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Monthly Archives: April 2010

Who am I?

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“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom.” –Lao-Tzu–

γνῶθι σαυτόν

“Do you know yourself, Pepe?”

I was asked this question a few days ago by my French supervisor on the issue of my slumping work performance and pessimism about my future in the company.

I am not about to write a long blogpost to discern the answer (perhaps a decaffeinated fiction will do the trick sometime in the near future). Besides, I am not in the mood today to do so (because the phantom of sleep is slowly creeping up into my system). The question just bothers me like a pesky mosquito which does not go away. When my supervisor asked me this, I was caught unprepared and surprised. In retaliation, I threw him back his question. But he confidently replied, “Of course I know myself. And since I know myself, that has helped me to be confident with myself, it makes me happy about myself, I am able to accomplish so many tasks being thrown at me, and I don’t give a damn about what other people think of me.” He sounded so proud and so sure, as if brandishing a gold-plated award carved in granite.

Very good answer, though. Something that I could not say to myself. My supervisor is a nonbeliever in religion. And I heard from another colleague that he is an atheist. I find it so unfair. I am a Christian, and an ex-atheist at that. Yet I admit that I do not know who I am. While here in front of me is a proud atheist (or perhaps a deist, I’m not so sure yet), strongly declaring to my face that he knows himself.

Since then, I’ve been asking everybody (including my wife) about themselves, who they really are. I’ve been doing much extrospection even before, disregarding introspection due to, perhaps, a fear of knowing oneself. Because if I suddenly discover who I really am, I might not be able to handle it. Or I may not even like it.

“Who are you? How do you get to know yourself? What rewards did you get upon knowing yourself?” These are the questions I’ve been asking people around. But, said another colleague, the only person in the world who could know me better is, of course, myself, because I’ve been with myself for the longest time more than anybody else. Clever. So what should be my attitude towards this? Positive thinking? Ahaha. I already know what I want in life, for sure. But now, I’m starting to doubt if that is enough. I might not get there if I don’t even know who I am.

I am a Filipino; I know where I stand. I am a Christian; I know when to fly. But I do not know myself personally; that might compel me to die.

Nah, I’m just rhyming.

Just then, a few minutes ago, I found this Bible verse on a friend’s Facebook wall…

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!” – Philippians 2:5-8

But no matter how hard I try to become saintly, that is virtually impossible if I continue to live amidst this libertine society we have.

Am I going crackers?

Good grief. I’m turning 31 this July. And I already have four kids. Yet I still think as if my brain’s a sponge being squeezed by some fag dishwasher. Oh, how nasty the hyperbole.

For the most part of my life, I’ve worn several masks, pretending to be someone else. Multiple identities. Different shades of myself. Most of them lies. I am not even so sure of myself anymore. Could this also mean that I do not like myself?

I think I am about to embark on another journey. I hope not; I have planned other journeys. And now this sh!t.

“We need help, the Poet reckoned.” –Edward Dorn–

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Villar sh!ts on PSE for more money?

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Great. How timely.

Just when I’m all set to buy some stocks from listed companies in the Philippine Stock Exchange, then sh!t like this happens…

Estrada, Enrile accuse Villar of pressuring PSE on stock sale

Sen. Manuel Villar, Nacionalista Party standard-bearer, earmarked for his presidential campaign P5 billion which he raised from an allegedly irregular transaction three years ago involving his real estate firm’s shares, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said Thursday.

The P5 billion came from the P26 billion that the family-controlled Vista Land & Lifescapes Inc. (the corporate successor of real estate developer C&P Homes Inc.) raised in the stock market, said Enrile, senatorial candidate of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP).

Enrile accused Villar of influencing the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) board in June 2007 into approving his request to release almost 30 percent of his shares in Vista Land from the lock-up period in violation of stock exchange rules.

“If he can do this when he is still not the President, how much more if he is already the President of this country?” Enrile said at a news conference at the campaign headquarters of former President Joseph Estrada’s PMP in Mandaluyong City.

“Is this the type of person that the country should install as the next President of the Philippines?” he added.

Prohibition

The lock-up requirement is a prohibition on all listings and public offerings of shares of stock of private corporations.

It prohibits major shareholders like the Villars from selling their shares within a certain period to protect small shareholders from the devaluation of the shares, according to Enrile.

“In simple terms, those who want to generate funding for their companies by selling their shares to the public are prohibited from selling or dumping their own shares within a certain period because such will affect the price or value of the listed shares, thus unjustly enriching the majority shareholders at the expense of and to the detriment of the public,” Enrile said.

Villar at PSE meeting

Enrile presented minutes of a supposedly confidential PSE meeting in 2007 and a letter of PSE chair Hans Sicat as proof of his allegations against Villar. (Sicat joined the PSE board and became its chair only last year.)

