:: the rowster ::

I'm a teacher in a third-world country, but believe it or not, I'm among the 14.4% richest people on earth!

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Tuesday, September 30, 2003
10:07 PM
The good news ...

The good news is we won! The bad news is, there were (I hear) bad fights after the game, both in the middle of the court and among the spectators. :-/ Bad, bad, bad ....


Speaking of news, this whole issue between GMA Network and my former employer, The Probe Team, is really disturbing me. I don't want to say anything about it yet, because I don't know the whole story, but it smells of ... um ... Nepa Q-Mart ....
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Sunday, September 28, 2003
11:44 AM
Goodbye, Inday Badiday.

It's a little strange. When I was a child coming to the Philippines for Christmas holidays, Inday Badiday was one of the few Filipino television personalities I knew. In grade school, I watched See-True. And although I stopped watching showbiz talk shows as I grew up, Inday Badiday was this television personality who was simply always there on TV.

When someone famous dies, it can be very strange. On the one hand, you don't really know the person, so you don't really have any "right" to feel sad. Nevertheless, there's always a strange sense of hollowness surrounding the news of a celebrity's death.

Oh, Robert Palmer also died this week. :(
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Saturday, September 27, 2003
2:19 AM
Congrats, Jugs!

Congratulations, Jugs, and the rest of the Itchyworms for a great new video! Congratulations, too, to their director and everyone who worked on it. :)
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Friday, September 26, 2003
8:24 PM

Wala lang. I just had to have a post with that title.

(Plus, I figured, it's a better thing to blog about than the game ... which we all don't want to dwell on .... Sigh ....)

Update: Well, if there's anything I'm glad about, it's that people are really talking about violence against women and sexually transmitted diseases. As people should. It's about time that the issue of domestic violence becomes a public one.

Mark of clickmomukhamo.com has a brief but very good analysis of the underlying machismo in the interview that Joey Marquez gave. Read it here. Whether or not Kris Aquino is telling the truth, the point is, that kind of machismo--that entire way of thinking--creates the very atmosphere in which some men think it's okay to hit women.


Another Update (I'm sparing all of you an additional post): Alma Moreno admits that Joey hit her towards the end of their marriage.

During a conversation a few days ago with some friends (admit it, you've had conversations about it with your friends too!), some of my guy-friends expressed their dislike and lack of respect for Kris. "Siya kasi. She's stupid to enter into all these relationships with such awful men."

Now, I don't like Kris as a celebrity either; I don't think she's a very skillful host, and I've often gotten annoyed seeing her on TV. And, I do agree that her emotional quotient doesn't seem to be very high, especially when it comes to choosing men. But I'm wary of some comments about her that border on blaming her for being in a violent relationship. It's a dangerous argument: take it any further, and you might fall into the trap of blaming women for being rape victims, or victims of violence. Kris Aquino may have made several mistakes in choosing men in her past, but women do not enter relationships because they want to get beat up! If anything, Kris Aquino--and you can replace her name here with any other victim (or alleged victim) of domestic violence--simply trusted the wrong type of guy, but trusting someone is never a fault. Bottom-line: No matter how annoying a woman might be, there is never any excuse to hit her. And women should stop standing for it!

When I was a teenager, my mom told me, "The minute a man hits you, leave. Break up with him. Never think that it's going to be the last time, because if he can do it once, he can do it again." The older I get, and the more horror stories hear, the more I know it's true. And we--men and women--have to put an end to the kind of machismo that makes society turn a blind eye to the problem of domestic violence.
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Wednesday, September 24, 2003
1:12 AM
Funny song.

M let me listen to this really funny pro-La Salle song that goes, "I'd rather be green than be blue ...." His kabarkada forwarded it to him. It's such a laugh, but I have no idea where it came from. Does anyone out there know?
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Tuesday, September 23, 2003
7:48 PM

Nathan James M. Deen. September 23, 2003, 11:37 am. 6.12 lbs.

