Category Archives: EDUCATION
“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” Thomas Jefferson
By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY — Around past three o’clock one afternoon inside the cold Central Park, Professor Jozef Copernicus told me he instantly recalled having visited Manila after the 1986 EDSA Revolution.
“It was my first and only visit in your country,” the professor mused. “I was a speaker in an international conference held in a hotel by the bay (Manila Hotel?)”
Professor Copernicus thought the Marcos family made the right decision to fly to Hawaii when the mob was already a cinch way from capturing Malacanang Palace evening of February 25, 1986.
The late former dictator Ferdinand Marcos, the professor insisted, should also be credited “for aborting a bloodshed that would have tarnished the reputation of your country (as the only Catholic in Asia).”
“It was supposed to be a revolution, right? But why nobody was shot; why no one was killed?” Prof. Copernicus inquired like a classroom teacher doing a recitation test.
“Nobody was killed, yes. There was no bloodshed because President Marcos rejected the appeal of Armed Forces Chief, Gen. Fabian Ver, to shoot the rebel soldiers led by Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile and (AFP Vice Chief of Staff) Gen. Fidel Ramos, who were being protected by the People Power,” I answered looking straight at both his eyes.
Prof. Copernicus: “And they were also being protected by nuns praying the rosary and holding the statues of Virgin Mary, right?”
APV: “That’s correct, Professor! The nuns also gave flowers to government soldiers manning the tanks.”
Prof. Copernicus: “Filipinos are mostly Christians and deeply religious by nature?”
APV: “We were the only country in the world that has not experienced a bloody revolution; and basically we are mostly religious, having been Christianized by Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 at the time when Martin Luther was starting to spread the protestant movement in Europe.”
Prof. Copernicus: “We are talking about the EDSA Revolution, which happened only more than 20 years ago, but you are jumping to the events that happened more than 500 years ago. You are mixing the dates.”
APV: “I’m sorry, professor. But they are related to the hypothesis on how we, Filipinos, became a Christian country.” (To be continued)
“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.” — Steve Jobs
By Alex P. Vidal
HILLSBOROUGH, New Jersey –– Have you ever read a book that begins at the end?
It might seem strange to start a story with an ending, but all things are also beginnings; we just don’t know it at the time, writes Mitch Albom, author of Tuesdays with Morrie, in his 2003 follow-up book, The Five People You Meet in Heaven.
This long-awaited enchanting, beautifully crafted novel “explores a mystery only heaven can unfold.”
Albom starts with a narration of Eddie’s last hour of life which was spent at Ruby Pier, an amusement park by a great gray ocean.
The park had the usual attractions, a boardwalk, a Ferris wheel, roller coasters, bumper cars, a taffy stand, and an arcade where you could shoot streams of water into a clown’s mouth, Albom describes.
It also had a big new ride called Freddy’s Free Fall, and this would be where Eddie would be killed, in an accident tha would make newspapers around the state.
Albom reminds readers that at the time of Eddie’s death, he was a squat, white-haired old man, with a short neck, a barrel chest, thich forearms, and a faded army tattoo on his right shoulder.
“His legs were thin and veined now, and his left knee, wounded in the war, was ruined by arthritis. He used a cane to get around,” Albom narrates.
“His face was broad and craggy from the sun, with saltry whiskers and a lower jaw that protruded slightly, making him look prouder than he felt. He kept a cigarette behind his left ear and a ring of keys hooked to his belt. He wore rubber-sold shoes. He wore an old linen cap. His pale brown uniform suggested a workingman, and a workingman he was.”
In Eddie’s final moments, he seemed to hear the whole world: distant screaming, waves, music, a rush of wind, a low, loud, ugly sound that he realized was his own voice blasting through his chest.
The little girl raised her arms. Eddie lunged. His bad leg buckled. He half flew, half stumbled toward her, landing on the metal platform, which ripped through his shirt and split open his skin, just beneath the patch that read Eddie and Maintenance. He feels two hands in his own, two small hands.
A stunning impact.
A blinding flash of light.
And then, nothing.
Eddie is a grizzled war veteran who feels trapped in a meaningless life of fixing rides at a seaside amusement park. Then, on his 83rd birthday, Eddie dies in a tragic accident, trying to save a little girl from a falling cart.
With his final breath, he feels two small hands in his–and then nothing.
He awakens in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a lush Garden of Eden, but a place where your earthly life is explained to you by five people who were in it.
“These people may have been loved ones or distant strangers. Yet each of them changed your path forever,” Albom stresses.
One by one, Eddie’s five people illuminate the unseen connections of his earthly life.
As the story builds to its stunning conclusion, Eddie desperately seeks redemption in the still-unknown last act of his life: Was it a heroic success or a devastating failure?
The answer, which comes from the most unlikely of sources, is as inspirational as a glimpse of heaven itself, promises the book.
