2008 December | baratillo @ cubao : www.baratillo.net

baratillo @ cubao : www.baratillo.net

Happy New Year Friends and Villains

Posted in Blogging & Technology, Politics and Culture by juned on the December 31st, 2008

Outside I can hear the sounds of trumpets. Not brass trumpets but that made of paper and plastic. There are a few firecrackers that can be heard. A few breaking the silence of the night. It will probably get stronger later just before Midnight. But it is definetly less intense than last year – in terms of fireworks. It has also been raining.

Is this a harbinger of what awaits us in the coming year in 2009?

Analysts and a number of fortune tellers see a very thrift year for all. Time to tighten the collective belt in order to survive. Hard Times ahead.

But that would be tomorrow. Tonight is New Year’s Eve. This is the night we say goodbye to 2008.

The year 2008 -

The good, the bad and the whatever parade of people and events that was encountered. Among them are friends and villains. A lot of them met through blogging and travelling. Some while at work. A number through the family. And then there are those met through serendipity or ill-fate.

Thank you as old Bilbo Baggins once said, “I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”

This will be recitified this in 2009 :)

Those darn trumpets are getting louder and more grating.

To friends and villains thank you. Whether you be man or not … you made life bearable and interesting.

You know who you are :) Plurkers and Bloggers alike.

Hmm the fireworks have begun. Not as much as in the past year but it has begun.

It stopped again. Maybe it will start again in a few minutes . I hear those trumpets doing their chorus of discord.

And I will see you again tomorrow: January 1, 2009 :)

Rizal’s Filipinas de Cien Anos

Posted in Politics and Culture by juned on the December 30th, 2008

Rizal Day: December 30, 2008 - Probably one of the greatest disappointments in my life is never becoming fluent in Spanish. Although it was required in college: Four classes or twenty four units at the University of the Philippines. Only a picayune of the language has remained in my mind - not enough to read the books or essays that would have been a pleasure to read - both for pleasure and for learning.

Maybe one day when the time permits I will have to learn everything from Spanish I to IV. Till then I will have to be content with the English translations of Noli Me Tangere, El Filibusterisimo, Mi Ultimo Adios, Don Quixote, and Filipinas de Cien Anos also known in the English language as The Philippines A Century Hence.

This essay of Rizal is the only one I remember from all the rest of the essays that were required in High School and College. It has not lost its lucidity even when it was translated by DerbyShire. I am not a scholar of Rizal’s work. I am one of those who were required to read it.

But you know, Like a lot of the required readings in High School and College now that I look back I do not mind reading them at all.

Read it here first:

Filipinas de cien años/The Philippines a Century Hence by José Rizal. Translated by Charles E. Derbyshire.
First published in La Solidaridad, Madrid, between September 30, 1889, and February 1, 1890


The closing paragraphs of Filipinas de Cien Anos was prophetic.

“Perhaps the great American Republic, whose interests lie in the Pacific and who has no hand in the spoliation of Africa, may dream some day of foreign possession. This is not impossible, for the example is contagious, covetousness and ambition are among the strongest vices, and Harrison manifested something of this sort in the Samoan question. But the Panama Canal is not opened nor the territory of the States congested with inhabitants, and in case she should openly attempt it the European powers would not allow her to proceed, for they know very well that the appetite is sharpened by the first bites. North America would be quite a troublesome rival, if she should once get into the business. Furthermore, this is contrary to her traditions.” - Jose Rizal. Filipinas de cien años/The Philippines a Century Hence.

Rizal was probably not the only one who saw this coming. But he wrote it and published it.

Voltaire said, “I have no scepter, but I have a pen.”

The Golf Incident: The Trouble with Mirrors

Posted in Blogging & Technology, Politics and Culture by juned on the December 28th, 2008

I woke up this morning reading about the unfortunate incident that has a number of Filipino Netizens angry and I use the word angry in the most liberal sense. The account is here and will probably end up as one of the more controversial stories of the year. There is going to be a flood of posts, posts, and posts that will call for the head of these politicians.

And at the same time a debate has ensued about the issue and use of blogging in covering this event. In the meantime both parties have already file lawsuits, check the story here at GMA.

One of the powers of blogging, like all media, is to expose and bring to light things. Something like a mirror that reflects what happened. The funny thing with a mirror is it reflects everything - not only the incident but other related things that follow it. In the end all are judged by their actions and conscience. Everyone:Both the main actors and the supporting cast.

The initial reaction and predictable one is to call for the resignation of the politicians involve in the case. Related to this a series of debate has ensued on Net both via the blogs and the comment threads. The huffing and puffing of beliefs and opinions.

These are all well and good on a certain level but it would be unfortunate if it becomes an issue of trial by posts and a discussion/debate that would pull out all known political and social beliefs and theories. The first one falling into a lynch mob mentality and the second one reminds one of the ineffective men of the floating island of Laputa (from Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travel). The citizens of Laputa intelligent men that they were had one tragic flaw - so indulged in the pursuit of knowledge and reasoning that they did not use their knowledge for any practical use: to much into the thought process and no input in the action.

After a reasonable time … debate without action is as effective as cupping a corpse.

So here we are…

I am not really a fan of trial by posts. It is a blind rage that can be destructive to those who receive and uses its power. Rather it would be better to use this “power” to ensure that the case is monitored and not left to die. Legal measures are a welcome resort in such case and for the politicians involved in the case - leave of absence or resignation would also be appropriate.

And again when the debate goes way for argument’s sake - well it becomes useless and at some point deadly - apathy is not the only thing that kills a cause.

This medium is truly like a mirror and reflects the actions of all those involved.

The mirror reflects.