God bless the entire Deen family!!!! You are super, super, SUPER blessed!!!! :)
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Monday, September 22, 2003
12:58 AM
September 21.

Thirty-first anniversary of Martial Law today. There were a number of events on Friday night to commemorate the anniversary--a concert in Tower One, Cynthia Alexander's album-launching, and the launching of the CD of Lean: The Musical. M and I couldn't decide, at first, which to attend; we ended up not going to any because M had an early-morning appointment on Saturday.

We did, however, go to Caliraya this weekend, arriving there in time for a scrumptious dinner at M's tita's place. We headed back down to Manila earlier than usual, though, so I could make it back in time for my high school kabarkada's wedding. That makes three of eight to have walked down the aisle so far; another member of our barkada is getting married this November. At the reception, three of us singles agreed to go shopping together one of these days ... Why? Because we're running out of clothes to wear at weddings!! :P

Best wishes and congratulations to Honee and Dan!!!
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Friday, September 19, 2003
12:48 PM
The Wind.

Almost Famous (one of M's all-time favorite movies) is showing on HBO right now.

This song--one of my favorite folk-rock songs ever--is on the soundtrack:

I listen to the wind
to the wind of my soul
Where I'll end up well I think,
only God really knows
I've sat upon the setting sun
But never, never never never
I never wanted water once
No, never, never, never

I listen to my words but
they fall far below
I let my music take me where
my heart wants to go
I swam upon the devil's lake
But never, never never never
I'll never make the same mistake
No, never, never, never
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Wednesday, September 17, 2003
10:03 PM
Larry Fonacier (?) experience.

I wasn't planning to at first, but M urged me to post this story, so here goes ....


Two nights ago, Mike and I had dinner and a massage on Katipunan. We were done at around 11 p.m. and decided to drive through Ateneo (to enjoy the scenery). As we were driving in front of the Church, we saw a guy jogging.

Me: "Grabe, 11 pm, may nagjo-jogging pa rin."

Silence. We pass him.

Mike: "He kinda looked like Larry Fonacier."

Me: "I know. I was thinking the same thing."

Silence. We pass by Bellarmine.

Then, it suddenly starts to rain. As in, POUR. As in, BUHOS!!!

Me: "Oh my gosh, poor jogger. He's going to get caught in the rain."

Mike: "I know. Maybe we should offer him a ride."

Me: "Yeah. What if really IS Larry Fonacier? We better help him before he gets drenched in the rain."

So we drive to the high school, take a U-turn, head back to where we saw the guy.

He's not there.

Me: "Oh no! Where is he?"

Mike: "If that WAS Larry Fonacier...."

Me: "I know. He might get sick!"

Mike: "Let's look for him."

Me: "Maybe he ran to Bellarmine to get shelter."

So we drive to Bellarmine. Still no Larry Fonacier or Larry Fonacier-lookalike.

Mike: "He turned right so maybe he's somewhere along this road [the Parade Loop]."

So we drive around the Parade Loop. Wala pa rin.

By this time, we're already saying, "Oh no. Paano kung siya nga yun at magkasakit siya? What if he can't play this weekend?"

We drive past Xavier Hall, then past the library. Still no Larry/Larry-lookalike.

Finally, we figure, he probably ran to some other building for shelter--maybe Gesu. Or he probably ran to his car.

But now, we're semi-worried. Hala, paano kung si Larry Fo nga yun?

At least we tried ....

So anyway. To the Ateneo basketball fans out there, please pray that it wasn't Larry Fonacier. Or if it was, that he doesn't get sick.



End of silly story. :)
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Tuesday, September 16, 2003
11:13 PM
Joining the Friendster fray.

I have jumped on the bandwagon.

I was all prepared to write a post about the Friendster bandwagon, complete with snobbish (heheh!) implications that I would never join.

And then ...

... I get an invitation in my inbox ...

... from my boyfriend ...

... of all people.


So, okay.

