It’s bad to blame

I’ve recently been taking a break from writing my opinion blogs, mainly because recent updates that have followed election fever, including those annoying congressional inquiries give me a major headache. Plus, I’d rather not spend some extra time listening to our officials cuss at other people because of their hypertension. But I could not resist to write something after I read columnist Bobit S. Avila’s column, which was published in the Philippine STAR.

In his column, Mr. Avila blamed the 1987 constitution and the members of Cory Aquino’s cabinet for the failure of the elections. He put all the blame and insult on the fact that it was because of this constitution did the 2010 election fail, citing the constitution’s several loopholes that have contributed to the several hindrances of the supposed convenient automated elections. He also used some select words to indirectly bash authors of the constitution for their haphazard final output, the constitution we still use today. He also cited ‘a democracy hangover’ as the reason for having made a constitution with several loopholes that are biting us in the butt today. Mr. Avila ended his column by citing a proposal to nullify the elections, probably because of the reasons he previously mentioned.

Some of you may agree that were points said by Mr. Avila that actually made sense. Well, they did, but let’s put it this way: to blame everything on a half-baked, 23-year-old constitution is just plain stupid. It’s pretty obvious that putting blame on a bad piece of political document is this writer’s last resort. He was probably not willing to dig beneath the surface and to pick out the specific things that did make the election so wrong. How about the lack of planning? The lack of need for computer-related protection and tracing software that could have prevented the discrepanies? To put the blame on a two decade old constitution isn’t gonna cut it. It’s just plain irrational and stupid.

But despite all that, he had a point. The several loopholes in the constitution did end up biting us in the butt 23 years later. The party list system has given this country so much headaches ever since its inception, and it has become an increasingly incovenient hindrance, especially during election time. Mr. Avila said something in his column about how the party list of his sister that supports disabled people (I think) could have no chance of winning in the election and being represented in congress and he was right. Out of the numerous partylists that are there, several are fighting for those without a voice, those that have been forgotten and pushed aside in the wake of the election. Lastly, Mr. Avila’s suggestion to nullify the elections entirely is a very, very extreme move. Why? why must it be nullified when everything has already been said and done? Mistakes have already been made, and to erase all the errors inadvertently caused by a bad electoral system would simply be a last minute futile move to try to re-do what has already been done wrong. In short, it won’t do us any good.

The best thing we can do now is to move forward and try our very best to correct the errors that plagued our last election. We should become solution-oriented and think of changes that can help enhance and improve our political system. We should also consider reviewing the 1987 constitution and revising the several loopholes that have caused us so much problems in this recent election. I thank Mr. Avila for bringing up the errors in the constitution so that politicians can take the time to correct these loopholes and revise the constitution so that our country can improve, even if it may be the smallest way possible.

The Reality of Hypocrisy…. the audacity!