“The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.” Joseph Stalin
By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY — Six months after the Philippines will hold a presidential election on May 9, 2016, the United States will also hold their own presidential election on November 8, 2016.
The US election has always been our model since time immemorial.
It’s not difficult to admire the electoral system of the United States when we are used to witnessing the decrepit system in the Philippines, where the results are usually known after more than a week or even two weeks after the election.
In the United States, the losers deliver concession speeches gracefully the night of election day, and winners deliver their victory speeches magnanimously thereafter.
When Americans wake up the next morning, they already have inkling about their newly elected officials even before they eat breakfast.
In the Philippines, concession and victory speeches come only if winners are not accused by their losing rivals of committing electoral fraud.
When losing bets cry “we wuz robbed” it will take months or even years before the winners are declared officially by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
In many cases, the winners get to occupy their elected seats only days before the next election; sometimes they never have a chance to take their oath of office as they are embroiled in a protracted legal skirmish.
Filipino politicians lose because either they are “victims of fraud” or they suffer from “shortage of campaign funds.”
Whether there is semblance of truth in the aforementioned allegations, losers in the Philippine elections almost always have alibis to offer; they never ran out of excuses.
In the US presidential race, results are determined by the number of electoral votes from the Electoral College. Since the Electoral College is consist of 538 electors, a majority of 270 electoral votes is required to elect the president.
Under the system, a candidate who wins the popular votes can not clinch the presidency.
If the presidential standard bearer in one political party wins, his vice president also wins automatically.
Because of the two-party system (Democrat and Republican), results are fast and accurate.
In the Philippines, five or more political parties can field their candidates from president down to the local level as long as they are accredited by the Comelec.
The logjam illustrates how chaotic is the tasks and responsibilities of the poll body in terms of regulating these political parties and disqualifying the so-called nuisance candidates who run as independents.
The multi-party system is being viewed as an aberration in the Philippine electoral system where winners are picked based on popularity votes or the number of votes they can garner from different polling precincts nationwide.
Some of these well-oiled political parties can also delay the proclamation of certain winners by filing annoying election protests meant to derail if not sabotage the assumption into office of winners.
In some cases, winners are assassinated to prevent them from occupying their seats.
Beset by tribal and ideological differences, elections in the countryside in most cases are attended by violence and massive irregularities such as vote-buying, coercion, threats, intimidation giving credence to the infamous “guns, goons, and golds” terror tactic employed by influential and moneyed bets.
The electoral process in the United States can be considered as role model for other democratic countries that select their leaders through election worldwide.
By afternoon of the day after the November 6, 2012 election, reelected President Barack Obama was already back in White House to assume his second mandate.
And life goes on for all Americans.
“I don’t wanna talk about things we’ve gone through. Though it’s hurting me, now it’s history. I’ve played all my cards. And that’s what you’ve done, too. Nothing more to say; no more ace to play.” ABBA in “The Winners Takes It All”
By Alex P. Vidal
NOW that Dr. Janette Loreto-Garin has been officially appointed by President Simeon Benigno “Nonoy” Aquino III as secretary of the Department of Health (DOH), father-in-law Oscar “Oca” Garin Sr. loses his political bargaining chips in the 2016 elections.
When Mr. Aquino delayed Loreto-Garin’s appointment (he was supposed to install her after the visit of Pope Francis in January), there were speculations that the president “has changed mind” as he is now notoriously known.
February came and still Loreto-Garin and her fans were anxiously waiting on tenterhooks; her fate wasn’t clear.
The scuttlebutt was the “dark forces” within the department prevailed upon the president to forego with Loreto-Garin’s appointment as DOH chief and retain her as undersecretary.
Lo and behold, Malacanang delivered the coup de grace on March 12 when everyone’s attention was somewhere else: Loreto-Garin is now officially the new full-fledged DOH secretary.
Good news for the Garin clan of Iloilo and the Loreto clan of Leyte.
How about to the older Garin’s political plans in 2016?
Garin Sr., father of Loreto-Garin’s husband, Iloilo first district Rep. Oscar “Richard” Garin Jr., is reportedly planning to run for vice governor of Iloilo in 2016.
It is still unclear though, as of this writing, whether Governor Arthur “Art” Defensor Sr. is inclined to accommodate a fellow Liberal Party (LP) stalwart Garin Sr. as Defensor’s runningmate in 2016.
Garin Sr. could have used the delay or rejection of Loreto-Garin’s appointment in the DOH as a bargaining chip to compel Malacanang to consider him as Defensor’s runningmate in 2016 or he will make tampo or sunggod and bolt the party and embrace the opposition owing to the “double whammy” (if Loreto-Garin didn’t bag the DOH’s top portfolio and the nomination as Defensor’s runningmate).
Now that Loreto-Garin’s appointment is moot and academic, Garin Sr. has no more reason to make tampo or sunggod to Malacanang or to the LP hierarchy.
A political debt of gratitude today could mean a death blow to any ambition for higher posts in the future.
