats on his life, he sailed to Spain in 1879, where he pursued the Propaganda Movement.

LAND
In the land of our colonizers, Lopez Janea became a leading writer, propagandist, and speaker for reform of the homeland.
He finally pursued his medical studies at the University of Valencia but did not finish, thus incurring the ire of Rizal.
Lopez Jaena defended why he did not finish his medical studies by saying, “On the shoulders of slaves should not rest a doctor’s cape.”
“The shoulders do not honor the doctor’s cape, but the doctor’s cape honors the shoulders,” Rizal intoned.
The national hero died of tuberculosis in poverty on January 20, 1896, 11 months short of his 40th birthday.
He was buried in an unmarked grave at the Cementerio del Sub-Oeste of Barcelona the following day.
Marcelo H. del Pilar’s death followed on July 4. Rizal was killed on December 30 by firing squad in Bagumbayan.
Their deaths ended the great triumvirate of Filipino propagandists, but their works contributed in the liberation of their compatriots from the Spanish colony.
Lopez Jaena’s remains have not been brought back to the Philippines.

 
 

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Don’t slap a woman

“Men and women must be educated, in a great degree, by the opinions and manners of the society they live in.”
— Mary Wollstonecraft

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By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — It’s not nice for a man to slap a woman. Even in imagination, a man should never hurt a woman emotionally and physically.
If you want to know a man, listen to the language he uses to describe a member of the opposite sex after he has been jilted by the latter.
It’s not pleasant to admit slapping a woman especially if she is a lover or former lover, a wife or former wife.
Especially if you are having or had emotional attachment with her. Especially if you are having or had sexual liaison with her; if you benefited a lot from her concerning your carnal needs and fleshly desires.
She shouldn’t be called a “slut” or “maniac” to justify dumping her like a waste so his macho tormentor can tarry-hoot with the next nymphet.
It’s not good to be a misogynist. Like envy and irrational jealousy, it’s an aberration of the mind.
A woman is a special creation of God. She represents the image of our mother, sister, girlfriend, wife or partner in life.

MARY

We have the Blessed Virgin Mary as the symbol of purity, the epitome of piety and righteousness, the mother of Jesus Christ.
Without a woman, no one could biologically bring us here in this material world.
She labored hard, sacrificed a lot, and carried us in her womb for nine months. She feeds us. She gives us life. She sings for our joy and benefit.
No woman should be ridiculed or put to shame because of her sexual experiences or desires even if she is a criminal or enemy of the most powerful man in the universe.
After all, we are all sinners. In fact, many of us have committed more sins than her.
Magdalene, Cleopatra, Madame Bovary, Lady Chatterley, Princess Diana, Kris Aquino had their own share of infamy in the department of lechery.
They have been slandered and persecuted. But men of antiquity and modern times treated them with respect and adulation because they are women–and because of the great things they contributed for mankind.

LOVE

Like men, women also fall in love with passion. They, too, have emotions. They also fail and get frustrated and hurt. When they fall for men, they give their best; they give it all.
If some of them happen to be naive they become susceptible to exploitation and abuse–and sometimes end up as sex slaves, if not tortured and murdered.
Women in general are loving and decent human beings. God intended to give them a special role in society, and they should enjoy equal rights, privileges, and happiness with men.
Let’s hear it from Barbra Streisand: “I am a woman in love and I do anything to get you into my world and hold you within. It’s a right I defend ever and over again. What do I do?”
To fall in love, to enjoy a satisfying sex life, to live with dignity and respect, to practice freedom of choice, is the right that every woman should fight and defend in a masochistic society governed by some do-gooder and hypocrite congressmen.

 

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Books I ‘lost’ in Manhattan

“If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry.”Emily Dickinson

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — Early this year, I received a gift from a friend, lawyer-historian Boy Cabado: Dr. Ariel Durant’s The Complete Story of Civilization epub version.
I don’t need anymore to ransack any library each time I want to read some of the stories in that powerful 11-volume set. Amazing technology.
The file shared by Atty. Cabado was so comprehensive that anywhere I go, I can have instant access to the following volumes: Our Oriental Heritage, Life of Greece, Caesar and Christ, Age of Faith, Renaissance, Age of Reason Begins, Age of Louis XIV, Age of Voltaire, Rousseau and Revolution, Age of Napoleon, Reformation with the tip of my finger in my iPad or laptop.
In Upper West Manhattan recently, I nearly bought three of the most important volumes of Fr. Frederick Charles Copleston’s influential multi-volume, A History of Philosophy (1946–75), in hard-bound copies.

FAIR TRADE

Because it was sold in a street fair trade, the price was very tempting. It was mouth-watering, to say the least.
I needed to take a subway train back to Queens and couldn’t carry more loads in my knapsack, thus, with a heavy heart, I dropped the idea of adding those jewels in my collection of priceless reading materials.
Also, I remember Atty. Cabado’s epub. Yes, Virginia.
No need to belabor myself with those weighty or cumbersome items. Not when I am travelling.
Back in the Philippines three years ago, I remember retired city hall information chief, Boy Espejo, exhorting me to refrain from buying hard copies of great books among other important reading materials because they are now available in ebook, he said.
Fr. Copleston’s books I saw during the street trade fair were: A History of Philosophy, Vol. 1: Greece and Rome From the Pre-Socratics to Plotinus; Vol. 2: Medieval Philosophy-From Augustine to Duns Scotus; and Volume 3: Late Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy: Ockham, Francis Bacon.

