Quo Vadis?

Hhhmm… Where do I begin? It’s been a while since I last sat down and think about the things that has been happening in my life. So let me write these things down, hoping that this would help me think things through (and so that my mother, if she’s still checking my blog, knows what’s up with me).

So I’m wrapping up my 2nd job after college (my first job was as a sectoral political officer for the presidential campaign team of Mar Roxas). I’ve already been offered a job in the office of the secretary of the Department of Budget and Management. I already gave my tentative “yes”, or more accurately, I have yet to decline the offer. Circumstances surrounding my life such as my responsibility to my family and my comfort with the people I’ll be working with in the new office are keeping me from saying “no”. But if I had a choice, I’d want a more action-packed cabinet office. But, as I always say (or think out loud), beggars can’t be choosers. I’ll just go with this one and see where it leads me. Maximizing what I have has always been a strong suit of mine.

Hhhhmm… What else? Well, I’m hanging out with someone recently. Nothing serious, yet. I’m still waiting for October. But I like where this is going. There is a great level of comfort and that’s very important. The trick here, I think, is not to rush into things. I have this tendency of rushing into things, but I guess months of running and rowing taught me that dashing out of the starting line is not the way to go. I need to learn to pace myself, but always looking for quality strokes (or strides, whichever sport metaphor it may be). For the mean time, I’m enjoying this but at the same time, I’m trying to build up to something more in the future (‘coz to not think about the future is to play with emotions, which is like playing with fire). Like in the case above, I maximize each opportunity I get with this one since there are several constraints in place. But we’ll get there. I really hope we do.

Hhhhmm… So I’ve been reading less and less as each month passes by. I have yet to read anything theoretical. The books I’ve been reading are mostly fiction. I’m regressing to my high-school-early-college reading habits. But I’m not complaining. It’s just another form of escape for me. But I am looking forward to matter loading (not for work please!) soon. I need to find the appropriate perspectives by which I’ll scrutinize this new government that is unfolding before my eyes. I’m still trying to be an academician, in my own right. Which leads me to digress – I hope I’d get a chance to get my MA and PhD soon.

So what’s been keeping me sane these days? It’s a good thing I’ve discovered running and rowing. Keeping my body active has kept my mind sharp. Training has helped me focus on the things at hand. It has also taught me a lot of things about myself. So it’s awesome that I get to do physical stuff amidst the life that I have chose to live out.

So, quo vadis? Onwards I say. Fight on!

*note to self: you’ve been listening to THE DRUMS for a good part of the day*

The Seamless Tunic

Yesterday, our parish priest gave a strikingly different reflection on the passion of our Lord. He pointed out a particular verse in John’s gospel.

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus they took his garments and made four parts, one for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was without seam, woven from top to bottom; (John 19:23)

According to Monsi Mel, this speaks about the Church of Christianity. Christ intended that we Christians unite in His name. It’s just unfortunate that we live in separate communities, churches, and denominations.

I believe that we are united in Christ. Our lives bear witness to the same saving power of the Savior who died for us on the cross. Why can’t we be as God intended us to be – one Body?

Of course I know that tradition, history, and facticity have led us to where we are now. Don’t “we all live under the same sun”? Then “‘why can’t we live as one”?

(Pasensya na, may pinaghuhugutan lang)

No Longer a Virgin

I joined Manila Dragons near the end of the month of December last 2009. I was recruited by my friend and colleague Laila (Deles).

I remember my first training run. I was taught the basics of the proper form. After an hour of paddling, I was surprised that I didn’t get too tired. Little did I know that it was a very light training day for the team.  This I found out two days later. My next attempt at paddling was on a training day that had a regular load. After one hour of training, my back got really stiff and painful. Only then did I realize how tough this sport really is!

Since then, I’ve tried my best to train as much as possible. Every time I ride the boat and paddle, I learn something new. I learned to tweak my form. I learned to twist my torso. I learned to dip my shoulder. I learned the commands. I learned to endure pain.

