Category: Social Issues

Come Hell or High Water

With the early onset of monsoon season, it looks like this would be the scene that I’d have to witness every time I leave work for the next six months. Behold, the Pasong Tamo River.

The only time I would ever step into flood waters is if there was no_other_choice. As there were no available cabs willing to venture on the flooded stretch of Pasong Tamo (or Chino Roces, its new name) and jeepneys would not pick up passengers at the stop in front of my current office building, the only option left was a pricey pedicab ride to a spot that was not submerged in yucky waters. A block-and-a-half ride cost a whopping 20 bucks. Damn these rains and the pithy drainage work on this road!

These pedicabs charge more than taxis do.

On a brighter side, I took my first Makati pedicab ride and got a nice blogging material. Fun. I should seriously consider getting a car. This can’t go on forever.

Oops! Gotta keep the loafers dry. Beneath are icky flood waters rushing through the gaps on the pedicab’s floor.

Paglimot

Paglimot

ni Nino R. Calinao

Pumanaw na kagabi ang aking pagkabalisa
At magdamag na ibinurol ang aking ilusyon.
Kanina tinungo ko ang naglamay na lapis sa mesa,
Habang sumusulat ay ikinukumpas ng aking panghihinayang
Ang kundiman ng aking kalungkutan
At mga titik ng ponebre ang aking nabuo.

Ayoko na sanag ituloy ang pagkatha
Pagkat lapidang marmol ang papel na ito
Kay hirap iukit ng mga salita.
Sa puntong ito
Ay nasa huling hantungan na
Ang aking mga pangarap.
At sa huling tuldok ko itatarak
Ang krus ng aking paghihirap.

This is one of the saddest yet hopeful poems I know. The author was a classmate of mine back at UP School of Journalism, and although I never got to know him personally, it was rather shocking when his death was reported on the  news, and more so for the sheer violence of it.

According to reports, he was killing time with friends at one of the places in uni where many students hung out when two men approached him and shot him point blank. And while his friends still managed to rush him to the hospital, he succumbed to his death due to the number of shots he received from his assailants. Weeks later, it turned out that the bullets that killed him were in fact meant for someone else and he was simply a victim of mistaken identity.

The saddest part about his death was that he was a poor yet promising man who was just a few weeks shy of getting his Bachelors degree and start working in order to support his family, which was the fact about his life that he implied in his poem, if one understood what it was like to be poor and to struggle through life.

The Crisis of Credit Visualized

I have read countless articles about the credit crisis and made sense of next to nothing but for the idea that Wall Street and lenders got too greedy for their own good and homeowners–the “irresponsible” ones–borrowed more than they could afford. The things that led to the global financial crisis was too complicated, therefore the befuddlement of a lot of us uninitiated in the financial thingamajigs that have so far resulted in billions (or is it trillions already?) of dollars gone up in smoke, millions of jobs lost all over the world (hey, Americans aren’t the only ones getting unemployed), and an unsure future for practically everyone that even Tiger Woods was laid off by General Motors.

Check out this fantastic presentation that explains the credit crisis in a nutshell and gives a background on the history of the crisis and the complicated layers of mortgage lending cooked up by investment banks and mortgage lenders.

Just as fantastic as the topic of the video is the effectiveness of the tutorial in explaining such a complicated subject. The presentation was created by Jonathan Jarvis as part of his thesis in Media Design Program at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.

You can also download the video in HD (Right-click, and then “Save as…”). Visit Crisisofcredit.com for more info.

Via the Mike Abundo Effect.

Exported Teachers

pencil

“To many school officials, Filipino teachers are ideal job candidates. The mostly female recruits speak English, hold advanced degrees and pass internationally recognized teaching exams. And they see the salaries offered here as small fortunes. But for all their enthusiasm and experience, they first have to learn how to manage unruly American students.

“In Prince George’s, the starting teacher’s salary is $43,481 — almost 10 times what the same teacher would make in the Philippines. Many Filipinos, like Mabel, can make much more here because of their years of experience. Salaries for someone with two decades of experience and a master’s degree can be more than $80,000.

“Perhaps most important, the teachers get a shot at becoming Americans. If they perform well for three years, the county will sponsor them for a green card, or permanent residency. It can take years for them to actually get the card and, later, citizenship, because of the government backlog. But theirs is a much easier path to the United States than that of many other immigrants. They don’t have to come here illegally or win a visa lottery. They just have to do their jobs.

“As life-changing decisions go, Mabel didn’t agonize that much. Going overseas for more money is common in the Philippines. About 10 percent of the country’s 89 million citizens live abroad, according to the Philippine Commission on Filipinos Overseas.”

“Lessons Far from Home,” The Washington Post

Pencil by Balakov