Archive for the ‘behavior’ Category

Fil-Ams don’t want bad news?

March 15, 2009

“I don’t run away from a challenge because I am afraid. Instead, I run toward it because the only way to excape fear is to trample it beneath your feet.” —-Nadia Comaneci, Olympic gymnastics gold medalist

According to the Philippine Mission to the United Nations in New York, Filipinos residing in the USA would rather hear good news from the Philippines. Yes, we like to have the positives rather than the negatives each time we talk about the motherland. But what if there is a dearth of good news? Do we have to dodge the country’s toxic news and focus only on the good ones?

No matter how much we want to escape reality, it’s always there to challenge us. This is probably what happened when Fil-Am community leaders across the United States engaged themselves in dialogues with visiting Philippine officials—-saying that they want good news, wanting the bad ones in the back burner. For so long, everybody knows our problems. They’re all over the media for us to solve.

“We thought we would be faced with disbelief and confronted with hard questions, but we were pleasantly surprised that our kababayan [compatriots] here would rather hear the positive developments in the Philippines. Our team was ready to clarify even the negative news, but no one raised them,” the report quoted Edgardo Pamintuan, presidential adviser on external affairs—Inquirer (03/16/09, Balana, C).

We seem to vent a very common reaction. Most of us don’t want to be bogged down by depressing news—problems that are entrenched, those that have little chance of being solved quickly.

In America, we have our own worries to tackle in addition to those we left behind back home. That’s why. Yet, being selective of what we want to do may lead to detachment, more apathy, and lack of care for the country. If we don’t bravely focus on hard truths, we won’t be able to advance ahead. We have serious problems that we must not ignore. As someone once said, “the best way to escape a problem is to solve it.” (Photo Credit: Mineke_Reinders; Akira_Minh)

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The danger of keeping a chimpanzee at home

February 20, 2009

There is that report of octuplets born to a jobless, unmarried, emotionally unstable woman on welfare in California with already 6 children. A 13-year old boy in Great Britain became a father after his 15 year-old girl friend gave birth to a newborn baby girl. On Monday, February 16, 2009, a rampaging chimpanzee owned by a 70year old lonely widow mauled a lady-friend who sustained severe facial injuries and body mutilation before the animal was gunned down by policemen who responded to an emergency call for help.

These are three recent incidents which make us think of what must be done with our society. Are we ready to accept a woman’s decision to have 14 babies even if she can’t afford raising them? Who is to take responsibility when a boy who has no inkling of what fatherhood is all about sires an infant? Why do we allow ordinary citizens to keep dangerous pets like this chimpanzee that savagely attacks people?

Sandra Herold took care of Travis like her own child until the 14-year old chimp turned violent almost killing 55 year old Charla Nash of Stamford, CT. Herold’s husband and daughter died years ago and she had been so bonded to the chimpanzee, a 176 lbs. hairy animal so dangerous to keep at home.

Authorities have not said whether Herold will face criminal charges. Connecticut state law allowed her to own the chimp as a pet, though several state leaders are calling for tighter restrictions in the wake of Monday’s attack.”—AP (02/19/09, Christoffersen, J)

The distraught and grieving widow said she gave her primate friend all-out love, offered him the best food, droved him to enjoy car rides, served him wine in tall glasses, and shared a bed to sleep together. However, the unusual bond between the two is worrisome. It makes us seriously consider the human limits in dealing with animals. Wild animals deserve to live in the wild. With the gory incident, it is time to enact laws against raising dangerous pets at home. (Photo Credit: Claire Middsy) =0=

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Name calling in the Senate

February 19, 2009

When Sen. Miriam D. Santiago resorts to name calling to make a point, most of us laugh. We’re tickled by the colorful but vile language that only a lawyer from UP with a peculiar sanity can deliver. And surprisingly, she is tolerated by her colleagues whom she disparagingly labels as “idiots.”