If Garin Sr. can’t clinch LP’s vice gubernatorial slot in Iloilo, he has no more aces in his sleeves to pressure President Aquino and the LP bigwigs.
We have given your daughter-in-law the biggest pork. Leave to us the beans, Malacanang and the LP bosses can always tell Oca Garin straight in the eyes.
After all, beggars can’t be choosers.
THE claim of West Visayas State University (WVSU) professor, Ma. Rosario Victoria E. De Guzman, that some college students, mostly below legal age, are engaging in “survival sex” or prostitution to finish their studies, is not new.
Parents have heard this story in the 80’s and 90’s and even in the early years of the new millennium.
Each time the issue is tackled in the media, school authorities and social scientists almost always blamed the economic dilemma that bedevils the students involved in selling their bodies for sex.
We agree to some extent. There really is a need to seriously address this gnawing problem with the active participation of the parents.
Economic realities force students to perform lewd acts in the internet and sexual services to patrons who take advantage of their plight.
Concerned authorities should trace the problem’s origin at home.
Financial problem may not be the only reason why some young students engage in prostitution.
Many members of the younger generation nowadays are hooked on a lot of vices and even illegal drugs.
They need not only money but attention, as well. Attention from their parents, guardians and guidance counselors; attention from their friends, boyfriends and girlfriends.
In their confusion, some of these young students get the “quickest” and the “most practical” answers to their questions about their sexuality from non-experts or from those outside their homes and schools.
Here’s another catch: Ninety-nine percent of “experts” in the sexual problems of women never had a menstrual period, a hot flash, or a baby—and never will, according to Dr. David Reuben, an expert in human sexuality.
“In fact they will never have any female sexual experiences at all—because they are men,” he added.
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” Harriet Tubman
By Alex P. Vidal
IT started as a ragtag group of young men who didn’t care about their lives.
When Justice Ramon B. Britanico (mayor of Miag-ao, Iloilo from 1968-1971) spotted them in the public plaza sometime in 1971, the mayor exhorted them to do something about their lives.
“That’s when (Vicente) Bugoy (Molejona) gathered them and named the group as Kilometraje 40,” disclosed Rene Monteclaro, station manager of Radyo Ng Bayan Iloilo.
Moncteclaro, who also hails from Miag-ao, Iloilo, some 40 kilometers southwest of Iloilo City, said the name “Kilometraje 40” was taken from the landmark of “KM 40 SJ 14” near the historic Miag-ao Church where the group gathered regularly.
KM 40 means the distance from the municipality to Iloilo City while SJ 14 is the distance from the municipality to San Joaquin, the last Iloilo municipality going to Antique province.
There are many many disputed etymologies for Miag-ao. One of the most popular, and probably the most widely accepted version is that the name of the town was derived from a plant named Miagos or Osmoxylon lineare, a flowering plant from the family Araliaceae that used to grow abundantly in the area when the Spaniards came.
Molejona, who was laid to rest at the Miag-ao Catholic Cemetery on March 9, was Kilometraje 40’s founding president.
“Among the group’s original members was Jomar, my older brother. From a small group, Kilometraje 40 rose to become a serious organization,” narrated Monteclaro, 57, who became the group’s president in 1978.
Monteclaro, an ex-seminarian like Molejona, said the group later on welcomed women as members. The males are called the “pinasahi” (rare) while the females are the “pinasulabi” (priority)
They launched the “Kauswagan”, a cultural show and became actively involved in organizing socio-civic cultural activities.
Kilometraje 40 produced “The Legend of Maya and Gao”, a cultural presentation and dance drama.
They also launched the “Mutya kang Miag-ao” beauty contest that became an institution in 1978.
“Our group was non-sectarian, non-political and non-profit,” explained Monteclaro. “We were independent. We raised our own funds. We didn’t realy on others, and we have our own constitution and by-laws.”
Monteclaro said the members considered Molejona, a retired director of the Population Commission (Popcom) before his death on February 22, as “a mentor and a source of our inspiration.”
“Bugoy was a role model. In Kilometraje 40, so many dreams and projects were made possible. We engaged in interaction. In fact, I learned my master’s degree in management from Kilometraje 40,” Monctelaro said.
Monctelaro added: “We learned so many values from Bugoy. He taught us how to become responsible; how to lead an organization; not to give up.”
During difficulties, Monteclaro said “Bugoy never said harsh words to his people. When his friends approached him and apologized for a wrongdoing, Bugoy would tell them they committed no wrong to him but to the organization. And he was always smiling.”
Monteclaro continued: “Because of Bugoy, we didn’t afraid to accept responsibilities. He simply had a knack of simplifying things. He would always tell us, ‘kaya natin yan’ (we can do it).”
Former president Bernard Montealto said the group became inactive for awhile and regrouped when Molejona died.
Around 70 members joined Molejona’s funeral on March 9.