It’s a shame that the world is crazy over news on Boston bombing while ignoring or ignorant of that bombed Afghan wedding where casualties were ten times more than the marathon tragedy. This is not to say that little attention should also be given to Boston, but that equally big, caring social media space be given to the Middle East, Asia, and the rest of the world.
That is the bad news, and hopefully beautiful things alight from these rubble in the coming days. Surely, there are inspiring stories every day but we tend to focus on what will make us anxious and angry. (Sadistic tendencies in today’s media?)
Good news is, after completing short written tests and passing a phone interview, I was offered a place at Westminster University in London. Should I be given one of the so many generous scholarships that the University offers to international students, I will start this September.
Crossing my fingers for more Good News.Read More
There have always been those who have filled their bellies because they had no sense of shame, but we, who have nothing, apart from this last shred of undeserved dignity, let us at least show that we are still capable of fighting for what is rightfully ours.-Saramago’s Blindness
The University of the Philippines freshman student who reportedly took her own life has been laid to rest, but issues surrounding her death should not find their way to the grave.
I did a rewrite of a breaking news on the world’s top universities ranked according to reputation. As you might have guessed, the elite “super-brand” universities from the US and UK were on top. In Asia-Pacific, Australian universities are gaining recognition among scholars.
The well-known 2013 Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings was based on invitation-only survey of opinion from 16,639 senior academic from 144 countries.
On top is Harvard University, the University of Oxford, the University of California (Berkeley), and Stanford University. The top three unis from Australia are Melbourne University, the Australian National University, and University of Sydney.
Editor of Times Higher Education rankings, Phil Baty, said “New forces in higher education are emerging, especially in the Asia-Pacific countries that are investing heavily in building world-class universities, so the traditional elite must be very careful.”
They say reputation is significant to universities’ success in attracting staff, students, and investment in a competitive global market. Different researches say that the brand or reputation of a university is the single most important consideration of prospective international students and academic staff.
This explains the competitiveness of universities around the world in marketing their researches, facilities, student profile, faculty, and over-all image.
In the Philippines, the education beat is currently filled with news of the University of the Philippines Manila student who committed suicide reported to be connected to financial constraints and forced leave of absence after failing to pay for tuition fees.
There goes the world’s imbalance.Read More
The news of a US military ship stuck in an important paradise of a coral reef in the Philippine waters strikes a blow to any nature lover and travel enthusiast whose appreciation of marine life and ecological balance runs deep.
Tubbataha reef may actually be considered the planet’s act of kindness–of showing a slice of the ocean’s vast mysterious beauty, thus, smashing it with tons of metal borne out of modern human warfare is nothing but a relapse into that phase of human history called barbarism when man’s sense of civility toward others and his environment hasn’t been achieved.
It’s a puzzle, still, how among other life forms, the creature most capable of thinking can do reckless damage to the wonders of the world, which has been quiet home to the fish and corals, and playground to birds–as seen in snapshots and watercolor paintings at BenCab Museum just a few months ago.
Is it an artist’s omen that Tubbataha is to become a museum artifact? Hopefully not. Hopefully this world’s premier diving spot and heritage site survives. Hopefully, justice be laid upon those who are accountable to this incident that pulls a tangle of ugly threads of sovereignty, aggression, and territory issues.Read More
From which hole did this idiot crawl? said Mike Jackson (former IRRI scientist who’s now back in UK) in his Facebook the other day. Curious me checked out the link attached. It’s an article about US congressman Todd Akin, who was quoted saying: “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
This was reported to be the Missouri rep’s attempt to explain his opposition to abortion, even in rape cases. The politician has apologized after an onslaught of feedback, but still. With social networks ready to pound on the slightest hint of idiocy, we are all well-warned of letting our ignorance slip into public.
Legitimate rape. The phrase bothered me. I remember listening to friend Giz, who’s studying Law; she said, among the cases they discuss, the most sensitive of all is Rape–so sensitive that the whole classroom’s atmosphere is heavy with silence. Why, not really would it be awkward to prove that one has been raped, but it must also be challenging to face the rapists in a courtroom and tell every detail of the story from hell.