I think, the most important thing I learned is how to be a team player. Rowing (or paddling) is really a team sport. Unlike other sports (e.g. basketball, football, etc), there’s no concept of a star player here. Everybody needs to contribute. Slacking off has an immediate effect on the team – the load that each paddler bears become heavier. Not being able to follow the pacers or even just the person in front of you is also detrimental to the team. Synchronized entry and exit of the oars assure minimal drag and resistance. If I’d describe dragon boar racing, I’d say it’s “synchronized swimming on steroids”.

Today, I joined my first race – the 2nd Manila Ocean Park Dragonboat Regatta. I was part of the Mixed line-up for the team. We were able to reach the semi-finals but we were beaten by top-seed teams (e.g. DLSU [I shall have my revenge soon], PDRT, etc). It was quite a thrilling experience be part of a dragon boat race. It’s not as tiring as our trainings but it’s definitely unnerving. Even though we didn’t win, I’m very happy with my performance. I didn’t stop paddling (amidst having problems holding on to my oar) and I was able to keep up with our pacers.

Unfortunately, our Men’s, Women’s, and Mixed crews only advanced until the semi-finals. We all got eliminated after our heats in the semis. But it’s okay. It was a great experience for us newbies. It was quite encouraging to hear the veterans cheering for us and even giving us affirmations though we got eliminated. So instead of being sad, I got really pumped to train harder so I can be stronger for the team (and so that MD can be DLSU.. hehehe).

My first race is over. Now, I’m no longer a (dragon boat racing) virgin.

Interviews and Reflexivity

Today I got interviewed by a couple of friends of mine for their Social Psychology class. They interviewed me about my work as a political officer. I didn’t divulge any confidential information but I did get to share some of my thought about the work I do.

I like being interviewed because it helps me to think about myself and whatever the subject of the interview is. By articulating my answers to the questions, I am also able to crystallize my views on certain matters – in this afternoon’s case, about the work I do for the Aquino-Roxas campaign. It helps to take a step back and examine the things we do. It’s hard to do this when you’re in the thick of things (that’s why when discerning, some people opt to “retreat”). I didn’t actually go on a retreat. I just went to the new library of Ateneo. But I think it was enough “stepping back” for me. It helped me gain a new appreciation of the things I do in the campaign. Sometimes, when people don’t get to appreciate you, it’s best to get that appreciation from yourself.

—-

I think I’d like to teach PolSci 100 in Ateneo. I’ll review my old reading when I have the time and write papers for each / some of them and post them here.

Mr. Brightside

I got this song in continuous loop in my music player. The song’s been in my head since this afternoon while I was on my way to SM North EDSA (to watch the amazing “Ako si Ninoy” musical).

Am I a Mr. Brightside? Maybe. Pareho kami ni Mr. Brightside na mapangahas eh.

Finally Migrated to WordPress

After six years using the Blogspot engine, I’ve finally migrated to the more superior WordPress engine. Thank you Ate Sienna for fixing the problem. Now I can blog again!

Next steps:

  1. Find a nice WordPress template (or ask Ate Sienna to design me one.. hehehe).
  2. Go through my archives and edit posts to fit the new template (and to correct grammatical and formatting errors).
  3. Set up post categories.
  4. Blog once a day. It’s nice to finally blog again especially in a time when it’s more fashionable to just update statuses and to tweet than to actually write blog entries.

Jogging vs Ghosts

I’m afraid of ghosts. I’m afraid of the dark. I’m afraid of being left alone in the dark. I’m afraid of scary places. But I think I found a way for me to conquer my fear of dark and scary places – jogging. During the weekdays, I’d jog along Balete drive which is known for its white lady. During the weekends, if I get to go home to Paranaque, I’d jog around Manila Memorial Park at night. A cemetery at night isn’t exactly the most coward-friendly place out there, especially when there are spots that have no lighting whatsoever.

I therefore conclude that physical exertion, sweat, and endorphins trump irrational fear of the unknown.

