2009 June | baratillo @ cubao : www.baratillo.net

baratillo @ cubao : www.baratillo.net

Sowing the Dragon’s Teeth

Posted in Politics and Culture by juned on the June 26th, 2009

There are two stories concerning the Dragon’s teeth. It is said that the hero Cadmus killed the guardian of the Spring of Ares - a dragon. Under the advise of Athena he got the Dragon’s teeth and sowed them to the Earth. And from the Earth were the dragon teeth were planted rose fierce warriors called the Spartaoi. Cadmus threw a jewel or great beauty amongst the warriors and the Spartoi immediately began to fight among themselves to gain possession of precious rock. Only five warriors survived and they joined Cadmus to found the city of Thebes.

Later, Jason the Argonaut was challenged to sow dragon’s teeth and survive the brawl between the warriors. With the aid of Medea he was able to survive the battle between the Spartoi and claim the prize of the challenge the Golden Fleece.

I am reminded of dragon’s teeth whenever I read about political unrest in different countries like the Islamic Republic of Iran; previously in Venezuela with Hugo Chavez and in our own country - the Philippines.

Protests. Well will remain protests more often than not unless supported by a faction or two of the military establishment. There are exceptions like Mussolini’s march to Rome that led to his ascent to power. And as a reminder that it does not work all the time is Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch - which tragically failed and led to the Nazi Party years later getting control of the government legally. Of course there is Gandhi’s protest and a host of others.

A look at recent events from Venezuela, Philippines and Thailand. Street protests can work but not all the time. The State: The Government in power: the political caste is propped up by the military caste. Unless, support is withdrawn the State and its Political Elite will survive.

Even sanctions and condemnations of other countries will be of minimal help - against a State that has opted to wait out the siege and suppress the protestors.

But if it does so with repression then the dragon’s teeth would have been planted and soon if not later the fierce warriors will spring up to do battle. But they will come.

Top Ten 2009: Batch 1

Posted in Blogging & Technology by juned on the June 25th, 2009

I have been delaying writing this list for some time. Even if Janette,in her very sanguine and gentle ways has been encouraging me to put down my list, I took my time and I am still taking my time in writing in completing my list of ten blogs of promise for 2009. Or roughly translated ten blogs that you should read.

The problem with getting the list out is (one) you want to appear non-biased and (two) even if it is your friend or even your own blog (gasp) … one should have a very good reason for it to be on the list.

And what is the purpose of submitting this list ? To win ? Maybe but let us take away the winning factor aside for a moment. In its bare essence its recommendation list that a blogger places before you and says,”Friend, read or visit this blog you might find them interesting and worth your time,”.

So here is my partial and initial list of blogs for 2009 that I would like to recommend to you for reading and try to visit them to judge for yourself. In no particular order or preference they are:

1. Happyfoodies.com

Why?

A food blog by Ironwulf and Lagal[og], which is dedicated to food that they stumbled upon. Ferdz and Ogie are well-known in the Philippine Blogging Community as Photo-Travel Bloggers and this food blog is a visual treat of the foodscape they encounter as they travel from Batanes to Bali and elsewhere.

2. VideoChops

Why?

Videochops is a new blog by Cokskiblue and its Chop of everything video one sees on the Net. More accurately I think slices of moving images one sees and searches for. It offers (1) video series ; (2)free downloadable video clips; (3) Events of happenings and news; (4) Opinion both online video and about online video; (5)Pinoy Viral Videos; (6) And videos both in normal and high def format. So it is blog to view entertaining, informative and video resources.

Actually, I had some hesitation in naming this vlog partly because Coy and I set this up. Anyway, as I said the purpose of this list is also to recommend potentially interesting and good blogs or in this case Vlog … and the fact that you might find this interesting is more important.

3. Marikina Life

Why?

If you are from Marikina City. If you are going to Marikina City. If you will be going to Marikina City. And even if you are not going to Marikina City. This is a blog of interest because it chronicles and reports about what is happening in the City of Marikina from the biggest shoes in the world to the interesting statues you will find in this city.

So those are my first three blogs. Seven more to go. :)

The Ten Thousand Internet Censors of Beijing and the Green Dam Girl

Posted in Politics and Culture by juned on the June 18th, 2009

A news article in the Financial Times reports that the City of Beijing is planning to hire at least 10,000 volunteers by the end of 2009 to monitor the Internet for harmful websites and contents. This was said by an official from the Beijing municipal authority information office.

Beijing to hire army of internet censors
Kathrin Hille in Beijing; Richard Waters in San Francisco; and additional reporting by Kerry Ma
Financial Times

And this comes as China would require all computers that would be sold in China be equipped or bundled with the Green Dam/Youth Escort software starting July 1, 2009. The software was developed, by Jinhui Computer System Engineering and Dazheng Language Technology, for the Ministry of Industry and Information. Both firms were awared 41m Rnmb or $6m for the software - which blocks pornographic and other “bad” internet content.

This is one way of regulating Internet content. Bloggers in China have criticized these moves. And one of those moves is the creation of the Green Dam Girl - a female manga cartoon character wearing police cap with crab insignia, which is a pun on the word harmonious - a round-about way of describing a society without controversy, unrest, or opposition: a euphemism.

Keeping things in harmony.

This reminds me of the different ways different governments wants to keep things in harmony or react to the information, data, knowledge, and opinion not in accordance to the State official line.

Direct Methods:

1. Use of monitors and censors to check Internet content.
2. Alleged use of commentators and even bloggers to neutralize negative content
3. Use of legal measures against known net-critics and anti-government writers and bloggers
4. Banning of websites, blogs, forums, social media network and other forms of websites.
5. Official registration of web users.

Indirect Methods

1. Use of ISP providers to patrol the web content and shut down website hosted on their servers.
2. Use of software to filter/block (and maybe even monitor?) content.

During the Marcos years a white paper about Marcos and his cronies began to circulate. No Internet at the time. The white paper was photocopied and distributed. I wonder if there are copies still around?

A never ending game between the writer, reader and the thought police.