Showing posts from September, 2011

Our future of groupthink on Facebook and social media

I read somewhere that nothing still beats music when it comes to efficiently bringing multiple human minds into natural brain sync. And the massively in-sync coming together with a hundred to a thousand others we experience in, say, rock concerts and dance clubs is perhaps as close as we get to non-technology enabled borgism. If you think about it, in the music business, elite musicians wield so much power over the minds of their fans. Perhaps social networking is the music of the Web and like the rock stars of the older medium, those who are most savvy at playing its features get to define the 'borg'. Those who aren't or who merely consume rather than produce meaningful content are doomed to be subject to its groupthink. I also read that there is strong evidence that the constant info updating of social media is the active ingredient in inducing the dopamine fix on the brain that makes it as pleasurable or addictive as music, sex, and eating. Considering how increasing

Why can't indigenous materials be used for building houses?

Many of the structures put up in resorts and for housing tourist facilities in the Philippines I find are made of bamboo and other durable indigenous materials. And they look great too. So why can't more of these materials be used for building? Bamboo grows fast and abundantly in the Philippines. It is also well suited for the tropical climate as it does not rot or deteriorate the same way other building materials do under the oppressive humidity of the tropics. Perhaps cultivating bamboo for use in construction of low-cost housing and the training of builders in the lost art of constructing using bamboo should be something promoted for inclusion in government poverty alleviation programs and in the public education system.

Driving in Manila gives a feeling of empowerment

I feel so empowered here. Behind the wheel of a car, I can cut across three lanes in a highway, muscle my way through an intersection, and drive as fast or as slow as I want wherever and whenever I want to.

Nice catch up with @momblogger yesterday! @rochellesychua

Thanks to Noemi "the MomBlogger" Dado for the nice chat over coffee yesterday. Apologies to Rochelle for the misunderstanding. I would have liked to meet up with you as well. I'm sure we can find the time for another meet up in the next few days. In the mean time, it's great to be on the ground putting a new layer of perspective on my observations of our fine nation. Hopefully, I'll be finding the time to share them online (opportunity and net access quality permitting). Watch this space!

The Shamcey Supsup brouhaha: It's just a beauty pageant

So what if Shamcey Supsup did not win the Miss Universe beauty pageant? She's hot and she's smart. Obviously, Filipinos can't be satisfied with taking what is self evident . Instead we want credentialled validation. What does that say about our society? Simple: Philippine society is bankrupt of substance and conviction . Without substance and conviction, people need to be told what to believe in. Add lack of substance and conviction into the the brew that is a society that also lacks a tradition of critical thought, and we get the obvious outcome -- a society that, to borrow the words of modern-day philosopher John Ralston Saul, is "obssessed by bread and circuses, Heroes, and the need for leadership". So it takes a crown on the head of Supsup to get Filipinos to believe she is a winner. Strange. Filipinos are renowned for fancying themselves God's gift to the human race despite nary a smidgen of a track record of any collective achievement to speak of.

RH Bill issue is getting old...

Whether or not the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill is passed, private enterprise - specially the media - and private citizens still have the power, resources, and influence to mount an information campaign to get Filipinos to practice sensible and responsible reproductive activities. An over emphasis on legislation to control what is essentially an activity fully within the control of each individual seems to be spelling out a sad lack of personal accountability and initiative in our society.

The Philippines is a society where mere INTENTIONS trump real RESULTS any day

Some people presume to judge other people's work on the basis of what motivates them. Usually they will be "inspired" by people who claim to do what they do out of "selfless" sense of "duty" or those who say they find a "higher purpose" in what they do. Well, there's plenty of that going around in Medieval societies such as the Philippines. Perhaps go and attend a plenary session in Congress, or listen to a politician's campaign speech when elections are around the corner, or go listen to a priest's sermon at a Catholic mass. You'll find a lot of that self-righteous and self-important bullshit in those places. Let's not presume to judge the right of an endeavour to exist on the basis of what motivates whoever effects it. Henry Sy and the other taipans, for example, are motivated mainly by profit. But at the end of the day, the enterprises they built employ thousands of Filipinos. And yet him and other rich folk are demoni

Filipinos need to actively participate in the running of the Philippines

While most Filipinos preoccupy themselves with minding the belief systems of other people, their public servants are getting away with not doing their jobs. There is a misguided notion among Filipinos that their public servants will eventually do what they are being paid to do. This is wrong and this is part of the reasons things never go according to plan in the Philippines. To be sure, one of the reasons why Filipinos are not used to pointing out their public servants' shortfalls is because of this belief that they are not supposed to be questioning authority. Where they got that belief is another story. In any organization, there is a system of checks and balances in place that ensures that things are working according to how they were meant to. If any part of that system fails, it would take a while before the goal of the organization can be met or in the worst case, the goal will not be met at all. Included in those checks and balances are the low-ranking members who n

