Separation of Church and State

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The church should put money where its mouth is, is all I'm saying. So here's the deal. The church threatens the government everytime they try to impose some semblance of promotion of artificial birth control. It's not a new thing. I remember the then DOH secretary Flavier being nearly excommunicated for introducing the idea some 15 years ago. It's been like that ever since. Now it's perfectly normal for any sociopolitical group to lobby for and against something that our government enacts - that's what democracy is all about. But what does the church offer other than rejection and threats?

I can't speak in numbers, statistics, and cold hard substantiated facts. Public Static is about opinions and barely any research, if any. That's why most articles here are branded as humor, because if I were to say anything written here after three bottles, they'd not sound out-of-place. I can speak, however, for myself about the Church's stance on population control.

1. I've been hearing mass since I was a kid. I very rarely miss mass specially during the last 5 years. The only times the priest talks about safe sex is when they are lobbying the peoples to fight against the government. Other than that, nothing. We don't have any gospels that speak against condoms. Or wanton sex. Hell, I'd be lucky to hear sex mentioned twice a year. It's like the Church openly says it needs no help in solving a problem that it only tries to solve just to show others that it doesn't need help in doing so. Confusing? It should be.

2. I am educated in a catholic school. The only time we talked about sex in my ten year stay there, apart from biology class, is during the actual Sex Ed class that was added by a progressive new principal that came in a year before we turned seniors. That means every batch above us and probably those who went after us (if I'm right that it was abolished soon thereafter for reasons I was unable to learn of) did not have these same classes. If it's really necessary, teachers simply echo a "just say no" policy like the church. Everybody knows how easy that's to follow when you're sixteen and your body is 70% composed of testosterone. No teacher would dare talk about sex in any other way. It's like they're denying the idea that you, a student brought up from a Catholic environment, might be able to contemplate sex at such a young age. (HINT: Jesus was born when Mary was about 15 and Joseph about 16)

3. I was raised in a Catholic home. My parents are pretty liberal already by most standards, specially when it comes to these things. But let truth be known, I wasn't really able to talk about sex, or safe sex for that matter freely until I was in college. Thank god I was such a nerd the first eighteen years of my life and didn't have to have the trouble of having a woman and not knowing what to do to not end up being a young father. I doubt any normal family would openly converse about sex education and safe sex with children unless it's absolutely necessary - and that absolute necessary is when something has already happened - which is tad too late.

My bottomline is that nobody really wants to do the sex education and safe sex business, but nobody really wants the government to do something about it either. But the fact of the matter is, we will keep on having a ballooning population working to our disadvantage (hint: we are not China - we have no room and we can't feed all of us in the future) and until somebody starts ignoring the shooing being done by the Catholic community, or until changes start from within that group (hint: it wont happen anytime soon), we will be in a far worse situation than where we already are now.

Translation: Until parents, religion teachers, and the parish priests start openly talking about the merits of sex and its inherent problems, I refuse to leave such an issue to a bunch of people who sound disgusted everytime they hear about it, as though it's not caused in the creation of EVERY LIVING PERSON ON EARTH.

Unit then, bring on the condoms.

Japan Travel Log (Part 1)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Before I start with my account, I'd like to note some things first, specifically for those who'd think we covered an unrealistic amount of tourist spots in such a small span of time. I think I've already mentioned this before when I did a piece on Macau - when my family tours abroad, it's not really much of a vacation, in a sense that you're supposed to get relaxed. No, our tours are more like military tours, wherein you only have enough time to see the sights, take pictures, and occasionally catch your breath so as to not die of exhaustion. Orde Wingate would've been proud. To be honest, even with our usual standards, Japan was a bit ridiculous. By the fifth day, I was walking like a very old man because my foot joints have given away already as early as the second day, and it only got worse. It didn't help that the shoes I was wearing, Adidas Dragon, had a foot sole no thicker than a slice of sashimi. (At least sashimi is soft).

As for other notes, it's also interesting that despite the fact that we do follow a strict regimen, we actually barely plan anything. Even though it's a requirement for the Japanese visa to have an itenerary, in the event we just copied it off some site online and never really followed any of it, apart from the departure and arrival dates. What we do is hit the tourist counter, ransack every piece of free brochure there and do our planning on the fly. It sounds crazy, but somehow, it works - in the same way kicking your computer to make it stop hanging up would be inexplicably stupid, but it does the trick most of the time.

I barely speak Japanese of course, apart from the usual phrases like "Please" "Excuse me" and "Let me go, Mr. Policeman". My sister Janine definitely has a better grasp of the language, but most of the time we resort to either sign language or broken Japanized English that somehow gets understood better than regular English. The language barrier is intimidating, but if you don't really mind having to figure most things out by context clues, it's hardly a problem.