These days, especially in times when 2012 is only two years away and disaster has began to strike (earthquakes, people), the environment is a topic that is prioritized in miting de avances and political debates. Politicians have learned that the environment is as serious a topic as health, Gloria Arroyo and religion. Before I do go on and speak my mind, I will tell you this, and I will admit it: I am no walking Greenpeace. Alternative, environmentally friendly things aren’t the usual things on my shopping list. Like everybody else, I can’t say that I’ve lived an environmentally-friendly lifestyle, but I’m starting (just like everybody else). Another issue that has also seemed to plague election fever is the big issue with campaign posters. Candidates simply do not follow the RULES! The ABS-CBN Boto Patrol coverage seems to have a new headline every day about illegal poster sizes and these posters being placed in all the WRONG PLACES, despite guidelines already being made and sent out to these people who wish to run for office. So, what, you may wonder, am I trying to say? What’s my point? Well.. it’s pretty simple. Posters are made of PAPER. PAPER that comes from trees. If they ain’t PAPER, they sure as hell are made of PLASTIC. When the MMDA decides to take off these posters, WHERE DO THEY GO? Recycling? Decorating? Nahh.. I doubt it. They’ll go in the TRASH, and where does this trash go? A GARBAGE DUMP. And where does this garbage go? If not the BODIES OF WATER, the PASIG, and so many many other places, and where will they go afterwards? INTO THE MOUTHS OF INNOCENT SEA DWELLERS, who mistake them for FOOD. So what will happen to these animals? THEY WILL DIE. It’s that simple. I’m pretty sure if anyone reads this they’ll comment: posters are part of election fever! Don’t you notice how much posters start appearing when the wretched month of May approaches? Well, here’s my reply to whoever will say that: i don’t’ give a crap if they’re part of election fever! It pretty much means that every four years during the month of May our country contributes greatly to the downfall of the environment by posting and later trashing posters made of plastic or paper! We prove with great power and a smile on our faces that anthropogenic global warming is indeed the cause of our current environmental woes! Are we supposed to be PROUD of that? No! Look, the solution here is pretty simple, because it involves the here and now. Since we haven’t heard so far of a candidate that actually uses recycled paper/plastic for his/her campaign posters, we’ll have to wait for 2016 for that to happen (if ever anyone dares take a stand like this). I simply ask that the green and clean, near and dear MMDA do the Momma Nature and the rest of her children a favor: that they properly dispose of, or recycle all those annoying election posters that are being put up in illegal zones, those posters that they are taking down. Make a bag out of them and sell it! (election souvenirs!). Recycle them and make them useful to all of us voters and wannabe voters. Maybe a bag made of campaign posters might just be some new fashion trend that people will go for! It sure as hell beats dead animals, global warming and all those other negatives that come with the improper disposal of this campaign paraphernalia. This is what I ask to the current and future eager beavers waiting for their chance at public office (and possible corruption, I hope not): the next time you rich/not-so-rich lads and ladies decide you’re going to run for public office (and you have the money for campaign posters) pleassee… do the environment a favor: go look for a poster-maker that will print all your stuff on environmentally-friendly plastic/paper. If you do decide on such a thing, I give you the leeway to include it in your campaign, to speak about it during political debates and discussions, heck I give you the leeway to post posters anywhere you WANT! (except the illegal places, of course). I assure you, future senators and senadoras of our country, that if you consider such a move in favor of Madam Nature, she, the lady in green, will repay you for your good action. You might just wake up a whole new demographic that has appeared ever since greenpeace: the envi nuts. They may be a small and up-and-coming demographic, but with greenpeace by your side, everything and anything is possible! (Just make sure to have environmental protection as one of your top priorities, if you ever, ever run for office and win).

Imagine

John Lennon’s post-Beatles recordings aren’t so bad as well. I didn’t really delve deep into his Plastic Ono Band catalog, but I listened to three of his most famous post-Beatles tracks and I’m a big, big fan.

“Imagine”

Probably one of the most iconic songs ever made in music history. It’s straight-to-the-point lyrics and beautiful melody make for a song that will last decades after it’s release. Has this point been proven? Yes. Who would’ve thought a song released 39 years ago would still click with listeners today? Big surprise, isn’t it? I really don’t think so. “Imagine” is number three on the list of Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 greatest songs of all time.

“Give Peace A Chance”

This song shares anthem status with “Imagine”, and it was extremely popular as an anti-war anthem in the seventies, when people were protesting against the Vietnam war. Another song that speaks of moral issues, it’s biting wit and underhanded sarcasm with some of the lyrics do a strange job of further giving the song an iconic edge. Plus, it’s simplicity (no over-production here) gave it a bigger edge when it came to relating with the youth that protested against the war.

“Instant Karma”

Despite John Lennon’s rebellious and over-the-top nature, he ironically wrote several songs that spoke of moral topics, with underhanded satirical ideas. Instant Karma inspired writer Stephen King’s bestselling book The Shining. Yet despite all that, it’s a song that is still one of Lennon’s well-known works. In my opinion, the song could almost pass for a lesson in “karma”, but it sometimes isn’t enough.

“How Do You Sleep”

No, this isn’t the Jesse McCartney song with Ludacris.

An underhanded track that bashes Lennon’s ex-songwriting partner Paul McCartney, the song’s beats sound a lot like the early makings of overproduced music. Yet despite all that the song, in my opinion, is a better way of insulting compared to what stars do today.

Bitten by the Beatlemania Bug. :]

As of this writing, I am still crazy in love with Beatle songs. I know, it’s weird for a sixteen-year-old to actually appreciate old songs, but the power of their music, their lyrics and their sound have got me hypnotized still!