In the case of Given Grace, the UPLB student who was raped, murdered and dumped near IRRI last year, Given won’t be around to recount the details of the crime; it will be her mother and father who are to brave the pieces of evidence and witnesses’ accounts. It will be the loving parents, who brought up the innocent, sweet child, who are going to hear again and again how the suspected men trespassed her body, ruined her womanhood (if not childhood), and dishonored her.
Call for War
An opportunity for collective condemnation rose when college friends Rene and Weng invited me and other friends last June to mount some activities to raise funds for Given’s family (incidentally, as Rene has noticed, Given’s mother was Weng’s teacher, and Weng was one of my mentors in the college paper; Given was one of my students during my last semester in the University).
Makati Gig: Sept 1
Initially, Rene simply wanted a pass-the-hat kind of charity thing to collect money from us (to help support the family’s legal fees), but during our first meeting at the Conspiracy Bar (how apt, right?), we eventually conspired to wage a full-blown war against Rape and other violence against women. There was Kate, who will manage media coverage; Connet, who volunteered to help in organizing the bazaar and produce PSA/docu video we could perhaps use in the programs; there was a lawyer who shed some light in Given’s case; and there were others who pledged to help.
Weng and Grace Cutab (former UP Student Regent) initially planned the benefit gig, which later on, progressed with help from others (Jek, Daks, and so many others I haven’t met). We were amazed how everybody worked fast: finding a free venue, reservations, invitation to rock bands and performers, logistics, etc.
Cool news for the Gig team, Mr Caio Cadiz said that Ebe (Sugarfree) is willing to perform in Elbi to support this advocacy.Read More
Typing this as I saw sad news and photos of what’s going on in inundated Philippines–Be safe, friends and family
Weather news is a must-watch for those who stay tuned to economic matters.
Commodity markets, for one, depend on good weather for production and transportation. In India, now is the time when farmers expect a good monsoon season for their crops, but there’s no adequate rain showering them so there’s fear of not meeting the expected supplies of rice, wheat, and other crops.
In the Philippines, the expectations are a bit different, because farmers do not want any torrential rains, but since the climate has been giving us what exactly what we don’t want, the typhoon season is on. Nonstop rain has been flooding the streets (and social networks), and the world is watching the country’s level of alertness for this annual typhoon visit. And of course, millions of Filipinos scattered around the world are concerned about their loved ones when super typhoons test the durability of houses and the people’s spirit.
In global news, the biggest news on weather is the drought in the U.S., particularly in California, where vast dry acres of lands have seen farm jobs dwindle and plants wither. Analysts warn the market that this could lead to inflation in global food prices as food demand is short of supply due to extreme climate conditions that the world is suffering.Read More
Yesterday has to be the worst flight I had during my first AirAsia experience, when our flight was delayed twice, first from 4pm to 8pm, then to 10:30 pm, thus, moving our arrival time at Kuala Lumpur from 8pm to 2am of the following day, and we were given a complementary snack coupon only (100 baht that can buy you a lone donut), without dinner, and to make things worse, the plane seemed to have landed at the farthest corner of Kuala Lumpur Low Cost Terminal, and we had to walk an entire kilometer round the airport while it’s raining, which by the way had us wet because the plight of stairs from the plane down to the ground has no roof and there was just one person at the foot of the stairs, opening the umbrellas for us, and so we all arrived at the immigration area wet, hungry, sleepy, exhausted, and worried because it’s past 2am already and the last aerobus going to the city leaves at 2am, so some of them waited for the 4am bus, and some of us booked a cab at a rate of 10 times more than the bus fare (8 ringgit compared to 111 taxi ticket) since it’s past midnight and there’s a 50% surcharge, and really, all these experiences confirm that aphorism “pay peanuts and you get monkeys,” but in fairness to other low cost airlines, I never had a series of unfortunate events with Tiger Asia or Jetstar, and what makes me more bitter about this is that, all my flights to Singapore and the Philippines are paid for by the company and that it’s my own money now paying for this BKK-KL trip, and I felt my money wasted however cheap it is, so really, the lesson is to never fly AirAsia again if it can be avoided.