Listening and giving importance to others is the best defense

Let's face it; life would be boring without those who oppose our views. The challenge to all who rabidly try to prove they make more sense than the other party is to discuss their views rationally without resorting to character assassination.   The question now is: are Filipinos ready for this kind of set-up? There is enough evidence to suggest that most of them are not.  If you want to get a chance to be heard, you need to give others a chance to have his or her say as well. Whatever your beliefs are, simply putting yourself in the other person's shoes would help you understand that listening and giving importance to others is the best defense.  A lot of people have this misguided notion that we should be free to do or say whatever we want. But with freedom comes great responsibility.  There is a price to pay when we do things without caring for the consequences of our actions.  We may not realize it instantly but sometime in the future we will find ourselves in the same situa

Speak and write in English well and with PRIDE and encourage others to do the same

The language of power -- English -- shapes the opinion of the influential. The "language of the streets" -- Tagalog -- shapes the opinion of the powerless. In a sense, the Media is a power broker in the same mold as any other institution in the Philippines. It's got a tiny elite pool of people who write for the premium channels browsed by the powerful before they head off to their breakfast meetings to debate the fate of the nation. At the bottom of the pyramid are those who write the more "palatable" dumbed-down content -- the stuff read by ordinary folk huddled in sweltering buses stuck in Manila's traffic. In a sense, the English-proficient elite monopolise a vital resource -- command over a language that opens doors . Tagalog and other indigenous means of communication are but the breadcrumbs thrown to the birds. The reason "monopoly" is a dirty word is because it is synonymous with abuse . When a small elite control -- or monopolise -- a vi

Death of a security guard over a convenience store heist

The circumstances surrounding this attempted robbery of a convenience store that resulted in the death of a security guard illustrate some things about the profound nature of Philippine society today. (1) Why do even simple convenience stores in the Philippines require an armed security guard? (2) Was whatever cash that could have been lost in the store worth the life of a security guard? (3) What sort of man shoots another in the back?

Your online persona reflects your real-life persona

Participants in new social media including online forums reveal a lot about themselves with the way they behave online. Some fool themselves into thinking that disrespectful behavior towards others is acceptable because they think that everything they do online is just an act or part of the game anyway. Unfortunately, what they think is just an "act" is actually the real them. There are people who behave online as if they have been repressed all their lives; with the Internet giving them freedom for the first time. But instead of using their newfound "freedom" to communicate effectively, they use it to wreak havoc in small communities they are members of with their bad behavior. Online anonymity can exacerbate brutish behavior the way drinking alcohol can. It can serve as a catalyst for those who are already predisposed to behaving like a buffoon. Typing away words from the safety of your armchair can give you a false sense of security and make you feel untouc

Clarifying the 'obssession' about language @cocoy

I just wanted to clarify my personal position on the matter of the national "debate" about language in light of Cocoy 's recent headscratching about what all the fuss is about. I think the following snippet from his recent post captures the essence of the point he makes: The constitution says we have two languages anyway. There shouldn’t be a debate whether Filipino should primary, or English secondary. Both are equally important. But the point I make (and have made for the last nine years) is that it does matter when we consider the finite (and scarcely so) public education resources at stake. Given only so much tax-funded classroom time, textbooks, and classrooms that are accessible to the wretched masses of Filipinos who are starved for a means to extricate themselves from chronic impoverishment, the answer to the question of which language to prioritise in the delivery of public education to Filipinos becomes crystal clear . Between the En

Further clarity on whether or not Tagalog is a dialect and whether there is such a thing as a 'Filipino language'

Some people refer to the Philippine Constitution for some sort of "evidence" that Tagalog is a "language" and not a "dialect". I found this snippet presumably quoted verbatim from the Constitution that was pasted on a message thread in the Get Real Philippines Community Facebook group... ARTICLE XIV EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, ARTS, CULTURE AND SPORTS LANGUAGE Section 6. The national language of the Philippines is Filipino. As it evolves, it shall be further developed and enriched on the basis of existing Philippine and other languages. Subject to provisions of law and as the Congress may deem appropriate, the Government shall take steps to initiate and sustain the use of Filipino as a medium of official communication and as language of instruction in the educational system. I'm not really sure what this proves, but from what I read above, all this says is that we Filipinos are supposedly possessing of a national "language"