After deleting all those invitations, I will finally join. To my friends, see you on Friendster. (Heheh!)
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2:29 AM
Williams sister killed.

A sister of Serena and Venus Williams was killed today (early Sunday in the U.S.). I feel sad.
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2:13 AM
Are you an older or a younger blogger?

Mark of clickmomukhamo.com writes his observations on the differences between "older bloggers" and "younger bloggers."

Hmmm, judging from my entries this past year, content-wise, I think I fall under Mark's "older bloggers" category (I rarely blog about personal goings-on, and only blog about, um, feelings when they are in relation to, um, commentaries on issues). But then again, I rarely identify my friends by name, so does that make me a "younger blogger"?


Okay, when you've decided on your own answer to that question, the next question to ponder is: What are the tell-tale differences between Gen X (that's us!) and Gen Y?

This is the topic of an ongoing conversation that M (see, full name not disclosed) and I have been having for the past several weeks. It becomes especially interesting because we--college batch '98--were born, really, on the cusp: Martial Law infants rather than babies. On the one hand, we feel an ocean of difference between ourselves and the more consumerist, party-going, MTV-raised, "Ferdinand Mar-who?" Gen Y crowd. On the other hand, we don't have the political conviction of our elder brothers and sisters, born only a few years before us.

At any rate, M and I feel that the definitive characteristic of generation X is rebellious, Angst-filled, disillusionment (interpreted by many Gen Y'ers as simply being whiny about the world), as embodied in the anti-Establishment political and cultural movements of our generation: going Left, going Underground, going Anti-Nukes (ah, memories of the Cold War!), going Ecological, and finally, in the last sputter of Gen X cynicism, going Grunge. (Note that the first two descriptions apply only to the Philippine, not to the American, Gen X ... because of Martial Law, of course.) Generation Y, in contrast, seems to be generally happy about working within the Establishment--whether the Establishment rears its head in the form of materialist advertising, consumer capitalism, or electronica music.

What do you think?

Update: I realize that my post may sound like I don't think highly of Gen Y. But au contraire, I feel there's a big chance they're going to be more successful than our generation, because they respect the existing structures and know how to work with them. They're also a lot more tech-savvy than our generation was, and they've mastered the new media forms. :)
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12:28 AM
The Pacific War.

As I type this, Discovery Channel is showing the Peabody-award-winning Hell in the Pacific, a documentary on World War II's Pacific War. The current segment is about the Bataan Death March.

Both my grandfathers fought in the Second World War: my paternal grandfather, with the U.S. forces; my maternal grandfather, with the guerillas. My paternal grandmother, who was a nurse, set up a clinic in her village in Abra and administered to the sick; there were few available doctors in the rural areas during the war. None of my grandparents talked much about the war as I was growing up, though I do know that my paternal grandfather received a Purple Heart.

It's strange being a Filipino; everyone's grandparents have war stories. I have at least two friends whose grandfathers walked in (and survived) the Bataan Death March, and I'm sure if I asked my other friends, I'd find out there are more.
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Sunday, September 14, 2003
3:54 PM
Manila Times article on Noel Cabangon.

The last time I watched Noel at 70s Bistro, Rome Jorge, a former officemate of M's was there, covering the gig for a story on Noel he was writing for Manila Times.

The article was published last August 24th, and the author, an old acquaintance of Noel's, took the interview as an opportunity to get Noel's comments on the flak he's been getting from many on the Left, for whom Noel has been a favorite protest musician since the 80s.

During the gig, I asked Rome what he thought of the flak that Noel was getting, and Rome said, "It's just completely unfair! Noel has done more for the country than so many of his critics."

Meanwhile, here's a brief snippet of the article:


Before any more leftists flame him and pin blame on the numerous Internet message boards, it is high time to kill a few urban legends in the make. Thus, the facts are:

1. The song was composed by Rom Dongeto and recorded by the duo Buklod, of which both Cabangon and Dongeto were members in 1994.