Also, Japan's always been my favorite destination when it comes to travelling to other countries, followed by Hong Kong, and finally the Playboy Mansion, if it were a country.

p.s. (Pictures later. That takes too much time)

Fate Speaks

Thursday, September 23, 2010

It's in your eyes. The fury that could not be said reflects in your stonecold gaze. Your hand throbs, but your anger refuses to acknowledge the pain. What were you thinking when you hit the wall with your bare fists earlier? No, nevermind, at this moment nothing's more important than expressing how wronged, and how indignant you are. Your heart races, your blood is rushing through your head, your muscles are tightend and poised, as if to strike at any second. You feel larger than life - and you know she knows - just as you would have intended it.

Her eyes are that of the defeated, welling with abated tears, passively aggressive but compromising. Her shoulders are no longer pulled back, and she seems much much more puny now. How could something so meek seem so vile? No, at this moment nothing's more important than how wronged, and how indignant you are. She deserves this. You deserve this. It's all about being honest, isn't it?

SMASH. Another piece of furniture, another piece of your lives shatter at the wave of your hand. It's a release your body seems to long for. More and more. She squeals a little. She's very afraid now, possibly too much. But she needs to understand you. She needs to.

Because you love her.

And it's that love that drives your succint anger. For there's no fuel more powerful than your feelings for her. And the feeling of being betrayed. But no, you know you're not really angry. That this is something that will bear fruit one day, a better relationship - you tell yourself - and you tell her. It's for the best. She probably won't know it now, but deep inside she probably acknowledges it. You are the captain of the ship, and you have to set directions for sail.

Only because you love her.

Now, you will fight now, and then maybe walk away and let it cool off. And you know she loves you back. It will simmer down eventually. A few days off will make things better. She wouldn't even notice it. You two will be all smiles, and all because of what you did at this moment. You have it all planned out.

You sure taught her, didn't you?

But that won't happen.

Tonight, as she walks home, because you couldn't, no, because you wouldn't drive her home, somebody will come up to her. He will ask her for money at the point of a knife. She will have none to offer because she left her handbag in your apartment. The one you did not bother to give to her when she ran out. That man is more desperate than you are, and he has naught the love that you can afford to sculpt. She will be the intersect of your predicaments. And she will die for it. The way you left her. Alone, without you, and with a broken heart and a rended soul.

As for you? The last memories of her that you will have was the moment you chased her away thinking there's always tomorrow. You will bury with her that one more time, one more chance, where you can reaffirm that you care for her, that you love her, and that you only do what you do because you have no other way to express your feelings within your zone of comfort. The last sight of her will be frozen, framed and hung in the wall of your mind, and you will see those eyes, those pleading defeated eyes that you loathe - every time you close yours.

Your plans will be in ruin, and your tomorrow will be something of an afterthought, a would-have-been, and you will spend the rest of your days haunted by the wraith of this night -

The one apology that you never gave and will never give.


Notes: no, this is not about my real life. And no, I cannot swipe cardboard furniture with my scrawny arm if my life depended on it. I did try punching a wall once. I nearly got hospitalized. Wrote this piece to take my mind off work for a bit. Time to write is about 20 min + 5 min editing.

Sold Online: Story of the Year

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

This link totally made my day.

If you have the cash, fork it over before somebody else does.

News (Bacon) Briefs

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

National Union of Journalists of the Philippines is cautioning the government against filing any form of criminal charges against any journalists because of what happened in the hostage taking, because it might set a precedent that could threaten them from fulfilling their sacred duty in informing the Filipino people. In other news, the National Union of Truck Drivers of the Philippines followed suit, saying they should not be held liable when they do a shitty job and run over pedestrians in trying to fulfill their sacred duty of supplying the Filipino people with bottled soft drinks. Negligence is negligence.

Aquino gave the report on the 8/23 inicdent to the Chinese first, trigerring an outcry from all circles of society from the high and mighty senators to the not so high and mighty taho vendor. Patriotic bullshit aside, will anything change on the report if the Chinese got it first? If they released the copy in the morning, the lot of us who have normal jobs or school loads will have to wait in the evening to read it anyway (that is, if ANYBODY actually read it). Much ado over nothing.

Homework is now being banned during weekends. The kid that I used to be would've agreed wholeheartedly. Homework during weekends only translated to more things that I needed to copy from my classmates who clearly had a different idea of education, come Monday morning. Research papers are an exception of course, but thanks to the internet, that sort of thing is fast becoming a trivial activity as well. A clear overhaul of the education paradigm needs to be done, obviously, but for now, having a worry free Saturday and Sunday sounds like a good idea.

Stocks are at an all time high. All the more reason why entry should be with utmost caution. You're playing card games with people who dedicate their lives to get ahead in trading. Whatever the market mood is, somebody made it that way to profit the most. Just a food for thought.

Post-Trip Note

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I know I told myself to write a blow-by-blow account of what happened during the trip, but I didn't really realize how tired I was until this morning when my major muscles just kinda quit on me. I have lots of mental notes to go through, and even more pictures to consider so it'll take time. So in lieu of that, I'll just write down a thought that lingered throughout my stay in Japan.

Japan is supposed to be a high-tech city. When I visited Tokyo 9 years ago, they were on fliptop colored LCD phones running on 3G with a highly integrated interface with the internet. 9 years later and we're only beginning to mature to the same level as far as connectivity goes. It shouldn't be a surprise if we all think that if ever we want to see the future of a wired society, we'd just need to look at Japan.