For all her self-proclaimed erudition, Santiago harbored frustration after being trashed in her bid to be a jurist in the International Court of justice (ICJ,) a position she actively campaigned for. The emotionally volatile lady senator dared the then Pres. Joseph Estrada who was a school drop-out for an IQ test match to push forward her mental superiority. Her bizarre mouth-blabbering cowed the people around her. She called members of the legislature as “fungus faced.” The lady threatened to jump from a plane only to say later she was just joking.

When party list representative Risa Hontiveros disagreed with Santiago against the court-like conduct of senate inquiries using “rules of evidence,” the gas bag allegedly referred to Hontiveros as a “menopausal insect who was out to get publicity and wanted to teach the senate.”

Such nasty words are unlikely to come from a supposedly educated lawmaker. That’s why people don’t think of her as reliable, sincere, and sane. Many squirm with shame at her vile comments which frustrate productive exchange of ideas. Instead of being direct on issues and coherrent in her thoughts, Santiago resorts to reckless talk which is unbecoming of a person in her position. =0=

Great Britain’s 13-year old boy-dad

February 18, 2009

Among the most alarming images I have seen lately is the picture of a four-foot tall, baby-faced Alfie Patten, the British boy who at 13 fathered a newborn girl. Sadly, little can be said, but much has to be done, about the immature kid and his infant whose heart-breaking photo appeared in the front page of the The Sun. The young mom is Alfie’s 15 year-old girlfriend Chantelle Steadman.

“It’s an indication that we’ve lost our way, that people don’t know the difference between right and wrong,” he said of Alfie. ‘The plain fact is society can’t proceed on this basis. I think this is an indication of broken Britain,'” said Sir Bernard Ingham, Former Press Secretary of Margaret Thatcher. San Francisco Chronicle/AP (02/16/09, Katz, G)

In another vein, in California, USA, Nadya Suleman, a 33-year old, jobless woman who has been battling emotional instability gave birth to octuplets (8 babies) by in-vitro fertilization (IVF) done a fertility MD against the standard of medical practice. Before the birth of her 8 babies, Nadya who shares a 3 bedroom home with her financially bankrupt parents has 6 children from previous assisted pregnancies.

It’s debated how the unmarried woman who lives on welfare will be able to take care of her 14 children. The hospital bills she has incurred are beyond the roof. With meager sense of accountability, she has hired a PR person to handle her book deals, TV interviews, and appeals for donations to keep her kids.

Great Britain suffers from inordinately high rate of teen pregnancies, petty thievery, alcoholism, and rampant street crimes among teenagers. America has problems which mirror these problems as well. As human beings, we think inwardly and ask, “Why? What has gone wrong in our world?” (Photo Credit: Stringer/ AFP/ Getty Images/ SFC)=0=

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Kissing Guinness World Record goes to Mexico

February 15, 2009

It must be a cause of disappointment for Filipinos that this year, Mexico bagged the Guinness world record of having the biggest number of people gathered for a simultaneous kiss. On February 14, 2009, Valentines day, 39,897 Mexicans simultaneously kissed together in public to beat the the Britishers who won last year with 32,648 smoochers. The Philippines had only about 7,000 couples in a kissing event held in February 2007 in Manila.

According to Carlos Martinez, one of the Mexican organizers this year, the number could have reached 42,225, but crowd control was a problem in an open square in the city. The world record brought a shimmer of meaning when coodinators and social activists decried the growing peace and order problem of Mexico.

Almost 6,000 died last year of violence that has extended in towns along the US-Mexican border. Most of the crimes are related to the drug war being waged in the country. (Photo Credit: Sir Frank Dicksee PD) =0=

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Kissing Guinness World Record goes to Mexico

February 15, 2009

It must be a cause of disappointment for Filipinos that this year, Mexico bagged the Guinness world record of having the biggest number of people gathered for a simultaneous kiss. On February 14, 2009, Valentines day, 39,897 Mexicans simultaneously kissed together in public to beat the the Britishers who won last year with 32,648 smoochers. The Philippines had only about 7,000 couples in a kissing event held in February 2007 in Manila.