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2016 in EDUCATION, HISTORY

 

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How to win an election: Tips from Cicero’s brod

“The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words.” Philip K. Dick

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — With election days fast approaching in the Philippines in May and the United States in November this year, we are lucky to have Harvard University’s Dr. Philip Freeman, who translated the text of the Commentariolum Petitionis from Latin to English and included it in the amazing book, “How To Win An Election”, an ancient guide for modern politicians.
For US $3.98 (plus $.35 tax), I was lucky to secure a copy of the book from the Salvation Army in Queens recently. Its unit price was actually $9.95 excluding tax.
Commentariolum Petitionis (“little handbook on electioneering”), also known as De petitione consulatus (“on running for the Consulship”), is an essay supposedly written by Quintus Tullius Cicero, 65-64 BC, as a guide for his brother, Marcus Tullius Cicero, in his campaign in 64 to be elected consul of the Roman Republic.
“I have tried to make my translation accessible, colloquial, and as clear as possible to modern readers, while remaining faithful to the sense of the original text,” writes Freeman, who holds the Qualley Chair of Classical Languages at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.

IDEALIST

The book tells us that in 64 BC, when idealist Marcus Cicero, Rome’s greatest orator, ran for consul (the highest office in the Republic), his practical brother Quintus decided he needed some no-nonsense advice on running a successful campaign.
“What follows in his short letter are timeless bits of political wisdom, from the importance of promising everything to everybody and reminding voters about the sexual scandals of your opponents to being a chameleon, putting on a good show for the masses, and constantly surrounding yourself with rabid supporters,” explains Freeman.
Freeman describes it as “unashamedly pragmatic primer on the humble art of personal politicking is dead-on (Cicero wins)–and as relevant today as when it was written.”
Like Machiavelli’s Prince, this short treatise provides timeless and no-nonsense counsel to those who aspire to power.
Idealism and naivete are left by the wayside as Quintus tells his brother–and all of us–how the down-and-dirty business of successful campaigning really works.

PRICELESS

Freeman says the letter is full of priceless advice for modern candidates, but some of the choicest gems are:
1. Make sure you have the backing of your family and friends. Loyalty begins at home. If your spouse and children aren’t behind you, not only will you have a hard time winning but it will look bad to voters. And as Quintus warns Marcus, the most destructive rumors about a candidate begin among closest to him.
2. Surround yourself with the right people. Build a talented staff you can trust. You can’t be everywhere at once, so find those who will represent you as if they were trying to be elected themselves.
3. Call in all favors. It’s time to gently (or not so gently) remind everyone you have ever helped that they owe you. If someone isn’t under obligation to you, let them know that their support now will put you in their debt in the future. And as an elected official, you will be well placed to help them in their time of need.
4. Build a wide base of support. For Marcus Cicero this meant appealing primarily to the traditional power brokers both in the Roman Senate and the wealthy business community–no easy task since groups were often at odds with each other. But Quintus urges his brother as an outsider in the political game to go further and win over the various special interest groups, local organizations, and rural populations ignored by other candidates. Young voters should be courted as well, along with anyone else who might be of use. As Quintus notes, even people no decent person would associate with in normal life should become the closest of friends during a campaign if they can help get you elected. Restricting yourself to a narrow base of support guarantees failure.
5. Promise everything to everybody. Except in the most extreme cases, candidates should say whatever the particular crowd of the day wants to hear. Tell traditionalists you have consistently supported conservative values. Tell progressives you have always been on their side. After the election you can explain to everyone that you would love to help them, but unfortunately circumstances beyond your control have intervened. Quintus assures his brother that voters will be much angrier if he refuses to promise them their hearts’ desire than he backs out later.
6. Communication skills are key. In ancient Rome the art of public speaking was studied diligently by all men who aspired to political careers. In spite of the new and varied forms of media today, a poor communicator is still unlikely to win an election.
7. Don’t leave town. In Marcus Cicero’s day this meant sticking close to Rome. For modern politicians it means being on the ground pressing the flesh wherever the key voters are at a particular moment. There is no such thing as a day off for a serious candidate. You can take a vacation after you win.
8. Know the weakness of your opponents–and exploit them. Just as Quintus takes a hard look at those running against his brother, all candidates should do an honest inventory of both the vulnerabilities and strengths of their rivals. Winning candidates do their best to distract voters from any positive aspects of their opponents possess by emphasizing the negatives. Rumors of corruption are prime fodder. Sex scandals are even better.
9. Flatter voters shamelessly. Marcus Cicero was always courteous, but he could be formal and distant. Quintus warns him that he needs to warm up to voters. Look them in the eye, pat them on the back, and tell them they matter. Make voters believe you genuinely care about them.
10. Give people hope. Even the most cynical voters want to believe in someone. Give the people a sense that you can make their world better and they will become your most devoted followers–at least until after the election, when you will inevitably let them down. But by then it won’t matter because you will have already won.

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2016 in EDUCATION, ELECTION, HISTORY

 

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Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Dignity)

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Posted by on April 7, 2016 in EDUCATION

 

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