This trip, I tried that, and the more I did it it seems, the more it appeared that I was seeing things in the wrong manner. Allow me to explain.

1. With the advent of tablets, wide-lcd phones like the iPhone, as well as wide internet content availability, you'd think printed media will already go out of fashion. Admittedly, manga sales in Japan have been in dire straits for the past few years, but as far as comparing it to the western counterpart, it still hasn't entered the niche-only status that comic books have already found itself in. You'd still see people of all ages reading tankobans and comic digest magazines in public places. It may be dying, but culturally it's not yet dead.

2. Speaking of phones, the boom of haptic-based controls ushered in by the iPhone and the qwerty-style mobile keyboards seems to have not taken hold, as one would predict considering how far reaching such devices have already gotten elsewhere. The standard fliphone configuration is still the dominant style, and the phone screens were no larger now than they were before.

3. Considering Japan churns out more gadgets than any other product for export, you'd think the people there would be crazy of their owns stuff. It's surprising then to note that in my entire visit of 5 days, I saw 5 PSPs, 2 DSs, and about 4 iPhones/iPod Touches. People in the subway were either using their phones, or just sleeping. Very few people were using earphones. Matter of opinion, more people in our MRT use earphones. Few people were camera crazy, even in tourist spots, and those that did want to take pictures were happy to use their mobile phones.

If ever, I just think what I was able to observe gives me an idea that it is entirely possible for a society to embrace technology and not place it at the center of the social structure - which is what I am seeing in countries like ours and the US. As for the reasons for why this is happening, I'd leave out for another conversation. I'm still tired, and I have work tomorrow.

Post script: I know there are about five wrong things in my post. I am largely aware of them, but I'm not writing a feature article or a reseach paper. So as a disclaimer, I'd just say this piece is bias, inaccurate, and exactly what I want to read years after I forget about this topic.

Worklife - An Oxymoron

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

I used to have work/life balance.

Nowadays it's work/life balang.

Balang araw mangyayari rin yan.

Actually one plausible interpretation for worklife balance is, if you balance well enough your work, you can walk away with your life.

I bet worklife balance means a lot more than in other lines of work if you're a tightrope walker at the circus.

Before anybody thinks that this post means something deeper, keep in mind you're reading this in a website where I consider talking about Noynoy's forehead a very serious topic.


Monday, September 06, 2010

In as much as I don't like to generalize without having a going explanation for it, Pajeros and Nissan Patrols are big assholes on the road. It's like the vehicle's engine has an extra piston just for shafting other road users. I can't explain it. The best theory I have so far is that before buying a Pajero, the dealers give the potential owner a marshmallow test. If the customer ends up torturing the marshmallow to death and tossing its sorry remains into the river, that's the only time a purchase will be allowed. This way, they get to keep their status quo of keeping the owner's club exclusive. Other than that, I have no real explanation.

Okay, to be fair, lots of other road assholes use other vehicles. For guys using Pajeros however, there's a higher chance that he will act like he owns the road compared to other cars, like say a Kia Pride, or even a Cherry bikemobile.

It doesn't help that Pajeros and Nissan Patrols are the standard use vehicles of VIP escort vehicles, which in case you have not encountered yet, are tax-paid professional road assholes that ensure selfimportant government officials make you and me feel no different than particularly destitute earthworms. If it's a point for improvement, these vehicles are no longer using blaring sirens. But that doesn't make them less of jerks, in the same way a dude who takes a shit in your lawn will be no different whether or not he's singing while doing the deed.

On a more minor note, it's well worth mentioning that in Spanish, Pajero means "a guy who masturbates".

I'd say it's quite apt.

Road Rants

Friday, September 03, 2010

Related Link - Six Implementable Ways To Save Our Roads

Philippine Road Rules

Ever since moving to my new company, I've started driving again. (Yes, yes, my carbon footprint grew larger - presumably to a size 11, UK) Doing so has reminded me of why it really sucks to be driving in probably the most hellish roads in any Christian nation.

1. The space between two lanes serves as a safety buffer between cars passing by those lanes. They are not, according to scientists at the Insitute of Common Fucking Sense, turbo lanes that motorcyclists can use at their leisure. Doing so turns these lifesaving bufferzones into potential killzone that can turn a motorcycle from horsepower to horsefeed in a matter of seconds.

2. Contrary to what people think, drivers are not machines. They require a certain amount of time before they can react. Changing lanes as abrupt as Loren Legarda changes political ideologies without sending any signals before hand can be very dangerous.

3. You know, those engineers over at the safety section of the automotive company that made your car didn't choose the current light bulb settings in your car for the heck of it. Maybe, we should consider for a moment that, like, maybe these guys actually spent hundreds of hours trying to balance out your ability to see better at night and the ability of cars ahead of you to not develop eye tumors by seeing your headlamps from 5 kilometers away.

4. Pedicabs should be outlawed on all major roads. As it stands, there are times when pedicabs now outnumber pedestrians on certain intersections. We should start finding other uses for them - like mobile army support or something.


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