Development Comm

Thinking Green

August 1st, 2016

Everywhere you look, the world always seem to point out something that is horribly, unspeakably, despicably wrong: your choice of clothes, your shoes, your cosmetics, the cellular phone you have, the food you eat, the gadgets you use, the curves you have or your lack of it, and so on and so forth. Thanks to media and the influence it has over humankind. Without you knowing, it conditions you how to be “perennially young and savvy and fashionable.” It insists that there is always something new and inviting. You have to try it, lest you be branded as “jurassic”, “old fashioned”, “fat”.

How? SHOP all you want. Buy NEW stuff: wardrobe, electronics, vehicles, appliances, even slimming and whitening pills and meds. Name it, the world has it.

Honestly, I am getting tired of all of these. Capitalism and consumerism surely had eaten whatever tiny amount of reason that’s left behind every thinking human brain. I can see clearly now, thanks to Annie Leonard, how man’s current behavior (read: excessive consumerism and spending) is closely related to a system called extraction-production-consumption that is making us an obsessed entity: obsessed with too much stuff that is slowly thrashing the planet, and pushing us to the edge of destruction!

IMG_1540We had a long holiday vacation in my hometown last December. Thankful that the place still resembled how it was years ago (lots of green everywhere), I no longer question why progress is somewhat slow in this part of the planet. At least, the place has not lent itself too much to extraction or the use of natural resources to fuel the nation/world’s economy. Development, as seen by the economic giants, actually means exhaustion of all the resources we have – so that businesses will expand – so people will have things/stuff to buy. It’s a cycle that continues to enrich those already wealthy.

Silently, I mull on a few aspects. Not replacing my old phone means lesser contribution to landfills or incineration that also ruins the planet. But I also think about how many trees are cut down for my books to be produced =( (I cant give up on that one…I still see myself lining on every book sale there is)

With that, I’ll try to spend less this year and beyond. Maybe then, I’ll see this planet smiling. Maybe, with that, I can still help delay this world’s travel toward extinction level.

All It Takes Is a Period (aka The FOI Bill Controversy)

June 14th, 2010

freedom of information

I have mentioned this before and I will say it again today – I am no political animal. I am not well-versed in Philippine politics nor do I have sufficient background regarding the subject.  The closest I can brag is my cuatro in PSc10 (Intro to Political Science & New Constitution), which is equivalent to 96 – 100%  in ADNU back in College. I will not pretend I know any better. However, there are certain instances that call for vigilance especially if it’s the welfare of the silent majority that’s at stake. On such occasions, I’d rather voice out my opinion than feign ignorance.

Which brings to mind Thailand eighteen years ago. Army soldiers rained bullets to about thousands of protesters in Bangkok who were revolting against a general after appointing himself Prime Minister. The demonstrators were either seriously wounded or killed as government troops fired their guns without pity. Nobody braved military censors save for one news media outfit. That dark period in Thailand banned publication of photographs and details of the carnage. Now, does that sound familiar? Our country has its own share of gore and bloodshed to tell, as well as intentional media blackouts to cover them up. This administration alone records the highest in extrajudicial killing involving journalists.

Why is the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill so much of a big deal? Why am I even ranting about it?

I have always regarded INFORMATION as something precious, even sacred to people for it educates and enlightens and eventually can spur one into intelligent decision and bring in desired action (hah, never mind the endless “and”) . Information is freedom – from ignorance, from poverty, from corruption, from bad governance, from culture of secrecy. Information control, we can say then, is sine qua non to political control. No wonder a bill ready to be ratified in fifteen minutes time, a bill that’s fourteen years in the making, a bill that when enacted would have bring to fore and uphold true democracy – met its morbid death! Its pretty interesting why the CAMARA conducted themselves that way, and in front of the national viewing public. I witnessed an interview with one of the principal authors, CIBAC Partylist Representative Joel Villanueva and Atty. Nepo Malaluan – Access to Information Network co-convenor. They were denying the absence of quorum that was the CAMARA’s scapegoat for not ratifying the bill. They need at least 135 congressmen to be present but apparently only 128 was around. In fact they were wondering why the roll call wasn’t in alphabetical order, and those that were actually around hadn’t been called.

What are our beloved leaders so scared of? If I am going to offer an analysis, I’d say that the number of corrupt officials absolutely outnumbers the good guys! If this very important bill has been stalled just like that, something is worth examining. Could it be that the bad guys are afraid of being exposed? FOI Bill will not excuse them from giving people access to their lifestyle, their spending patterns, so on and so forth.

What a waste! Ratifying the FOI Bill would have brought reforms in many areas. People will have wider access to services previously unknown to them. They can participate in government initiatives. There will be a genuine sharing of power. But for now, these will have to remain a dream. Until the 15th Congress ratifies it. Pray it will.

Making Summer Fun and Enjoyable For Children

April 15th, 2010

Well, yes. There is definitely something about summertime that makes it exciting to all young people. Not only are they freed from the bondage of numerous assignments, quizzes, and class recitations — they also find time, plenty of it actually, to play and just be themselves!

Somehow in this fast-paced, money-dominated culture of ours, expectations about the role of children in the family and society also have started to change. Many children have lost touch with what its like to be a kid in exchange for food to feed their hungry mouth. Many are denied the chance  to bathe under the summer heat, to visit relatives, to do picnics so they can help mother and father earn a living. Sadly, poverty had long blurred many young people’s concept of summer.

