Monday, August 26, 2013

Korean Student Essay - Second Reaction

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 greatly changed. I decided to write a reply to the person who posted it on Facebook. After typing a long comment I was about to hit enter and post it 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 now  find this post rather condescending.
First, I want to tackle the question of 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?

Let us define the word love first and then proceed to ask our self 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?


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. Graft and corruption reigns supreme.

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 it 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.
Rhetoric about love of country is emotionally stirring and all but let us now start focusing on what actions we can effectively take to really improve the country we claim to love and be the driving force to see it change for the better and make it happen.

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.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Napoles Issue? Here We Go Again...

I really could not think of what to call this blog post. Napoles Issue? Here We Go Again... This is "old" news. I have not posted anything on my social networking sites about the current Napoles scandal because I see no point in all of it now. Having seen how things have turned out with the different scandals and corruption accusations that have been exposed over the years and knowing that after the fire dies down and the anger of the mob dissipate, things will continue as they once were and there will be no real reforms in place, I ask myself what's the point in all of it? The mob never learns.

I first started being aware of the news and current events of our country at a young age. Fidel V. Ramos was then president and it was during this time that I started to tune in to what my dad was listening to on the radio. Every night he would always tune into the different AM stations as soon as he gets home from work. Instead of listening to music we listened to commentaries. It was during this time, I was probably six or seven years old, that I could remember really listening to what the adults were talking about.

Over the years we have had countless exposés about corruption scandals in our government but then after a long series of senate inquiries and media hoopla once a news article reaches a certain amount of time of being talked about, people drop it off as "old issue" and the fire dies down then we collectively move on to the next controversy that catches our fancy. Be they a sex tape of some starlet or the lovelife of certain showbiz personalities made controversial yet again.

Here's just a small list of exposés and scandals I can remember that were talked about over the years.

  1. Controversy of the Clark Expo project
  2. Amari Land Scam
  3. BW Resources Scandal
  4. PCSO Funding Scandals
  5. The Luxury cars scandal during Erap's time
  6. Jueteng Scandal
  7. Fertilizer Fund Scandal
  8. Hello Garci Controversy
  9. ZTE Scandal

This is but a small list of the things that I remember. They used to be a major issue in this country. But after the fire burned out, nothing was done about the people involved. Many of them moved on to other careers or ran/held public offices. Just imagine what other forms of corruption happens behind closed doors and how much money have been squandered by these ingrates.

Am I angry? YES, very much so! But what can we do about it?

Napoles is a small pawn. Sometimes I can't help but think maybe its time we as a people start shooting or executing these officials. Maybe, just maybe once we start doing that, they'd be better at their jobs and will start serving the public for once.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

An Act of Kindness Goes A Long Way

Having read this article on the New York Times website brought back a lot of memories for me.
Growing up with many ailments due to Marfan Syndrome I had to wear braces for my scoliosis and very thick glasses for my superior lens subloxation. Life was not easy at all as I became known in school as the weirdo kid with the funny eyes and fat body trapped in "armor" (Milwauke braces).

Yet when I reflect on things now and try to recall those memories that really stood out in my deep, dark, and challenging childhood I realize that it's not the kids who made fun at me that really mattered. I survived their jeers, taunts, and bullying because no matter how hard and bad it got sometimes I came across people who did an act of kindness towards me and these little gestures were enough to sustain me through it all.

I remember this boy who was the same age as me but in a different class who often come up to me during morning recess to just talk. Hardly anybody talked to me back then. I could not even remember what it was that we talked about really but the memory of him just talking to me in our little breaks was good. At the back of my head I was always thinking why is this person talking to me? Isn't he afraid his friends will think he's weird? What does he want? And yet, this person often came to just chat up for a few minutes and after the bell rings to signify the end of recess I always walk back to my classroom feeling so much better. Back then I couldn't understand it. It just felt good and that was enough to change my day for the better. He was my friend yet we didn't exchange names.

Then there was also this classmate who used to tease me a lot. He was very unkind. I must have told my mom about it one time because all I could clearly remember now was that my mom went to school and waited for the boy's father. She talked to the father and after that incident, the boy who used to tease me started being nice. He stopped teasing me and there were even times when he would go to our school library to fetch me and help carry my school bag whenever I was late in meeting my mom during dismissal. (I used to attend a private school run by Catholic nuns and kids were not allowed to leave the campus without their guardians fetching them.)

I just never had the time to thank these people though. I even forgot their names now but the act of kindness they have shown me especially during trying times has remained in me all these years.

Thank you!