On a bright side though, said the Malaysian guy next to me on the plane, it’s better we had the engine failure on the ground than up in the air. And after seeing the Petronas tower tonight with Ms Kei and Mr Ranie, I felt better. KL has a character that can challenge that of Bangkok.
Explorers’ Guesthouse, Kuala Lumpur (Summer 2012)Read More
During our editorial summit break last week in Manila, my officemate and I were talking about the car that my sister and I bought for our father, and she said something like they must be lucky to have us as daughters, and I didn’t know how to respond to that so I just said with all honesty that I always think that they don’t have much time on Earth so… well, she laughed at this, and I tried reviewing what I said, then I thought, it must’ve come off as melodramatic, so I explained that death really bothers me.
That was when Lea, another officemate, said “Breaking news! A body of a girl was found in Batong Malake (Los Baños). Possibly raped.” We were all quiet. That’s the unpredictability and proximity of death I was talking about.Read More
What an ugly, mortifying news this is:
THE country’s daily minimum wage is one of the highest in the region, based on the amount of rice, the staple food of Filipinos, it can buy.
The National Statistics Coordination Board’s newly released “Sexy Statistics” showed that last year, the daily minimum wages in the Philippines and Thailand could buy the most rice, compared to the daily minimum wages in other Asean member.
Virola said that the data could also be used as an argument against increasing minimum wage. He said this is why the NSCB releases these kinds of statistics to contribute to government policy-making and planning.
“Based on these data, there is no need to increase minimum wage in the Philippines. But we all know that setting minimum wage setting is not as simple and we also need to take other factors into consideration,” Virola said.
Excuse me, National Statistics Coordination Board, but, seriously? Let’s not raise the minimum wage because Filipinos can buy more rice than other Southeast Asian countries can? With a minimum daily wage of a little over P200.00, sure we can buy more rice… and that’s it, the 200 pesos can buy rice only, no more no less.Read More
By 2050 the world may see a real adaptation of the 1995 Kevin Costner movie Waterworld.
For people who are not fans of science fiction, let’s turn to science then. By 2050, the world may see more inundated areas, according to one UN unit, which forecast two billion people around the world to suffer from flood by 2050 (Asia being the worst hit), as reported by NASA Earth Observatory.
I also remember reading in a research paper that by 2050 some parts of the Earth, including some areas in Manila, will be submerged due to rising sea level (thanks to the global warming that melts the ice caps), frantic urbanization (no more agricultural lands to absorb water), deforestation (no more roots to hold water) and extreme weather conditions.
impact of flood
by the numbers
520+ million people affected per year worldwide
up to 25,000 annual deaths, extensive homelessness, disaster-induced disease, crop and livestock damage and other serious harm
400 million people flooded, every year, for the past 2 decades
93% of all flood-related deaths worldwide are in Asia (1987-1997) 44% of all flood disasters worldwide affected Asia, claiming 228,000 lives
~NASA’s earth observatory report
If you’re not a fan of science, then history, current events, and some common sense would show you that floods can be our worst nightmare now or in the future: Thailand just went through the worst flooding it experienced in 50 years, halting global operations because many international automobile and IT manufacturers based in Thailand were either flooded or workers were stuck in flooded communities; neighboring Cambodia and Vietnam lost lives and thousands of tons of crops to the floods caused by uninterrupted precipitation months ago; the Philippines was in world news when typhoon Ondoy devastated Manila. Even progressive Singapore had its share of floods months ago when continuous rains caused water flowing into some malls and establishments.
For a few months, I was just following these reports for my work, and once in a while, some apocalyptic thoughts would float on my head as I edit reports on one flooded Asian country after another. Then another devastating flood struck once more. It’s the Philippines again.Read More