2. They were the ones approached by an ad agency, not the other way around.

3. Though he was abroad at the time, Dongeto consented via e-mail to Cabangon, with the latter having the final say on the use of the song.

4. The client for whom the song was being bought for was not initially disclosed. Though the identity of the client later became apparent, the duo allowed the use of the song all the same.

5. The parting of ways in 1994 of Cabangon and Dongeto was more for artistic growth and had very little to do with the fratricidal split still going on within the leftist movement. And though the two are identified with different ideological leanings, they remain good friends.

Why did he do it? “Why not?” opines music legend Joey Ayala on the matter. “I would have done the same.”

Cabangon has no regrets regarding his decision; he does admit, however, to being “disturbed” by all this talk. Those accusing him of selling out are perhaps unaware of his continuing dedication to advocacies dear to him. Cabangon retorts that the left is too possessive about one of their own. “Masyadong tayo-tayo (It’s too clique-ish).”

According to Cabangon, his motivation for allowing the commercial use of the song was “to open up doors beyond the confines of the left.” After all, if only the activists get to hear such songs, it would be as useless as preaching to the converted.


Read the rest of the Manila Times' article here.
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3:24 PM

I've been oblivious to the fact that my comments counter hasn't been working these past few months. (I just thought no one was commenting anymore--heheh!). Only when M told me, "Joey Ayala commented on your blog!" did I realize that people actually have been commenting all this time.

So ... sorry, everyone, for not having replied to all your comments! Heehee, silly me! :)
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Friday, September 12, 2003
7:04 PM
Suicide Protest in Cancun.

A South Korean farmer stabbed himself to death on Wednesday at Cancun, in protest over WTO policy which, he said, was devastating farmers around the world.

President of the Korean National Future Farmer's and Fisherman's Association and a former lawmaker, Lee Kyung-Hae stabbed himself in the chest with a Swiss Army knife during a march on Wednsday against the WTO. Earlier this year, he had staged a hunger strike at the WTO headquarters in Geneva; he had also stabbed himself in the stomach in an earlier protest, in 1993. (Read more about the incident here or here.)

According to this analysis, the world's poorer countries lose a total of $24 billion every year because of the subsidies paid to farmers by rich nations. Moreover, protectionist policies by the richer nations cost developing countries as much as $40 billion in potential agricultural exports. Agricultural trade in Asia alone could go up by as much as 85% if the rich nations changed their protectionist policies; put together, all developing countries could benefit from a 198% increase in agricultural trade. (Read more about the farmers' issues here.)

I won't even start to comment, because then I'm just going to get emotional and angry.
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12:21 PM
How rich are you ...

... compared to the rest of the world? Try this: the results may surprise you (they sure surprised me!).

Based on my income last year, I am among the top 14.4% richest people in the world. There are 5,135,938,303 people who are poorer than me, and I am the 864,061,697th richest person in the world.

Wow. I always felt poorer. Okay, I will stop complaining so much about money.

From the site: "Three decades ago, the people in well-to-do countries were 30 times better off than those in countries where the poorest 20 percent of the world's people live. By 1998, this gap had widened to 82 times."

(link from Mikoid)
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4:19 AM
More 9/11/03 thoughts.

From James Carroll.

And someone else.
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3:18 AM
More trouble in the Middle East.

As I type this, the already-chaotic situation in Israel appears to be getting worse. The Israeli Security Cabinet appears to have decided to remove Yassir Arafat from the region.

Gosh, what is happening to the world?

Update: And now, it appears that some form of mini-Palestinian People Power seems to be happening outside Arafat's house (or headquarters, or wherever it is that he is). It also appears that nobody in the CNN newsroom can speak Arabic well enough to translate what the crowd is shouting nor what Arafat is saying through his megaphone.
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1:49 AM
My 9/11 post.

Okay, here's my 9/11 post.

I was asleep in my stepsister's bedroom in California. I don't remember if my younger brother was sleeping on the trundle bed below me, but he probably was.