According to Carlos Martinez, one of the Mexican organizers this year, the number could have reached 42,225, but crowd control was a problem in an open square in the city. The world record brought a shimmer of meaning when coodinators and social activists decried the growing peace and order problem of Mexico.

Almost 6,000 died last year of violence that has extended in towns along the US-Mexican border. Most of the crimes are related to the drug war being waged in the country. (Photo Credit: Sir Frank Dicksee PD) =0=

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Hundreds of dolphins disoriented in shallow Philippine waters

February 11, 2009

There’s a great deal of empathy that was elicited by the sight of hundreds of dolphins stranded in shallow waters of Orion and Pilar, Bataan, somewhere close to Manila Bay in the Philippines. For reasons that aren’t clear, the docile and friendly sea mammals were stranded on Tuesday, February 10, 2008, unable to swim back to deeper waters.

Fishermen and town folks from neighboring villages came in droves to help drive the melon-head dolphins, numbering about 200 to 300, back to sea. Admirably, the villagers followed the appeal of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to help and not harm the marooned animals.

“The unusual occurrence may have been triggered by a sea quake that could have damaged the dolphins’ eardrums and disoriented them, or the pod could have been following a sick or injured leader, Malcolm Sarmiento, director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, said in a telephone interview.”—-AOL News/ AP (02/10/09, Marquez, B; Cerojano, C)

Though the group of agile air-breathing animals eventually made it to the open sea, there were three dolphins found dead. One was pregnant and one was a young baby. According to the animal doctor who examined the remains, two adult dolphins revealed fractured eardrums. (Photo Credit: Malaya) =0=

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Hundreds of dolphins disoriented in shallow Philippine waters

February 11, 2009

There’s a great deal of empathy that was elicited by the sight of hundreds of dolphins stranded in shallow waters of Orion and Pilar, Bataan, somewhere close to Manila Bay in the Philippines. For reasons that aren’t clear, the docile and friendly sea mammals were stranded on Tuesday, February 10, 2008, unable to swim back to deeper waters.

Fishermen and town folks from neighboring villages came in droves to help drive the melon-head dolphins, numbering about 200 to 300, back to sea. Admirably, the villagers followed the appeal of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to help and not harm the marooned animals.

“The unusual occurrence may have been triggered by a sea quake that could have damaged the dolphins’ eardrums and disoriented them, or the pod could have been following a sick or injured leader, Malcolm Sarmiento, director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, said in a telephone interview.”—-AOL News/ AP (02/10/09, Marquez, B; Cerojano, C)

Though the group of agile air-breathing animals eventually made it to the open sea, there were three dolphins found dead. One was pregnant and one was a young baby. According to the animal doctor who examined the remains, two adult dolphins revealed fractured eardrums. (Photo Credit: Malaya) =0=

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Shoes versus Pres. George W. Bush, pelting eggs on a Romanian leader & a pepper spray for a Manila socialite

December 23, 2008

There is always something to laugh about or be concerned for when we read that a head of state like President George W. Bush got shoes thrown on his face by a hateful angry Iraqi. The outgoing US president has been blamed for almost anything that has gone wrong—-from the war Afghanistan, the economy, business, and social security. On his last visit to Iraq, he got insolent treatment.

The journalist who threw the shoes has been charged for endangering the life of a head-of-state. Since December 14, 2008, Muntadhar al-Zeidi complains of having been rough-handled and beaten by authorities. According to his brother, the apology he made for the crime was forced; he liked doing it again to the delight of his supporters.

Shoe-throwing-by Filipinos

The shoe-throwing incident in Baghdad had mixed reception in all cultures of the world. Many took it as a prank worthy of a loud laugh. The intelligence community thought of it as a security breach, an insult to visiting dignitaries. Overseas Filipinos (OFW’s) took the event as an occasion to display their own displeasure of Gloria M. Arroyo (GMA,) the president whose administration had been bugged by rising scandalous corruption. They too pulled angry shoe-throwing displays, making GMA’s photos as the apt target.