Partners and Cereal Box Prizes

Last night, my housemate and friend Aldo reminded me about this beautiful essay about relationships. I’ve read “Partners and Marriage” a few years back in college, I just don’t remember when. I read it because someone shared it via Multiply and because it’s credited (wrongfully) to an Ateneo professor, Sir Eddieboy Calasanz (who eventually became my professor and good friend). Actually, the essay was written by Kent Nerburn. It’s part of his book, “Letters to My Son” (available via Gigapedia).

The beauty of the essay lies in how its simplicity delivers a message that is both true and timely. It’s pretty difficult to disagree with what Nerburn says about the realities of relationships. It’s a good read for anyone who is looking for a partner, currently in a relationship, or just ended one. It’s for everyone, because we all deserve to live a happy life full of love.

PARTNERS AND MARRIAGE

I have never met a man who didn’t want to be loved. But I have seldom met a man who didn’t fear marriage.Something about the closure seems constricting, not enabling. Marriage seems easier to understand for what it cuts out of our lives than for what it makes possible within our lives.

When I was younger this fear immobilized me. I did not want to make a mistake. I saw my friends get married for reasons of social acceptability, or sexual fever, or just because they thought it was the logical thing to do. Then I watched, as they and their partners became embittered and petty in their dealings with each other. I looked at older couples and saw, at best, mutual toleration of each other. I imagined a lifetime of loveless nights and bickering days and could not imagine subjecting myself or someone else to such a fate.

And yet, on rare occasions, I would see old couples who somehow seemed to glow in each other’s presence. They seemed really in love, not just dependent upon each other and tolerant of each other’s foibles.

It was an astounding sight, and it seemed impossible. How, I asked myself, can they have survived so many years of sameness, so much irritation at the others habits? What keeps love alive in them, when most of us seem unable to even stay together, much less love each other?

The central secret seems to be in choosing well. There is something to the claim of fundamental compatibility. Good people can create a bad relationship, even though they both dearly want the relationship to succeed.

It is important to find someone with whom you can create a good relationship from the outset. Unfortunately, it is hard to see clearly in the early stages.

Sexual hunger draws you to each other and colors the way you see yourselves together. It blinds you to the thousands of little things by which relationships eventually survive or fail. You need to find a way to see beyond this initial overwhelming sexual fascination. Some people choose to involve themselves sexually and ride out the most heated period of sexual attraction in order to see what is on the other side. This can work, but it can also leave a trail of wounded hearts. Others deny the sexual side altogether in an attempt to get to know each other apart from their sexuality. But they cannot see clearly, because the presence of unfulfilled sexual desire looms so large that it keeps them from having any normal perception of what life would be like together.

The truly lucky people are the ones who manage to become long-time friends before they realize they are attracted to each other. They get to know each other’s laughs, passions, sadness, and fears. They see each other at their worst and at their best. They share time together before they get swept up into the entangling intimacy of their sexuality. This is the ideal, but not often possible. If you fall under the spell of your sexual attraction immediately, you need to look beyond it for other keys to compatibility.

One of these is laughter. Laughter tells you how much you will enjoy each others company over the long term. If your laughter together is good and healthy, and not at the expense of others, then you have a healthy relationship to the world. Laughter is the child of surprise. If you can make each other laugh, you can always surprise each other. And if you can always surprise each other, you can always keep the world around you new.

Beware of a relationship in which there is no laughter. Even the most intimate relationships based only on seriousness have a tendency to turn sour. Over time, sharing a common serious viewpoint on the world tends to turn you against those who do not share the same viewpoint, and your relationship can become based on being critical together.

After laughter, look for a partner who deals with the world in a way you respect. When two people first get together, they tend to see their relationship as existing only in the space between the two of them. They find each other endlessly fascinating, and the overwhelming power of the emotions they are sharing obscures the outside world. As the relationship ages and grows, the outside world becomes important again.

If your partner treats people or circumstances in a way you can’t accept, you will inevitably come to grief.