My mother's voice, a little frantic, awoke me: "A plane crashed into the World Trade Center!" I sat bolt upright. "Are you serious?!" And I ran into the master's bedroom where the news was blaring. My mom explained that my brother in Hong Kong had broken the news to her by phone. He had been passing outside an electronics store where a crowd had gathered to watch the television set in the display window, and curious, he had stopped too and seen the news. When he realized what had happened in New York City, he had called my mother long distance.

I was in shock. I had just flown from Manhattan back to California the week before. I had just been visiting with cousins, aunts, and friends, some of whom worked blocks from the World Trade Center. I had just had coffee in the Starbucks a stone's throw away.

I was confused. "Is it an accident? Or is it an attack?" I asked.

And then, as I watched (and I no longer remember if it was live or recorded), the second plane went into the other tower. And then we knew.


(Later that day, we heard conflicting news about my cousin's fiance, Sergio. He was a firefighter, and had been among those who had rushed to the Twin Towers to conduct rescue operations. When we heard that some of the firefighters had been inside the building when it had collapsed, we were worried. But later, when the New York City phones were working again, we were told by an aunt that Sergio had gone home. We breathed a sigh of relief. Several hours later, we found out that we had been mistaken: Sergio was still missing. It was several days before we accepted that he had not made it.)
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12:59 AM
Joey Ayala.

M and I went to Joey Ayala's album launch. I wasn't even sure if we were going to stay; I was worried that the place was going to be too crowded .... But lo and behold, when I got there, I bumped into several old friends from where I used to work, people I hadn't seen in several years. (And everyone's reaction was, "Ang taba mo na!") I ended up spending more time catching up with them than listening to Joey (who was great, by the way; Cynthia played bass and Kiko whatsisface from The Dawn backed him up too). It was a lot of fun, and his encore was one of my absolute favorite Joey songs, Magkaugnay.

I bought a copy of the album (which I didn't notice was signed, until afterwards!) but I haven't listened to it yet. It's playing in M's car as I type this; I lent it to him for the night.

I also bumped into a former student who, it turns out, knows Joey personally, having climbed to Gabaldon with him when he was working on a reforestation project. It was pretty cool, because he (the student) introduced me to Joey! I was pretty embarrassed because I had "star-struck" written all over my face.
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Friday, September 05, 2003
6:00 PM
Books for kids.

I just finished reading J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter 5: The Order of the Phoenix, and Neil Gaiman's Coraline.

I imagine it must have been an immense challenge for Rowling to write a book no longer for or about children, but a book for and about fifteen-year-olds, the age group for which, I imagine, is probably among the most difficult to write. In the 5th of the series, Harry is about as brooding and angsty as I remember being at age twelve (hey, girls do mature faster than boys!). I think I'm a little sorry to see the child Harry go, but I nevertheless devoured this installment as quickly (in two sittings!) as I did the first four. Cons: The story is not very tight, the pacing is uneven, some elements are mere rehashes of those found in the previous books, and Harry's mood swings can be a little tiresome. Pros: The writing is witty, and the book is as much of a page-turner as the last.

I'm easily frightened--even just by books--so I had to read Coraline in the day time. Gaiman does wonders in this one. I had almost forgotten just how lonely childhood could be, but Gaiman's first few chapters had me reliving those endless, uncertain afternoons of waiting, waiting, waiting for something to happen or for someone to talk to, waiting to be big enough to be noticed, old enough to be heard. Creepy as the story was, I think that the book would've been a comforting refuge to me had I read it fifteen years ago.
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Tuesday, September 02, 2003
9:08 AM
An adolescent press.

Sheila Coronel's brief message of thanks for her Ramon Magsaysay award sums up what I feel, too, about the role of investigative journalism in Philippine society.

Coronel is this year's Ramon Magsaysay Awardee for Journalism, Literature and Creative Communication Arts.
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