screw the status quo. we need change and we need it now. we need not a leader who plays with words and public funds. we need not a leader whose years of service fall under the 'fiction' category. we definitely need not a leader who knows nothing. we require a leader who has conviction, who has the guts to change the seemingly unchangeable. we need... to prepare for 2007. Now.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Someone get her a life, please!

The whole idea of a society of winners -- a place known above all for its best -- leads with surprising speed to a narrow pyramidal social structure. And then to division and widespread passivity. That in turn leads to false populism and mediocrity; to a world obssessed by bread and circuses, Heroes, and the need for leadership." -John Ralston Saul, in his book "On Equilibrium", as quoted in Benign0's website.

Whenever I go online, top in my list of activities is checking my mails for reactions to whatever is posted in this blog. Good or bad reviews, I read them all word by word. I love hearing responses from people, specially if they appreciate what I am talking about here. I get a lot of responses from Filipinos from all over- from Manhattan to Australia. It makes me think may pag-asa pa pala sa Pilipinas... that at least, there are still a lot of silent people here who actually think. I think most people who lurk or become mainstays of this blog are mostly people who become tired of seing things as they are now in our country. Frustrated and disappointed. Who wouldn't be? Being at work, in the malls, on the streets, while riding the MRT, or being just outside the house never fails to give a small portion of disgust about what's happening around us no matter if the day is good or totally bad. I once thought of getting out, but fact is: A Filipino can never really escape being a Filipino. If you're born brown, you'll be brown forever (yes, no matter how deep your makeup can get, you'll still be brown, sistah!). And I love being brown. I just hate how this brown country is being run and slowly consumed by evil forces in the society: The government, the filthy rich and uncaring ones, the goons, the pirates and media.

"I would rather have a Philippines run like hell by Filipinos than a Philippines run like heaven by the Americans," says Manuel L. Quezon. Apparently, the president of the commonwealth had no idea what he was talking about.

I don't watch TV. I'm beginning to notice Philippine TV is making a mockery out of my intelligence. Has the Filipino lost her common sense? I believe media today operate by this principle: Filipinos are stupid, they'd buy anything. If you'd watch the local television channels, it's either you'll get tired of whining why the hell these stupid things get airtime anyway if you're the smart one, or get really curious who the hell came up with these stories if you're just totally clueless. Blame the telenovelas for transforming most of us into dramaqueens and people who cannot distinguish what's obvious from what's not. Love will find a way. Bah! How about common sense? How about logical thinking? How about using that part of our heads called "brain". How about being practical in this time of crisis? How about educating people? God knows I tried watching primetime TV once. I got tired of saying "Hallerrrrr...."

Fame nowadays has a crooked definition. I remember the days when people become popular because of what good or smart things they have done, or how good they are being real persons. How unfortunate I am to have lived in the days when one becomes popular because of notoriety, dishonor, uselessness and stupidity. Again, media plays a vital role in shaping the minds of the people. In our case, it seems that the minds of the Filipinos are being molded by media into filth. Sad thing is no one seems to care. They just buy whatever these attention-hungry mongrels offer them.

Enter Keana Reeves. I see a totally wasted woman in her. Disgusting. Dumb. Corrupted. Evil. A woman like Ms. Reeves will definitely use anything to get what she wants no matter what. Too bad attention comes first in her list. Now, she's enjoying the rewards of being notoriously famous in the Philippines- thus claiming the crown that was once held by traffic-jammer Diana Zubiri. And lucky for her, she has stuff that media would buy at first glance of it. Imagine- finally, some brainless starlet (who has no idea what she's up against, for sure) has the guts to destroy her miserable life completely, perhaps in the final attempt to save it, by exposing a practice which has been crawling silently in the system for years! The likes of Boy Abunda would definitely not care if she ends up dead before establishing a complete public rendering of her linkage with this known smut in our society, which is prostitution. She is news. She is gold, she loves attention, Filipinos love seing things like this on TV and she looks good making herself look stupid on TV with her empty remarks. Perfect!

Anyway, here's what Ahmad would have to say about prostitution, Keana and Gabriela's Liza Masa...

