Saturday, April 05, 2014

Reflections on Death While in a Funeral



There's something quite macabre yet grounding about how us Filipinos conduct funerals. Where having the dead body of our loved one displayed in our house for at least a week as prayers and novenas are said might seem weird and creepy to most it somehow forces us to confront the reality that many are quite hesitant to face; Death is real and no one is spared.

As one grieves while looking down at the coffin to stare at the departed's features and recall how they once lived the moment one raises their head to look around, different sights and smell flood the senses that serve as a reminder that despite death, life continuous. As the departed person’s family members take care of guests’ needs serving them food, other people play card games and mah-jong at the side, there’s chatter in all corners, kids running around playing as the adults form intimate circles to talk about past events where surprisingly the dead person always stars in. The blow of death is somehow softened.

As having gone through this situation when my father died, the time for grieving was short and private because the moment you step out of your little room and see to your guests, tears are wiped and you’re forced to confront life and live it.

“Watching a peaceful death of a human being reminds us of a falling star; one of a million lights in a vast sky that flares up for a brief moment only to disappear into the endless night forever.” Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Monday, August 26, 2013

Korean Student Essay - Reaction After All These Years

I remember having read this Korean's essay some time ago and I even blogged about it here.
Now with the power of social media and how different the "internet-scene" is compared to seven years ago, I am amused to see this essay being circulated again.
Controlling myself and trying so hard not to be that asshole on the web who constantly says "Ugh this is old!" I realize how my views have greatly changed now that I am in my late 20's.

Reading this essay again and having realized I have a different view today, I decided to write a reply to the person who posted it on Facebook I was about to post it on under this person's timeline when I thought it is best to just make a new blog post out of it. (Yeay two blog posts in one day)

Okayyyy tugging at heart strings aside. Let's look at the problems of the Philippines in a more realistic sense.

I find this post rather condescending in all honesty.
What is love really?
*That fuzzy feeling you get from seeing your crush?
*That time you hugged a toddler and felt better?
*Your dad rubbing your back as he comforts you after you lost your basketball game?
*A good romp in the sack?
*Your mom cooking your favorite food when you get sick?

Define the word love first and then ask yourself this other question.

What is love of country?
*You working your ass off for minimum wage and then contributing your hard-earned money to our government's coffers? (Rather admirable, right?)
*Is it acting like Santa Clause by being generous to each and everyone and giving all your money away? (Really?)
*Is it singing the national anthem pitch-perfectly and going bat-shit crazy if an artist will render their own interpretation?
*Is it about being so proud of your country's flag that you will make sure you go after it despite danger and calamity?

What?

CORRUPTION is the biggest problem of our country plus a backwards system. No matter how much you "LOVE" your country if the system is corrupt then all your hard work will not pay off.

Filipinos leave in droves and go to other countries to find better opportunities to work and have a decent life. The backwards constitution that we currently have effectively blocks most foreign investment thus making it harder for people to look for work here. Those that do come and start a business with a Filipino partner can hardly grow because of the red tape so rampant here and again the graft and corruption.

Look at all the businesses in this country. It is dominated by oligarchs and they hardly have any competition.
Because of this monopoly they can effectively curb salaries and block any reforms that will make workers here more empowered.

Where does the tax money of a Filipino go? Instead of going to help improve health care, education, and infrastructure of the entire country it is eaten up by corrupt politicians. They use our tax money to fund their lavish lifestyles. They set up bogus NGOs which only "help" those people close to their group.

If we want to improve our country and really address the problem let us start analyzing critically the real issues that affect us and the things we can do to address them.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

B.I.R. and Online Shopping

Hello fellow online shoppers and online shopping enthusiasts. Allow me to inform you that B.I.R. will start collecting taxes on individuals and businesses selling products online as part of their AGGRESSIVE efforts to meet collection goal and boost government revenues. It doesn't matter if there is already a tax on shipping, handling, and if your product is from abroad there is also a tax imposed by Customs.

Personally, I have no problem with paying the right amount of taxes but knowing that BIG BUSINESSES, ESPECIALLY RUN BY OLIGARCHS, most often employ unscrupulous tax evasion practices and MANY BIG BUSINESSMEN do not pay proper taxes, this move by B.I.R. really irks me. You see, many online sellers that I know got into the business in the first place so they can look for ways and means to help augment their small incomes. Many people who work in companies almost pay up to four digits worth of taxes every pay check. Often what is left at the end of each pay period is barely enough to cover basic needs.

Now, paying taxes in itself is good as the money can be used to fund government projects that should benefit us all, most especially the hard-working tax-payer. But that is NOT the case in the Philippines, is it? The current Napoles pork barrel exposés flooding our airwaves right now is just a tip of the iceberg amidst all the graft and corruption happening in this country of ours.

Most government-run establishments that give services are disorderly, under-funded, mediocre, and inefficient. A good example would be schools. Most parents scrape every peso they earn so they can send their kids to private schools here. Many of us would not even dream of sending our kids to public schools because we know and see that it is over-crowded, lack proper facilities, and the overall atmosphere is not conducive to learning. These establishments are in this dismal state because our taxes are used instead to fund the lavish lifestyles of our politicians and their spawns. They have exuberant parties with their ostensible displays of wealth. They travel abroad and live the lifestyle of the rich and famous, rubbing shoulders with international celebrities. They blog and post pictures of their latest designer acquisitions. Things that only we can dream of.

In other words, they live this way because YOU and I are funding all these. Our tax money is collected, distributed by government to our politicians, and are no longer properly accounted for.

You, online seller, staying up late to update your Facebook page with pictures of your modest merchandise and hoping you can dispose of a few items that will help augment your income will now need to contribute to all this.

It wouldn't be so bad if you know your tax money is spent on the real problems of this country of ours. But that is not the case.