My Top Twelve Favorite Beatles Songs:

1. Revolution

2. Come Together

3. Across the Universe

4. Can’t Buy Me Love

5. A Day In the Life

6. I Feel Fine

7. Twist and Shout

8. Please Mr. Postman

9. Strawberry Fields Forever

10. Get Back

11. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

12. Day Tripper

My Favorite Beatle? John. I’m a fan of his strange songwriting and his legendary way with words is truly one-in-a-million, maybe even one-in-a-zillion. I prefer his dark and insightful songwriting to Paul McCartney’s love ballads, which generally, aren’t that bad.

Top Two Favorite Beatle Songs? Revolution and A Day In the Life. I love the loud guitar that starts the song, and John Lennon’s voice seems to fit perfectly for the song. I chose A Day In the Life as another ultimate favorite because of John Lennon’s voice again. He really has a very, very different voice which breathes a strange energy into the songs he sings.

Favorite Beatles Album? I don’t have a specific one, but Sgt. Pepper’s is a great album, and most of the songs I do listen to did come from this album. Abbey Road and early albums like Help! and A Hard Day’s Night aren’t so bad as well.

Election 2010 REVIEW

I wrote this around two to three days after the election. Read it and weep! XD

Whoever expected the first automated elections held yesterday to proceed smoothly? Well, I sure didn’t. Nothing about that election was 100% perfect: people weren’t able to vote, machines malfunctioned, signals sucked, lines were long. It may not have been the usual manual election but it was an election nonetheless, and it was surely a step up from what past elections have been for our country. Below, I cite some major points of error in yesterday’s election, I elaborate on them, and I give my personal solution to each. (Stay tuned for my next blog/note, 2 ways to a better election!!)

POINTS OF ERROR:
1. SURVEY SAYS… a.k.a many didn’t think, so they were for Noynoy
=> It looks like the surveys were right as in partial counts done by the COMELEC have shown Noynoy at number one (like in the surveys), and Bong Revilla, Miriam Defensor and Jinggoy Estrada in the top three spots (they tied for first place in the Pulse Asia surveys). In fact, if you do compare the presidential and senatorial surveys side-by-side, you cannot help but see the similarities in the results, which is really scary. Does that mean Pulse-Asia really did manage to brainwash the Filipino people with their scientific, statistic mumbo-jumbo about NoyNoy at number one? We can’t dismiss the fact that the survey really did have such a major impact on the decision of the people.
The only survey that didn’t match up to partial results? The vice-presidential race. Mar Roxas is second to Jejomar Binay by a small but significant number. That seems to be about it. Loren Legarda places third (she should’ve been second to Roxas and in front of Binay). Now how did that happen? Did the news of Mr. Binay’s past skeletons in the closet (mistress, I’m talking about you), gain some pogi points with certain, adulterous voters? Or did people realize that what he’s done with Makati is truly something to be proud of, and they are hoping he transforms the whole country into one big Makati? I think I prefer the latter, Binay ain’t such a bad guy.

CLARIFICATION: I am not generalizing entirely on the survey-result similarity of the election counting. The surveys and the election results don’t MATCH UP PERFECTLY, you know, and I was only referring to the top three results in each race: presidential, vice-presidential and senatorial. I’m not so familiar with the other numbers and their similarity to their Pulse-Asia counterparts. If they are similar, though, then whoo-pee! The survey says… and the people follow!

2. NO ONE THINKS, SO THEY ARE FOR NOY! :))
=> To the person who did make that ‘I don’t think therefore I am for Noynoy Aquino’: darn, you must feel pretty stupid right now, or I guess probably you switched sides and then realized that people who are actually for Noynoy Aquino. But still, insulting the 12million+ people who voted for Aquino must feel like such a good thing. Bwahaha! 😛 As the song goes, AINT’ THAT A KICK IN THE HEAD! =))

3. ERAP IN NUMBER TWO SPOT?
=> Reasons not to put Erap in number two: he already became president, he stole money, he laundered money, he was corrupt, he was in jail, he just got out of jail… and yet, there he is, catching up to the ‘indestructible Noynoy’. People, not a good choice, not a good choice AT ALL! Putting Erap back in the presidency would surely beat having Mr. ‘nakaligo ka na ba sa dagat ng basura?’ in number two, but there are more capable people that can be president. Two words: GIBO TEODORO.

4. THE IMPORTANCE OF A SYSTEM
=> Everytime my mom chastises me about not having a ‘system’ when I do something or organize something, it usually slips my mind the next time around (laziness and youth, mind you). But it was only now did I realize why a system is so frickin’ important (thanks Mom!). If Pulse Asia were to hold a survey today and ask the Filipino people whether or not they enjoyed voting in this year’s election, you can just wonder what the result will be. When I was monitoring the news last night, there was this voter interviewed in Cebu that rambled about the absence of a proper system, and he was right. [read my next blog on a better election for my personal system suggestions].