"I happen to have a close friend who happened to work on congress about two years ago. According to him the pay is not that good, but the benefits is more than what anybody can handle. Imagine being lent a 4x4 vehicle, a hundred thousand peso playing chips from the casino, accommodation in a five star hotel, and not to mention being in a company of high class (or should I say first class) prostitutes errr.... OK escorts... I think escort sounds better. All of these courtesy of the honorable Congressmen that he worked for (he obviously didn't want to name names, but can I blame him?). Working inside congress he also saw how rotten the system is, it is so rotten that it can corrupt even a saint. Aside from the luxury vehicles, hotel accommodation etc. he also saw how the system corrupts the other congressmen he didn't work for. Every now and then he sees a congressman arguing with the security officers of the session hall because they wouldn't allow him to bring his fire arm inside. Every now and then he hears rumors that there is are some congressmen who shoot up shabu or cocaine inside the parking lot. After a year of working, he just had to resign, because he realized that if he worked there for another year, the system will also corrupt him and he would be no different from these other people. My mother said during her time when you hear something like "Si Congressman! asikasuhin nyo mabuti!", the scenario is in a feast or celebration, and the congressman arrives here as a VIP guest. He is honorable, because of his reputation as a statesman, and someone everyone looks up to. Now a days, when you hear something like that, the congressman is still a VIP.... In a first class night clubs that offer more services than simple bump and grind. Damn! shouldn't our Honorable" congressmen be bothered by this. This attitude of some of our congressmen is becoming a part of the culture of congress itself.

Now, we have heard the testimony of this "starlet", about her side business other than doing "sexy" movies (is it even right to use thewordd "sexy"? help please!). She also told us stories, pretty much similar to the stories that we have been hearing about, but now its so controversial that congress appeared to be in a little shock here. My friend told me that it made him sick seeing some congressmen being bothered by the controversy, when this thing has been going on inside congress and they actually know it. Now of course congress wants to do an investigation on this and they want the starlet to give a testimony, but of course she refuses to give the names of her former clients. Sen. Juan Flavier, is one of the few statesmen that I have high respect for, and I agree on what he said that if the starlet will not name names, then the investigation will be pointless. It all makes makes sense, what do these congressmen want to know from this investigation? If what the starlet is saying is actually true? that statesmen are regular costumers of high class prostitutes? That escort services are merely fronts for prostitution? They do not need to do an investigation at all because everybody knows that these things exist, it is not like an urban legend. All you have to do is read your morning paper (leading newspapers! not tabloids), flip to the classified add section and look on the adds that say something like; "Escort/Massage Service" "Young beautiful seductive Women", "24 hours" and of course "For Hotel Motel, and Home Services". Notice that the add does not have a businesss address, only phone numbers. Common sense will of course tell you that if you are someone who simply wants a good massage, what does, young and seductive, got to do with it? Besides we have the local spas duh! I have been seeing these adds every time I read the daily Newspaper, long before the testimony of this starlet, and our law makers only paid attention to it only now? Aren't they the first person to be expected to read the newspaper daily?

Many feminist will hate me for saying this...but here it goes..... Liza Masa,I'm not Impressed! There I just may have ridiculed Gabriella's pioneer. Fact of the matter here is that the existence of high class prostitutes is not an urban legend. It is not even being that discreet now a days, why? because the laws on prostitution is not being implemented properly. Sure additional laws will help, but in the end, if we cannot implement the simple laws that we have against prostitution, what more now that we are trying to make it more complex. Go to the intersection of Aurora blvd. and Edsa in cubao, any time of the day, and you will see a lot of sex workers who are mostly likely to be minors. Here is the catch, not too far from it is a police post, where there is a police man sitting his @ass down for God knows how long. I have been there for only about 5 minutes, yet it didn't really take me long to realize what was going on on that place. Hmmmmm does he in some way empathize with them? (oh please you know what I meant by that).

I do not know why it seems that Liza Masa is acting so naive on the issue to the point that she wants to conduct an congress investigation? If she wants to get to the inner sanctum she should do a little field work, the way documentarists on TV. Make a trip around the night clubs in Quezon ave. and pay attention to the plate numbers of the 4x4 vehicles parked within the area. Better yet make a trip in the dark alleys of cubao, and for God's sake look at the classified add section of the newspaper that she reads. Just so you know I do support her cause, and I do support her proposed bills that will make the laws on prostitution more comprehensive.

As for the starlet, well... I don't buy her bullsh!t that easily. I mean she admitted that she has been doing this kind of business even when she already got the shot at showbusiness. OK so maybe the pay of a starlet sucks, but the thing is she has been given an opportunity not to women in her business enjoyed. She also admitted that her fee for escorting becomes higher when sex is involved, and it is in her prerogative to accept or decline. The thing is, how can she convince us that she wants to stop this kind of trade, when she herself made a choice to participate in this kind of trade, in spite of the other options she could have taken? According also to my friend, Prostitutes of this kind are not exactly cheap, because you really have to butter them up to maximize the satisfaction of their clients. Aside from the regular fees, you also have to give a handsome amount of tip, and other gifts such as jewelries, condominium and a rav 4 maybe. There is a difference between a prostitute who does it out of poverty, and certainly there is a difference between a prostitute who do it out of vanity. Liza Masa has to realize this.

