Speaking as someone living in the SMS capital of the world ....
I found this article to be an interesting reminder about how much the U.S. lags in terms of cellphone use. (Grade school and high school policies here are also a little confused, but the story was news four or five years ago in the Philippines.) In contrast, I just saw a new Globe commercial on TV advertising their latest cellphone plan for kids.
You've got to hand it to Howie Severino. He never disappoints. His I-Witness team did a story tonight on Catholicism in Belgium. They followed the Belgium Boys' Choir from their Philippine tour back to their Belgian hometown, where Masses are only attended by one or two people. Catholicism is dying in Belgium; most of the Boys' Choir know only one priest, their choir master. One of the choir boys teachers Religion in a Jesuit school, where there are no priests at all. In the second to the last segment, Howie brought two members of the boys' choir all the way to Louvain so that they could meet, for the first time, young priests: and the young priests were (unsurprisingly) Filipinos who were doing their Ph.D. at the Catholic University of Louvain.
The irony, of course, is that the Belgians were among the first Catholic missionaries to the Philippines.
The show was a thought-provoking reflection on the Church, on religion, on modernity, and on culture.
It is so, so refreshing to watch a Philippine TV show that isn't afraid to be intelligent, and that dares to tackle issues that go beyond even normal Philippine public affairs fare.
Met up with a number of friends last week, among them some whom I haven't seen in a long time.
J, a very good friend from high school, is moving back to the Philippines with his wife, after five years of life abroad, and M and I, along with some other friends, met up with him on Monday. J's wife, in fact, has already resigned from her job and has been here since August, making preparations for a business that the couple will be launching by the end of the year.
On Wednesday, I shared a very nice conversation with A, whom I haven't seen in awhile, but of whom I expect to be seeing much more, as he is returning to the teaching profession beginning next semester.
On Saturday night, CD (whom I had also just had dinner with on Tuesday night) and I attended the wedding of another friend of ours from grade school/high school. The wedding was quite a reunion; several friends from high school whom we hadn't seen in years were present! There was much excited squealing; long after the program at the reception ended, people were still milling around, catching up with one another.
Finally, finally, finally ... it's done! After don't-ask-me-how-many years, I have finally earned my degree. My thesis defense on Friday went well, and Mike and my aunt prepared a wonderful salu-salo for my colleagues and me afterwards. (Thanks, Mike and Auntie W.!)
So I've been pretty ecstatic since Friday, riding on a wave of relief and of a deep sense of accomplishment.
And now, wow, I can actually think about other things ....
I have a silly theory, well-known among my colleagues, that everybody is, deep down, an elitist of some sort. We've even had conversations about this at work, trying to identify what kind of elitist each colleague is: one is a literature elitist, another a nature elitist (looks down on people who don't enjoy nature), another a Filipiniana elitist, another a reverse-elitist (considers people who aren't pro-poor beneath him), another a comic book elitist ....
Well, I've found the perfect quiz to test my theory: The Elitist Quiz (from Tris' blog).
And this is what I am:
From Timbuktu to Tijuana, you know all about world culture and politics. You've seen it all, and what you haven't seen, you watched on one of the "smart people channels." Your friends tell you that you should run for governor.
What people love: You've always got a great story to tell.
What people hate: You make them feel like ignorant plebians. Sometimes you slip and CALL them plebians.
I got home from a dinner with friends late on Friday night, and I caught the breaking news reports on TV about the violence that had erupted in the Russian hostage crisis. The TV images--of half-naked children running desperately away from the school, many of them bloodied--disturbed me more than those of 9/11 had. It was most difficult to watch one particular scene (on CNN, I think) of a crying mother rubbing the face of her dead child that lay on the grass.
Depiscable, that anyone should use children in that way, and there are no words to describe such horror.
AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev
Let's pray for all the victims--those who died, those who survived, and those who are mourning.