5. ELECTION EXTENSION
=> Dolphy was right when he declared that the elections needed to be extended. 7pm is just too early a time for polls to close. Extending it an hour and a half or so later, (maybe 10pm would be good) would probably have lessened the lines and made voting convenient.

6. COURTSHIP AND ATTRACTION: MAKE VOTING FUN
=> I read in this morning’s paper that there only was a 75% voter turnout in this year’s elections. That’s 3/4 of the registered voting public that came out to have their say on who will be the next people to lead. It may sound like a pretty good number, but there’s nothing good about that at all. It is because voting does not appeal to everyone that some former registered voters have stopped voting and others have not exercised their right to vote. It is because of a lack of the voting public that the cheating and the dayaan can go on. Those officials think they can have their way because people don’t care anymore about the outcome of the election. They have made voting such a bad thing people have stopped. Sure there have been media-related programs that show a significant participation of voters and youth in the election, but that isn’t enough. We should always aim for a 100% voter turnout in every election, because people’s vote counts. This is the only time when the public is given a say in the future of the country. We shouldn’t take things like this lightly.
How can we make voting as appealing as a new product or a trendy pair of clothes? It’s simple. Improve the system (read my blog for an elaboration). Make voting be an enjoyable experience with the whole family (will elaborate more on my next blog). When the system’s glitches have finally been improved, people should be encouraged to vote: how? Make it mandatory. You heard me, vote or you’ll be arrested. It may sound like an extreme thing, but we should prioritize the practice of a right to suffrage, and extreme measures must be taken. Those 1/4 of the registered voters didn’t vote because voting isn’t appealing to them. They didn’t want to spend hours of their day standing around in the heat doing nothing while they waited. Not everyone will want to make such a sacrifice to cast their vote. Adverts about Ako ang Simula will not suffice, and that’s the truth. We should create other programs to make suffrage cool for everybody.

7. BEING BALIMBING IS A CRIME
=> People don’t trust Philippine politics (particularly the people) anymore because of their love of being turncoats. One minute he/she’s on the administration and then he/she decides to shift to the opposition years after. We don’t know who’s who or what’s what anymore. Honesty is the best policy, all right, but our leaders don’t seem to apply those practices at all, despite how they preach. Politicians should stop such nonsense and stay with their party. We should follow the example of a Republican-Democratic political society, where you will be stuck with your party until your demise. It obviously seems to be the plan that makes more sense compared to switching sides here and there. If ‘balimbings’ stop being balimbings then the Filipino people will start to trust politicians again and the country will be a better place. I’d prefer to charge all those balimbings with treason, though, but that’s just me.

8. A DYNASTY OF SYMPATHY VOTES
=> Here’s an analogy you might find amusing: people voted for Cory Aquino and she won because she ran for Ninoy and when Cory died Noynoy ran because his mom died. Is that such a bad thing? Well, I don’t really know. I just hope that Noynoy can deliver and prove to all his detractors he isn’t just running on dynasty, popularity, legacy and heredity.

9. KORIKRIS: FIRST LADIES?
=> One good thing that many say came from Mar Roxas not winning the vice-presidential race? Korina Sanchez won’t be the first lady of the house anymore. Her head is supposedly big enough, and to have her in Malacanang of all places would mean havoc would be wrecked, and 2012 might come early (kidding!). But did we not also think of the fact that Mar was running for VICE-PRESIDENT and that vice-presidential wives weren’t FIRST LADIES, they were umm.. SECOND LADIES? (corny!!!)
Another feared Palace inhabitant: Kris Aquino. She seemed to play a bigger part in the election than Noynoy himself. People used her as a reason or an excuse not to put Noynoy in higher office, and from the way that she does smother him (take the S out), people had a point. Wait… what people, though? :))

