Unless I’m overcome by a serious case of pity, I don’t usually give to street beggars. To me, giving to them is just an quick feel-happy activity that doesn’t really accomplish much. At best, you make someone happy though you’re probably the one who feel happiest (is that selfish or what?). But at what cost? Encouraging them to risk life and limb at the thoroughfares? At worst, you may actually be contributing to aggressive begging and to the exploitation of the weaker beggars (yes, syndicates). Also, you are already giving thanks to the government. Social welfare is one of its functions and part of your taxes goes there. But since the government is notoriously corrupt in so many levels, there is no doubt the social welfare budget have been seriously diminished by the time it actually reaches those who need it. So it would actually be good if you can supplement by giving. But not at the street. And not to the government, they’ve taken enough. The better choices would be the church and NGOs involved in education,  livelihood, micro-credit, cash transfers, etc. Make your gift matter. Make your gift count.

Each Life A Gift

Read the reading of the day of the same title on Our Daily Bread. I remember long ago, when my office mates and I visited the pediatric cancer ward of the Philippine General Hospital, I rhetorically asked (on email a day after the visit) why we we’re smiling, giving gifts, and singing when just a room away, someone was dying… and died… we saw the interns wheel away the body of the recently departed child. Soon after that, Bob told me that we were not smiling, giving gifts, and singing because of the dying, we were there to try and bring some happiness to those who live. Indeed what he said is true. Every moment of life is a reason for joy and the memories something to cherish. Wise guy, that Bob (BTW belated happy birthday!)

Language For Teaching

Tonight, my uncle and cousins encountered a taxi driver sidelining as a linguist (or is it the other way around?). His name is Vicente (just like my uncle) and he speaks several languages including English, Tagalog, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, even Japanese. He seemed to be a smart, learned guy. I wonder which language he uses to teach his kids. Experts say that the best language for teaching is the child’s first language. I expect it would. Of course, the educational material, e.g. books, would also need to be on that first language. It’s easy to say there’s no reason why we can’t develop material for a particular language since the Japanese, Chinese, etc were able to do it. But those languages have millions of users with a huge pool of domain experts. If you are to take that concept here, you’re talking a dozen languages with a few million users each with a smaller percentage of domain experts much more those capable of developing educational material. I say instead of changing the language used at school, change the first language to the one used at school be it primary, secondary, tertiary, or beyond.

Why We Are Shallow

The post title is lifted straight from this Philippine Star article. What can I say? I have to agree. Most schools are focused more in raking in the tuition fees so it’s more of knowledge pumping, rote learning, more semesters, and less years, than really instilling critical thinking. After school, you probably end up working with an outsourcing company where the work being sent over from onshore is mundane and mindless grunt work (precisely why it’s sourced out, but we’re seeing improvements here). And every day we are exposed to crap on the newspapers (because crap is what’s happening), to drivel over the radio (apologies to friends who are Chico and Delamar fans), to retarded noontime TV shows, glorified tsismis (gossip) over SMS, Friendster, or Facebook (one reason why I quit those, at least Google Plus is still relatively clean), talk about showbiz over lunch and dinner, more TV (it’s not called the idiot box for nothing). Yeah, it’s no wonder why we are shallow. But there is always hope.


Probably because of Araw ng Kagitingan (lit. Day of Valor), a holiday commemorating the fall of Bataan, there’s talk again of whether Marcos is a hero or not and whether he should be buried at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani (lit. Cemetery of Heroes). It reminds me of the time my grade school teacher talked about Emilio Aguinaldo, a Philippine president who is not buried at the Libingan. My teacher said, he was a president but he was not a hero.

Continue reading “Heroes”