The minutes showed that Villar was present at the PSE board meeting on June 29, 2007, when the board approved the release of 29.28 percent of his shares. Enrile said it was Villar himself who requested an audience with the PSE directors.

“From the record of all these proceedings, there is no doubt in my mind that Sen. Manuel Villar himself lobbied and exerted pressure to railroad the approval of his family-owned company’s request for exemption to enable him and his family to sell their shares which were otherwise subject to lockup at a hefty premium!” Enrile said.

How does his election campaign song go again?

♫ Hindí bawal mañgarap
Ang mahirap
Bastá’t maáabot itó
Sa malinis na paraán… ♪

Click here for more of the Villar-PSE debacle.

Happy Earth Day!

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Happy Earth Day to our planet! Let us take care of it. As I always say, it is our only home. =)

The end is near?

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SKYPEing at the office:
[4/20/2010 10:43:57 PM] Pepe Alas: Massive earthquakes, tsunamis, drought, famine, and recently, an enormous volcanic eruption in Europe.
[4/20/2010 10:44:08 PM] Pepe Alas: I think the end is really near.
[4/20/2010 10:44:26 PM] Pepe Alas: So tell me, why should we still pursue our advocacies?
[4/20/2010 10:44:49 PM] Arnold Diaz Arnaiz: we should not
[4/20/2010 10:44:51 PM] Arnold Diaz Arnaiz: 😀

There is, I think, a cause for concern. News about massive earthquakes around the globe (Haiti, Chile, and China) and the notorious number of lives it took are becoming more and more common. Tsunami fear caused by those tremors is all over coastline communities. The El Niño phenomenon is still wreaking havoc throughout the Philippines and its surrounding areas. The temperature continues to rise all the world over. And recently, Eyjafjallajökull’s eruption somewhere in Iceland caused a large-scale volcanic ash which disrupted air traffic across Europe and in some parts of North America. Drought and famine is nothing new, too…

…just like thoughts of war.

For instance, the US is always noisy with the way they’ve been policing enemy countries such as North Korea and some Middle East countries (particularly Iran). These WASPs always cry foul over news of nuclear arms being manufactured and stored in these countries. But Arnaldo is correct in his observation: who, in turn, are checking the US’ nuclear arms and its rising military personnel?

No one. Not even the United Nations. Besides, where the heck is the UN’s general headquarters located? LOL!!!

“Hollywood movies are sending us a message, man,” Arnaldo told me this morning as we were going home from our night shift. “Remember those doomsday movies such as Deep Impact and, what was that recent film which starred Danny Glover? 2012? The US presidents in those movies are all blacks.”

And from what race is the actual US president in real life?

Coincidence or conspiracy? I thought Arnaldo is getting crazy, but he does have a point. What was that which Mel Gibson (as Jerry Fletcher) said in the film Conspiracy Theory? “A good conspiracy is unprovable. I mean, if you can prove it, it means they screwed up somewhere along the line.” Of course.

I believe in “good conspiracy theories” — there’s the Club of Rome. Then the Committee of 300. And the nefarious schemes of the CIA against enemy countries. All of them are under the umbrella of the notoriously secretive Freemasons, the enemy of my faith. The claims of all those who have written extensively against these mentioned organizations made sense to what is happening all over the world: drug trade, broken families, same sex marriages, prostitution, anti-life devices (contraceptives), the myth of an overpopulated world, even rock music and pop culture, etc. All I can say about this are but two simple words: evil exists. But not for long.

Because the end is near, I think.

So if it is, why still continue this quixotic advocacy that I share with Arnaldo, Señor Gómez, and JMG?

For hundreds of years, various prophets have preached about the end of the world. Prophets since biblical times have been warning people that the end is near. But it’s already 2010. However, I would like to share these thoughtful words from New York Times bestselling author Richard Moran in his scary book Doomsday: End-of-the-World Scenarios:

Like everything in life… there are some things we can control and some things we cannot.

We can try to do something about the worsening greenhouse effect, cyberterrorism, looming plagues, bioengineering blunders, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Yet any effort we make to forestall or eliminate one of more of these threats will require that we as humans undergo a very fundamental transformation in our way of looking at the world and at each other.

We shall have to put aside the greed, arrogance toward nature, and cultural, religious, and racial hatreds that have brought us to the brink of catastrophe. Throughout the entire history of humankind, we have not been able to conquer these demons. Can we do it now — even if not doing so might will mean the extinction of our species? History and reason tell us probably not. In all likelihood, we shall doom ourselves.