10. TWIN SLOGANS=EPIC FAIL!
=> Villar just conceded to NoyNoy. Ouch move. He spent dozens of dollops of pesos on his ‘for the poor’ campaign and the poor fellow finishes third, second to an ex-graft and corruption convict. That was a slap on the face if I ever saw one. I just watched his press conference, and I saw the look of ‘crap, that was a waste of money’ on his face as he congratulated third-generation Democracy advocate Noynoy Aquino on taking the election by an almost landslide vote. This is what happens when twin slogans slug it out. Erap was obviously first to coin the for the people slogan (Diosdado Macapagal, I think, was the father of the for the people slogan), and then Villar followed suit, relating to the nation his early years as a poor boy in Tarlac. The anthem-like jingles followed, and Villar’s early campaigning probably did him in (his commercials ruled the airwaves before a barrage of NoyNoy ads, including the music video with a long credits/cast list came out). These were the two slogans: for the poor [my original] by Erap, and for the people/poor [i used to be one of you]. Villar’s slogan was better, I can tell you that now, but the original won out (WHy?). I feel sorry for the Villar.. but that’s all I feel sorry for. Him and his good slogan… boo-hoo.

Contemporary Icons

My recent obsession with the Beatles has proven to have taken it’s course on my personal judgment. You want proof? Read the feature article that I recently wrote after a continuous Beatlemania-related listening session. I specifically state in one paragraph how doubtful I am that there will be contemporary artists that will not become icons in the next years. I am so wrong, and my judgment was clouded, for cryin’ out loud! Here’s a short and sweet list of some current artists (that I listen to) that I believe will still be known five decades or a century from today.

1. CHRISTINA AGUILERA

With a voice like that, who would not immediately name Christina as an icon-in-the-making? She’s one artist who transitioned from teenybopper and back with meaningful, soulful and Grammy-winning songs and performances in general. Plus, I’m a big fan of her Back to Basics album, which evokes a very glamorous vintage feel. I love her tribute to Old Hollywood in general, and in my opinion, she probably belonged there because of her voice, her belting power, her talent, her image and her self-confidence. Watch her portray a burlesque star in a biopic about the burlesque era, aptly titled Burlesque.

2. LADY GAGA

If Madonna made herself known in the eighties for her ever-changing image, Lady Gaga’s over-the-top sense of fashion and her lovable club/pop crossovers will be club staples in the next years. Despite all that, Gaga isn’t just a pretty face. We’re talking major songwriting talent and a musical background. Cookie cutter popstar? I don’t think so.

3. RYAN TEDDER

From the moment I listened to Apologize, I loved Ryan’s innate songwriting gifts. His works for OneRepublic are masterpieces in their own right: he gives life a new perspective with his words, and he gladly surprises with poetic words reminiscent of John Lennon’s ‘Psychadelic’ era.

4. RAP ICONS: EMINEM, JAY-Z AND THE WHOLE NINE YARDS

I’m not super familiar with hip-hop, but from what I know and what I’ve heard, Eminem and Jay-Z are two of the most real rappers I’ve ever heard rhyme. Eminem’s rags-to-riches story gives him concrete material to rap with, and he skillfully put those trials and tribulations into words oozing with anger and disappointment.

Jay-Z, on the other hand, gives the outsider an inside look into the “ghetto life”. His songs about the Big Apple and his previous rap collaborations with Eminem aren’t just about girls, sex and booze, they also tell wonderful stories.

I added in ‘the whole nine yards’ to refer to the other rappers of today that also tell wonderful stories. Just give me a few months or years to widen my musical horizons.

5. JOHN MAYER

After watching Cadillac Records (the movie), I’ve gained a new appreciation for the blues. Mayer sounds just like a modern-day blues singer. His soulful voice and sensible lyrics are products of a musical mind honed at Berkeley College of Music. Who knew, really?

Atypical rags-to-riches musical tales tell of highschool dropouts/ talented musicians or highschool graduates/talented musicians that become rich through shear luck. Mayer doesn’t just have music on his side, he also has the education to boot.

6. BEYONCE

She may not be the modern Etta James, but Beyonce Knowles and her music will live on. She cleverly transitions from dance music to meaningful songs smoothly, and the crowd loves her every tune, and who doesn’t enjoy this energetic songstress as she gyrates and belts it out with every piece of energy that she has?

That’s all I’ve got for now, but I’m positive more names will pop up in the near future. All we have to do is sit, wait, watch and listen.

Slice of Literature!

Footprints

By: Colleen Yu

“These paths we’ve trod,
They’ll never fade,
Even in the night’s darkest shade,
These paths we’ve trod,
They’ll always last,
Despite how long time has past.
Footprints, footprints,
They never do fade,
Footprints, footprints,
Those sheltered by the shade.”