Look at the way he/she cares for others and deals with the daily affairs of life. If that makes you love her more, your love will grow. If it does not, be careful. If you do not respect the way you each deal with the world around you, eventually the two of you will not respect each other.

Look also at how your partner confronts the mysteries of life. We live on the cusp of poetry and practicality, and the real life of the heart resides in the poetic. If one of you is deeply affected by the mystery of the unseen in life and relationships, while the other is drawn only to the literal and the practical, you must take care that the distance does not become an unbridgeable gap that leaves you each feeling isolated and misunderstood.

There are many other keys, but you must find them by yourself. We all have unchangeable parts of our hearts that we will not betray and private commitments to a vision of life that we will not deny. If you fall in love with someone who cannot nourish those inviolable parts of you, or if you cannot nourish them in her, you will find yourselves growing further apart until you live in separate worlds where you share the business of life, but never touch each other where the heart lives and dreams. From there it is only a small leap to the cataloging of petty hurts and daily failures that leaves so many couples bitter and unsatisfied with their mates.

So choose carefully and well. If you do, you will have chosen a partner with whom you can grow, and then the real miracle of marriage can take place in your hearts. I pick my words carefully when I speak of a miracle. But I think it is not too strong a word.

There is a miracle in marriage. It is called transformation. Transformation is one of the most common events of nature. The seed becomes the flower. The cocoon becomes the butterfly. Winter becomes spring and love becomes a child. We never question these, because we see them around us every day. To us they are not miracles, though if we did not know them they would be impossible to believe.

Marriage is a transformation we choose to make. Our love is planted like a seed, and in time it begins to flower. We cannot know the flower that will blossom, but we can be sure that a bloom will come. If you have chosen carefully and wisely, the bloom will be good. If you have chosen poorly or for the wrong reason, the bloom will be flawed.

We are quite willing to accept the reality of negative transformation in a marriage. It was negative transformation that always had me terrified of the bitter marriages that I feared when I was younger. It never occurred to me to question the dark miracle that
transformed love into harshness and bitterness. Yet I was unable to accept the possibility that the first heat of love could be transformed into something positive that was actually deeper and more meaningful than the heat of fresh passion. All I could believe in was the power of this passion and the fear that when it cooled I would be left with something lesser and bitter.

But there is positive transformation as well. Like negative transformation, it results from a slow accretion of little things. But instead of death by a thousand blows, it is growth by a thousand touches of love. Two histories intermingle. Two separate beings, two separate presences, two separate consciousness come together and share a view of life that passes before them. They remain separate, but they also become one. There is an expansion of awareness, not a closure and a constriction, as I had once feared. This is not to say that there is not tension and there are not traps. Tension and traps are part of every choice of life, from celibate to monogamous to having multiple lovers. Each choice contains within it the lingering doubt that the road not taken somehow more fruitful and exciting, and each becomes dulled to the richness that it alone contains.

But only marriage allows life to deepen and expand and be leavened by the knowledge that two have chosen, against all odds, to become one. Those who live together without marriage can know the pleasure of shared company, but there is a specific gravity in the marriage commitment that deepens that experience into something richer and more complex.

So do not fear marriage, just as you should not rush into it for the wrong reasons. It is an act of faith and it contains within it the power of transformation. If you believe in your heart that you have found someone with whom you are able to grow, if you have sufficient faith that you can resist the endless attraction of the road not taken and the partner not chosen, if you have the strength of heart to embrace the cycles and seasons that your love will experience, then you may be ready to seek the miracle that marriage offers. If not, then wait. The easy grace of a marriage well made is worth your patience. When the time comes, a thousand flowers will bloom…endlessly.