I am a mother and as such, I want my children to live a normal life. So I let them be. Besides they are responsible kids as far as school work  is concerned. In the same manner, I believe they have to be guided about the things that will make them learn and be happy at the same time. Today for instance, I suggested an activity for them not to get bored. Origami making! Faith and Elmo, judging by the way they spent the whole day, had a great time. Here are a few of their origami art pieces.

Berry wearing an origami samurai hat & shuriken

Berry wearing an origami samurai hat & shuriken

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origami chair

origami piano

origami piano

origami tote bag

origami tote bag

lady bugs

lady bugs

double star

double star

fortune teller

fortune teller

lotus flower

lotus flower

puppy

puppy

polar bear

polar bear

mouse

mouse

elephant

elephant

Faith busy doing her origami art pieces

Faith busy doing her origami art pieces

Ahh, Those Were The Days

January 21st, 2010

Lately, my inner censor prevents me from blogging. I do keep a small notebook where my scribbles and outlines are contained but I wonder why I can’t compose a sensible entry. Psychologists, according to Erica Jong, has a more appropriate term for this. Flow state (characterized by the suspension of the sense of time, the obliteration of self-consciousness, and the feeling that we are doing something for its own sake and not for its own outcome). That flow isn’t really working for me over the past few days. Most people rely on liquor, drugs, etc. to create something, a poem, music, story…Unfortunately for me, I don’t do such things just so I can tune in with my self or with the world.

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(Click to listen to the background music.)

However, last night while checking my high school yearbook – I saw an old picture inserted within the pages. Flashbacks came rushing like heavy torrents of water. Perhaps my flow state has some connection with the visual.

The year was late ’90s and I was actively involved in community theater. Being a development communication student in Ateneo de Naga at that time, I saw it both as an opportunity for praxis and personal growth to be part of such an endeavor. I helped mobilize a group of talented children and youth into a theater group that will serve as advocates for child rights protection. That’s also when I appreciated more the beauty of development work, the passion that drives NGO/GO/PO workers to plunge into marginalized areas, reach out to the disadvantaged and be an agent of change. Devcom is not a basic science but an applied one, making it an integrative discipline and lending itself to dynamism and people-centeredness. I knew right then that I took the right course in college.

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Life was quite simple then. I devoted much of my time attending rehearsals and presentations. We are a group of 25-30 people: casts/characters, props men, technicians (the ones in-charged with lighting and sound effects), the bus driver and the NGO staff (the brainchild of such advocacy tool). We literally jumped from one barangay to another, spoke with village leaders, mingled with other youth and children. In our own little way, we were able to break the culture of silence among typical families in the countryside as far as child rights is concerned.

On a more personal level, it is indeed such a pleasurable experience recalling how each member’s relationship with one another had improved dramatically. We became closer and were comfortable telling our own joys and pains, even our own secrets. The theater group made us into one big family of friends. After my class, I’d go straight to BCAT’s Training Dorm with a big smile plastered on my face. We get reprimanded from time to time. As young people, you see, we can be stubborn and hardheaded. But anyway, all of us often looked forward to a couple of days of get-together and practice. I remember the times I couldn’t get my lines straight and when I did “hahaha” a hundred times so I could sound as sinister as my character required. Our routine meant continuous rehearsing to have a more realistic presentation.

Every time a play is on the way, we gather at either BCAT or Penafrancia Resort. A hired bus (the one driven by Tiyo Roslin who passed away last year, God bless his soul) would take us to the training center then to our destination. Sir M would often tell us, “what an experience huh! you traveled all the way from the mountains just to visit another mountain!”. That is because we mostly go to places with no access to electricity. Good thing we had a ready generator. The areas often required walking because of steep slopes. If its rainy, we need to walk barefoot. We spend the nights on some elementary school buildings as well.

2-3

A stage play means setting the backdrop (sometimes using only an open space or a basketball court/no stage at all), preparing all the music and lighting effects, doing the customary throw-lines, putting on the customes, applying make-up, characterization, etc. At one time, we ran out of hairspray — my friend JJ used an egg white as a substitute and smothered it on my hair. Yaikks. But when you’re ready for the role, you dont care even if you smell like a rotten cheese.

The day succeeding each play was also memorable as we often go swimming or doing picnic. The picture I posted was in fact taken at Malabsay Falls in Panicuason.

Noel Cabangon’s “Kanlungan” (the background music) was our anthem… reminiscent of our Shibashi mornings, an exercise we did for years while the group was still intact and functioning. I remember “separating the clouds”, the “rotating wheel”, and “balancing chi”.

Ahhh, those were the days! Half of all my happiest memories combined were in it, which is why I treasure those moments so dearly.

😀

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Harbinger of Pleasant News

November 18th, 2009

We are on the last throes of November and soon after, its Christmas time once again. Unlike the previous Christmases though, we may not be visiting folks in Bicol for the traditional Noche Buena and Media Noche. Hubby and I are to spend the Yuletide season together. Here’s the story. Faith and I left for Pili last year, while he and Elmo stayed in San Jose. So we were actually miles away from each other.

We are also saving to buy something we’ve been wanting to have.

Some good news.

My daughter, for several days now, has been coming home wearing a beaming expression on her face. Faith is naturally a happy kid, so you can imagine how she behaves when elated, as if in a trance! Last time she proudly showed us two nice-looking key chains given by her teacher. It’s because she’s consistently getting high scores in her subject. Today she’s jumping with joy for getting plus points in her art project (a paper weight made of stone, painted with watercolors) Nice piece of work, bebegel!

ffkgfk

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