Egg-throwing in Romania

In the ceremony marking the people revolution of 1989, irate Romanians pushed, jeered, and pelted eggs on Ion Iliescu, the leader who replaced Nicolae Ceausescu. The latter was Romanian’s dreaded communist dictator who was violently ousted and executed in an uprising two decades ago.

A three-time elected leader of Bucharest, Iliescu was blamed for failing to go into the bottom of the deaths of more than 1,000 people during his predecessor’s bloody regime. A 79-year old aggrieved man who lost a son was arrested for throwing eggs.

Pepper-Spray Scandal in Manila

A brawl of two flashy socialites resulted to eye injuries which led Neny Montinola to visit the emergency room of a swanky hospital in the Philippines. According to reports, at a party in the “Embassy,” in November, Patricia Panilio-Cu-Unjieng, a Filipina of alleged upscale breed and wealth, angrily pumped pepper-sprays on her rival’s face to vent rage—at the acme of her “jealousy.’

Controversies which passed the ears of their patrons ensued until the two women decided to end their catty dispute. They chose to bury the scandal’s dagger in the spirit of Christmas. Supposedly bred in some exclusive schools in Manila, the two war-weary ladies reconciled. A public apology was reportedly issued, though no one seemed to have paid attention. The people of the country were too focused in their own mundane concerns.

THE AFTER-THOUGHT

This is the world we are in. People can just attack someone without thinking of the consequences. Anyone can make an apology whose sincerity is up for questions. Whether they are justified in their actions isn’t much of an importance. Violence in whatever form must not be condoned.

We better watch out. There are legitimate ways to protest and redress wrongs in civilized cultures. But it appears the avenues to get justice are threatened by the fraying of ethical traditions and the warping of our own moral beliefs. (Photo Credits: http://www.ChinaDaily.com; http://lakwatsera1.com; Luky-luke; Bo Madsen=0=

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Nudity in UP Campus & Rizal’s Ultimo Adios

December 17, 2008



Craftiness must have clothes, but truth loves to go naked.”—English Proverb

A tradition of public nudity has developed in the University of the Philippines (UP). On its 100 years of glorious existence, the school has a rash of flesh-baring events— inspired by the iconic metal image of a man in an act of “oblation” right at the campus gate.

The thought of giving oneself naked has turned to be an irresistible wild dream in the academe. It’s a heart-rousing idea that seems to rub the minds of people who subscribe to the sane and the absurd.

Perhaps they take themselves too seriously. They can be deluded by their self-importance, believing that they are smarter than others and thus deserving of occasional tantrums. There is covert hubris in many UPians. They may be enamored by the grand words of the second verse of Jose P. Rizal’s Ultimo Adios etched on the base of Guillermo Tolentino’s oblation sculpture standing in the school grounds:

“In the fields of battle,
deliriously fighting,
Others give you their lives,
without doubt, without regret;
Where there’s cypress, laurel or lily,
On a plank or open field,
in combat or cruel martyrdom,
If the home or country asks,
it’s all the same–it matters not.”

—Jose P. Rizal, National Hero

The connection of nudity today in UP and Rizal’s heroism is at best tenuous. Yet, for 50 years, the oblation run has been a yearly project of the Alpha Phi Omega (APO) fraternity. It started as a prank and had since then become one of the most celebrated in the university.

Nudes, wearing only masks and bonnets parade themselves around the campus. The justification of the bizarre display of the mons veneris and the penile appendage is usually a protest for an “issue” that bothers the community. Although not all are convinced of the “alibi,” the event brings eager crowds nonetheless to watch the warm flesh pass by. Amidst heckles and laughter, the men give away roses to merry spectators, but many are oblivious and dismissive of the rationale behind the run.