Nonetheless prostitution is prostitution, at the end of the day, prostitution is wrong, we should penalize everyone who participates on the trade, the pimps, and clients included. "Kung walang bumibili wala rin namang magbebenta" as Pol Medina said. Ergo what we really need is more implementation not more laws. Then again also I can be wrong about all the things I said about Liza Masa, if so accept my apologies and forget my previous statements." -Ahmad

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Last Say on Angelo's Story

As for my final say on Angelo's case, I'm letting Ahmad do the talking...


Some of you may not agree with me on this.

Perhaps you are all aware of the story of Mang Pandoy. During the 1992 elections, his life was sensationalized by the media. In an instant he became the symbol of poverty in this country, an Inspiration to would be leaders, and of course a symbol of hopes and dreams. In an instant, many politicians used him for publicity stunt (former Pres. Ramos Included), private sectors pittied him, and in that instant many everybody (perhaps even Santa Claus) was giving small donations to him. He was given a house, a small Job in Congress and years after that what happened...... Nothing...... he still is the same Mang Pandoy.....Aside from his house....Nothing much changed he remained poor. Last night he was featured in the news on channel five, the commentators said that Mang Pandoy is the living example that Government is not sincere in its commitment in helping the poor. I agree, but its only half of the story, to me the what I would like to call the "Mang Pandoy Syndrome" is also an example of a disease in our culture, or in the system itself.

Mang Pandoy wasn't the only one, two years ago the was the Bangkang Papel gimmick (which is the worst publicity stunt ever pulled). Three children from poor families, that GMA promised to help, and in an instant they also enjoyed the publicity Mang Pandoy did. And of course you can add Angelo dela Cruz on the list.

Don't get me wrong- I'm happy he made it back home safe and sound. But when he did come home, again it is the same story that we have always seen. Welcomed as a hero, sensationalized by the media, used by many politicians (including GMA) for a publicity stunt. Hell! Carlo Caparas even want's to make a movie about him (what a blood sucking leech!). It really made me very sick when I saw the mayor of mexico pampanga handing over a bundle of money to the family of Angelo dela Cruz, while striking a perfect pose infront of the cameras. Even senator Lito Lapid himself want's to get the lead role in the would-be movie.

What does Mang Pandoy, and the three children of GMA's bangkang papel gimiick have in common? In spite all that has happened nothing really changed in their ways of living. Same scenario, same complaints. Going back to Mang Pandoy, he was onced called by Korina Sanchez as the "Celbriting Dukha" on that I agree all the way. I am sorry to say this and some of you might hate me for it but il say it anyway...... When Mang Pandoy was featured in Last Night's news, I didn't pitty him at all! Let me make it clear though, that I do feel sorry for some of us who becomes poorer and poorer because of the corrupt system that we have, but I do not excatly feel the same way about Mang Pndoy, the kids from payatas, and the likes of them. Ok so maybe politicians and other other rednecks used Mang Pandoy, for their own selfish interest yet forgot him when they got what they wanted! Shame on them! This practice should be condemned. But on the other hand he undeniably benefitted from these people who used him in one way or another. Long before politicians knew him, he was a total nobody, and no one will even care to help him. Not everybody has been given the chance that he had, which cast doubt on my part why his condition did not improve a bit? Did he actually help himself? Another thing that made me sick was when the parents of the three kids from payatas told the media that the livelihood fund given to them by the office of the president is all used up because GMA never gave enough (money). What made me even sicker was the statement of one of the children who said that their neighbors thought that they are already rich, and was angry at GMA for not keeping her promise. In the first place, aside from the livelihood fund, they were also given full scholarship grants untill college. To me that is already a good help that anyone could give. Do the parents of this children educate their children properly. "Give a Man a fish and you feed him for the day; teach him how to fish and you feed him for the rest of his life".

In the case of Angelo dela Cruz, I fear that the real issue again here is masked. The issue of Mang Pandoy, is not of him per se. Its the issue of the governments commitment in helping the people. Just because you help a Mang Pandoy, that never means you help the entire poverty-stricken nation. Now everybody want's a piece of Angelo dela Cruz because he became an International Issue. The real issue here that we should see is that there are other OFW's in the middle east, risking their necks everyday to support their families back home. And in return they help(greatly) save the economy of this country. Has their country done enough to repay their contribution in saving our economy? In the case of Angelo dela Cruz, yes. But if you watch the news, some of them are abused by their employers, some of them die pointlessly, some of the came home without a dime. I will bet my one month salary, that these people who are being so generous to Angelo dela Cruz, wouldn't even be half as generous with the other OFWs who did not make the front page. So I think rather that giving all the amenities (house and lot, cash donations, including a movie offer) to Angelo dela Cruz, we should just be thankful that he made it back home and at the same time think of better ways to protect our "Bagong Bayanis" in foreign terrtitory. After all that is the least we can do for them.