(“Letters to My Son”, pp.161-166)

—-

From Psych (Shawn Spencer to Jules O’Hara):

You know how when we were kids, there were all these cool prizes at the bottom of cereal boxes… Well there are two kinds of kids, there’s the kid who flips the box over and open it from the bottom and grab the prize right away. And then there was the kid who waited patiently, and ate bowl after bowl after bowl of cereal until the prize just tumble out on its own… I didn’t wait. I didn’t for my Dakota ring or my Frankenberry action figure when I was a kid. So what am I waiting for now?

Workhorse

I spent the whole day under the heat of the sun giving out flyers and yellow ribbons. I joined members of PiNOYouth in their rounds through Aurora, Katipunan, and Philcoa. We visited several schools and student-populated areas to distribute the handbills and to recruit volunteers.

Together with a handful of dedicated volunteers, we endured the scorching heat of the sun (and the dryness of El Nino) in order to campaign for change.

Honestly, I enjoy giving handbills to passers-by. I like smiling and speaking in a mildly excited tone amidst the rising temperature. Sometimes, I think that I’m more suited to work that doesn’t entail much decision making. By experience, I actually perform better doing menial tasks. I like pushing myself harder and longer when doing things that don’t require a lot of thinking. At the same time, I also consider myself as a problem solver. Where I lack in gusto in planning and creativity, I make up for resourcefulness and grace under pressure.

Hhhhmmmm… Maybe I am more cut out to be a workhorse than a leader.

A Spiritual Second Wind

This morning I serendipitously found myself in Katipunan when I realized that it’s Ash Wednesday. It was already 8:00am and the morning masses in the nearby churches (Pentecost and Dela Strada) were already finished so I decided to text the ADSA helpline to ask for the schedule of the mass in the Loyola Schools. That was how I found out about the 8:30am Ash Wednesday service in the Church of the Gesu.

Before the mass I was able to receive the sacrament of reconciliation.

I thank God for the gift of forgiveness. It has eased personal burdens that I’ve been carrying for quite a while. Thank you Father confessor for reminding me that I am anointed “to bring good news to the poor.. proclaim freedom for the prisoners.. recovery of sight for the blind.. and release to the oppressed” (Luke 4:18). Thank you for reminding me that I live for God and for others, not for myself.

Fr. Bob Buenconsejo’s prayer before the beginning of the Eucharist ended beautifully by referring to the Lenten season as a source of a “second wind in our journey towards being with God”. Recently, I tried jogging/running so I appreciate the metaphor. Getting a second wind happens when an athlete (or in my case, a runner), who is too out of breath and exhausted, finds a sudden burst of energy to push onwards.

The Lenten season, for the faithful, is a time to go back to the Father. It provides us an opportunity to acknowledge our imperfections and allow ourselves to be renewed through God’s love. Lent reminds us that God’s love is unconditional, His forgiveness knows no bounds. Through the grace of forgiveness we are once again made worthy to be called His. Thus, Lent affirms our faithful answer to the question – “Whose are we?”.

By accepting God’s forgiveness, we are renewed. By emptying our hearts from the bitterness of sin, we are filled with grace. By leaving the confines of selfishness, we are once again accepted into the fold of the Father. This is what gives us that spiritual second wind – a renewed spirit amidst the tiring brokenness of our earthly existence.

TY God

I thank God for the warm morning rays of the sun. I also thank God for stronger lungs. I just wish He’d also give me more resilient legs – hehehehe.

I wonder how God will surprise me today. Hhhhmmmmm… A bit of rain perhaps?

Because I want this to be a great day…

Making Up for Lost Time

Since the start of the new year, I’ve been trying my best to correct most of my relationships – with my parents, with my old friends, with myself, and with God. This attempt to rectify my relationship with them does not necessarily mean that I have failed in all of them – that I’ve been a prodigal son, a treacherous friend, a masochist, and a downright evil person. But of course, nobody’s perfect. We all have imperfections that affect our relationship with others (and with self and with God). This may come in different forms like personal limitations and external factors like work.