The oblation run held on December 16, 2008 had only 10 nude men streaking their way around the campus. But I thought they had one in June where a hundred participated. For the latest run, APO chose to protest the boiling charter change (Cha-cha) controversy which is occupying the mind of the nation. They also fussed about President Gloria M. Arroyo, the environment and climate change.

The fewer turn-out of those wanting to show their flesh might have been the consequence of an early morning photo shoot of about 100 nude UPians to celebrate the school’s service to the country a week before. Capping the school’s centennial year celebration, on December 13, 2008, the dawn picture session had almost a hundred UPians exposing their skins. What was once considered a joke had turned out to be a controversial collective legitimate expression of selfless offering: “UP Para sa Bayan” (UP for the Nation.)

The nude mania also caught the fancy of the fine arts luminaries of the university. Earlier in June this year, works of National Artists Fernando Amorsolo, Guillermo Tolentino, Napoleon Abueva, Jose Joya, Cesar Legaspi, Benedicto “Bencab” Cabrera, Carlos “Botong” Francisco, Abdulmari Imao and Vicente Manansala, among others were displayed in a public mall in Quezon city, in an exhibit titled, “100 Nudes/100 years.” It was supposed to be a self-congratulating reunion of UP artists to show the whole world of the school’s “big reservoir of talents.”

I don’t know if the Pavlovian concept on operant conditioning works on the psychology behind this nudity hullabaloo. If I have my psychiatry straight, humans like animals, are governed by rewards and punishments. When forbidden behavior such as shedding one’s clothes is reinforced by approving attention, many will do it again. There’s no negative backlash, no punishment and no incentive to prevent UP from doing the oblation run. Nudity which can be pleasurable, is tolerated, and even approved of by university authorities. En masse in front of satisfied onlookers, the event becomes a rousing surreal occasion akin to Bacchanalia.

Liberals, anarchists, and free thinkers can look at public nudity differently even if there are laws against indecent exposure. They usually laud anything contrary to the norm. They want unbridled freedom without much responsibility. Their perspective can be summed up with what iconoclastic John Lennon said when he was still alive.

“The main hang-up in the world today is hypocrisy and insecurity. If people can’t face up to the fact of other people being naked, or whatever they want to do, then we’re never going to get anywhere. People have got to become aware that it’s none of their business and that being nude is not obscene. Being ourselves is what’s important. If everyone practised being themselves instead of pretending to be what they aren’t, there would be peace.”—John Lennon, Beatles singer

Lennon’s opinion is just one side of the coin. He can’t be taken seriously all the way for there are conservative moral and cultural issues that must not be ignored by Filipinos. As a counterpoint, I can only refer at the photos of the oblation run shown in the blog. I suspect they have become raunchier and debased than the years past. With some clues of what goes on during the run, I need to repeat my two-cent worth of opinion about this school-sanctioned nude exhibitions in a supposedly sane university:

Surely, there is amusement in nudity, but such display is distracting and unwarranted. Young masked students running with no clothes on, giving away roses to onlookers is such a powerful emotion-rouser that we risk forgetting the grievances behind why we do it. It’s generally regarded as a mischievous prank rather than a serious protest. In spite of the fun, there is this troubling question whether such an event brings the most benefit in the long run. It makes us think if merriment and humor are always the best ways to air our problems and solve them.

After stating my closing thought, I couldn’t help but laugh when I read a smart quip about being nude—“Don’t arrest me. I was born this way.” It seemed the inane controversy on nudity in campus would stay. But with the rate ethical behavior and righteousness is expended these days, I would not be surprised if UP and many of her children might go astray. Photo Credits: in dekost; in.dekost; indekost; pmt007; in.dekost; in.dekost)=0=

RELATED BLOGS: “The Oblation Run: a risque prank becomes a raunchy protest”
Posted by mesiamd at 6/20/2008; “UP Para Sa Bayan” Posted by mesiamd at 12/13/2008

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