On an interview, Angelo dela Cruz said all the cash donations were spent on the feast that his family had to give when he arrivied. In my opinion, if that money was saved then maybe it could have been used for long-term investments. But then again, thats the filipino culture. Now he is having a problem on how he will make a living back home. But I am still giving Angelo dela Cruz the benefit of the doubt, I just hope his story does not end up like Mang Pandoy. Specially now that Angelo dela Cruz is making a lot of friends.

To GMA; stop using people for your publicity stunt, and the next time you give a SONA please give the real state of the nation not Vision of the nation (which is basically the same Bull S**t we hear over and over again).

To the media; Angelo is back home, thank god, you got your news, NOW LEAVE HIM ALONE AND STOP SENSATIONALIZING HIM AND PEOPLE LIKE HIM.

To Carlo Caparas; Why don't you just start making fantasy movies again to entertain us and stop sucking the life out of famous personalities. Oh please fire the staff that designs your movie posters cause my dog wouldn't even wipe his @ss with it.

To Sen. Lito Lapid; If you loved acting so much, why did you run for senator? You know what you can do? Learn the Philippine constitution because you would probably be saving another Angelo dela Cruz because of it.

Peace out to the rest of you! -Ahmad

Monday, August 02, 2004

Breakfast News

I woke up this morning with my father complaining on his first breakfast news in years. My dad finally had the chance of having a short vacation here in the Philippines, and guess what- apparently, news in the Philippines turned out to be too much for him. Why am I not surprised? After years of living peacefully in the US, why would anyone want to go back in this dreaded country? (This is one syndrome every Filipino abroad is affected of. I don't know why.)

Tax on texting. Additional taxes on oil products. Oil price hike. These are the things that welcomed my poor dad as he starts his two-week vacation here. The government seems to not notice how the middle-class people are beginning to hate her style of governance. We may had different decisions on voting during the last elections (Mom voted for Eddie Villanueva, Dad voted for Lacson, my brother and I voted for Roco), but we agreed on one thing- not to vote that anti-people bitch.

Indeed, the government has to look for revenues specially now that this poor country is buried in international debts. By imposing tax on texting? What the hell is she thinking? How stupid and selfish can she and her minions get? If their goal is to make Gloria's popularity sink together with that of Tito Sotto, well, they are definitely doing the right job. It is true that this may solve the problem- imagine how much money the government could allocate since it is a known fact that almost for every Filipino, there is one cellphone. And it is also true that most of these revenues would come from the media, business sector and rich people. But how about the ordinary man who needs to text his family everyday? How about the overseas workers who need to check on their families once in a while? This is one of a few simple pleasures left for the poor Filipino to afford having. Impose high tax on these few guilty-pleasures and there's nothing left for the ordinary Filipino to take pleasure from. We're talking about a greatly demoralized Masa here.

Another oil price hike? It is a known fact that this time, this is due to the additional taxes imposed by the government to the big oil companies. And of course, who suffers this but the end-users, the consumers of diesel, gasoline and gas- us. Mysteriously, this time, the transport groups seem not to care anymore. Have they gone numb after having been ignored by the government? Or have they come up now with a good suggestion- that is, build their own gas company that would support public transport finance? I heard they plan on putting gas stations offering low prices on oil products in jeepney and bus terminals. This seems to be a good idea. Or is it just wishful thinking? Goodluck having the government's approval. We all know how the three bully oil companies Shell, Caltex and Petron have the government on it's knees.

Fast fact: The price of oil products now is higher than it was when the Gulf war happened years ago.

Actually, it's not only the big oil companies that have the government bullied around. Remember Angelo dela Cruz? If it wasn't for the media, particularly big TV networks GMA-7 and ABSCBN, would the government even care letting the news out in public? Let Mr. Angelo thank GMA-7 and ABSCBN, for it wasn't for these media networks, he should be dead by now. But even so, there's always been a question in my mind after observing how the government deals with terrorism: Why the news blackout? No, don't give me national security nonesense. It's already out in the public, why attempt keeping a secret that has already been made known to all? Or is there something that's happening behind the scenes, giving a new meaning to how Gloria deals with "negotiations"? Note: Although not still proven, the people are convinced some AFP generals gained much from the Abu Sayyaf negotiations. Wink wink.

Ok. Going back to the issue of tax imposing. People would definitely ask me that after complaining (or whining) about this, have I the ability to suggest solutions? Yes. And regarding this issue, I'd just refer to Jose Rizal's ages-old and simply effective yet severly ignored solution: Effective tax collection. That is, if the government or Gloria herself has the guts to challenge big names in the country to pay their taxes. Big names such as TV networks and oil companies, among many others. There's a big difference in imposing taxes and collecting taxes. And a lot more difference there is in spending these collected taxes (revenues). Note: Does Gloria's husband, allegedly Jose Pidal, pay his taxes? Or does he just spend our taxes? Hmmm.

Dad, don't worry. You'll be back to the land of peace of mind soon.