As to the extinction scenarios that are not in our hands –asteroid impacts, massive volcanic eruptions, the coming ice age, mega-tsunamis, and insect invasions– there is simply nothing we can do to alter the inevitable. We may think we can use our mighty technological prowess to save our species — nuclear weapons to destroy incoming asteroids, giant dams to divert warm ocean currents and melt advancing ice sheets — but in the end all our efforts will be futile, for it is nature, not man, that reigns supreme on Earth…

…Perhaps in the final analysis, we should not worry about tomorrow –for tomorrow will be what tomorrow will be– but rather seize each day we are given. Love our families, cherish our friends, and forgive our enemies, open our eyes to the beauty of nature around us. Before it’s too late, we need to stop and smell the roses, for roses — like the human species — cannot bloom forever.

While there is life, there is hope. A big AMEN to that.

Fidel Ramos’ “toilet humor”

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I like this guy Eddie’s humor — it’s full of cr@p, hahaha!

Ramos compares automated polls to his hi-tech toilet

Former President Fidel Ramos Tuesday compared the country’s first automated election system (AES) to the sophisticated toilet in his Macati City office. Ramos showed reporters pictures of the toilet at the Export Bank Plaza with auto-flush, auto-faucet and auto-light features.

“For any modern technology, there’s always a manual override,” said Ramos, just like the precinct count optical scan machines to be used in the May 10 electronic balloting.

Asked if he thought the AES can also be manually overriden, he replied, “That’s correct. In this case, who has the control of the system?”

Ramos then turned his head toward the wall where a picture of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo hung, to gales of laughter from the reporters and the crowd at the airport lounge.

Click here for the complete cr@p, err, story, hehehe…

Back to blogging!

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Thanks to our Bora trip two weekends ago, I was unable to blog for a couple of days. I’ve been blogging everyday since July 18 of last year (except for one dumb day when WordPress made a blunder). And since I wasn’t able to blog due to sickness, it finally made me realize that it is impossible for me to blog everyday here and in ALAS FILIPINAS, especially since I’m an employed genius. And besides, the more I try to blog everyday, the more the quality of my writing erodes, not to mention my office productivity. And I have to admit that climbing blog stats spur me to blog more and more everyday. Tsk.

Funny, it took me this far to realize that.

During these past few days, I concentrated more with my work productivity in the office. Happily, it is improving. So yes, writing (and the mere thought of it) is always on the way to office development. But of course, I don’t want to give writing away. The lesson learned here is not that I cannot serve two masters, but I just can’t simply do the same things all at once. I have to be practical: I cannot leave my work for the arts. I have four children to feed which my quixotic undertaking could not do (at the moment?).

Besides, after letting go of this self-imposed deadline to blog before the day ends, I felt more relaxed, my mind more eager to learn and discover new things. “Ignorance is bliss” is what they always say, hahaha!

But as soon as my “pyramid dreams” and other “pecuniary devices” roll out smoothly in my favor… ah! More bohemian bliss for me! =) For I still believe that I am not cut for vocation. So right now, I will blog only when I really feel that I need to. Enough with those crazy stats. My blogs are not TV stations in the first place, LOL!!!

Boracay’s algae bloom

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My body still feels like mush after our Boracay escapade. My wife fared even worse: aside from suffering a 39.8-degree fever, she had diarrhea last night. The high fever still lingers.

Was it really because of the heat? Or is it something else?

Years ago, I’ve heard news about “the end of Boracay” or something like that. I never paid much attention to it because I’ve never dreamt my entire life that I’d be there one day. But as an environmentalist, the feeling of disappointment was there. Boracay is an internationally famous island. To say that pollution has ruined it is a big chokeslam to our ecotourism industry.

During the last few years starting 1996, there have been scientific tests on the waters of Boracay. Shockingly, it was discovered that the waters of Boracay have high concentrations of coliform bacteria, scientifically known as Escherichia coli. The best evidence of this: the high incidence of algae bloom or lumot.

We’ve talked to many people there in Boracay. They claim that the lumot is normal and even seasonal. They say that the algae bloom lasts from December to May. From June to November, the beaches are free of lumot. Some even claim that the lumot is the source of Boracay’s world-famous powdery white sand.

But reports I’ve found in the internet say otherwise. So which is which? And is this algae bloom – E. coli the cause of our sickness and malaise?

For a 1,038-hectare island populated with over 12,000 inhabitants and visited by more than 75,000 tourists every year, Boracay is undoubtedly overpopulated and severely congested. I don’t think it’s water sewage system can hold this kind of setup. Somebody I spoke with in Puerto Galera a few years ago told me that this is Boracay’s curse. As a very small island with too much people, its sewage system will remain a disaster no matter what they do with it. I hope he’s mistaken because Boracay is such a beautiful island to be laid to waste.

Is there a cover up happening for the sake of tourism? Just asking.

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