I admit to not showing my parents and my old friends that I care for them. Let’s just say I have taken most of them for granted. Recent events in my life (e.g. being single) made me realize that the people who’ve been in my life for so long have little idea of who I am and how I’ve grown all these years. I get to meet new people everyday. In turn, they get to see the side of me that my parents and my old friends have yet to see, and this is the part of me (political, out-going, conscientious, passionate) that I’m most proud of. For my parents, I may be their eldest son who just keeps to himself and seldom comes home. For my old friends, I’m just a frequent absentee during gimiks, outings, and overnights.

For the better part of my years in college, I’ve tried to explore a world outside the relationship that I have formed up to high school. Well, I’ve never really been the best son, ever, but things took a downturn during college. Staying in a dormitory and busying myself with academics and extra-curricular activities have kept me from seeing my parents in a regular basis. College life offered a plethora of options to discover myself. I guess I got too excited during my first years out of high school. Meeting new people and getting into more orgs than I can sink my teeth on cost me time for my old friends.

Fast forward to 2010, I made a promise to myself that I’ll make up for lost time. Now, my mom is the number one girl in my life. My dad and my brother are my accomplices when mommy talks about things that we need to move on from.

I’m also trying to reconnect with my old friends. Though work has kept me from joining a couple of night-outs this year, I vow to be in one of our gimmicks at least once a month.

So how about making peace with myself and with my God – that’ll be for another post.

—-

Could this be the start of something beautiful?

More on the Digital Youth

A mentor of mine is currently looking at the current youth “generation’s” fixation on connectedness in cyberspace. He problematizes the fact that for some of us, it’s hard to find the off button to this cyber-addiction. A few months ago (I think), a friend of mine shared this article via Twitter. It features how this constant desire to be connected is slowly destroying our idea of solitude.

The End of Alone
By Neil Swidey | February 8, 2009 | [via Boston Blobe]

Don’t get me wrong. I love technology. It’s magical how it makes the world closer, and more immediate. Take, for instance, the real-time way we learned about the plane that skidded off a Denver runway and burst into flames in December. One of the passengers on Continental Flight 1404 used Twitter to share everything from his initial profanity- and typo-laced reaction to making it out of the fiery jet (“Holy [bleeping bleep] I wasbjust in a plane crash!”) to his lament that the airline wasn’t providing drinks to the survivors who’d been penned into the airport lounge (“You have your wits scared out of you, drag your butt out of a flaming ball of wreckage and you can’t even get a vodka-tonic.”)

Technology also makes life infinitely more manageable. It’s what allows me to begin writing this essay from a packed coffee shop on a snowy winter afternoon while still being connected with my editors and finish writing it from my kitchen in the middle of the night, when all the interruptions of the day have faded away (unless I want to check Facebook to see how many of my friends are also nuts enough to be staring at a computer screen at 3 a.m.). And technology simply makes things more fun, like the way my wife will hold her iPhone up to a restaurant ceiling speaker and instantly be told that the vaguely familiar tune of funky ’70s cheese she hears is “Sky High,” by the one-hit-wonder band Jigsaw, rather than letting that little mystery make her cerebrum ache for the rest of the day.

So please don’t confuse what I have to say for that tired Luddite screed about how technology is ruining us. It isn’t.

Except it just might.

Because of technology, we never have to be alone anymore. And that’s the problem.

I’M SITTING IN A PEW near the back of St. Anne’s Church in Fall River, a soaring structure of Vermont blue marble that could rival a lesser European cathedral. It was built in the late 1800s, when the southeastern Massachusetts mill city’s French Canadian community was big enough to warrant a church able to seat 2,000. On this blustery afternoon, the crowd is more like a tenth of that. The priest is talking, but the lousy PA system makes it hard to hear what he’s saying. So I’m doing what I’ve done before in this situation: trying to keep my young daughters occupied by whispering for them to study their surroundings — the exquisitely carved red-oak woodwork near the high ceiling, the enormous pipe organ in the rear balcony, the colorful stained-glass windows on every wall. With its combination of architectural grandeur and crumbling-plaster fatigue, the place is like Venice in the unforgiving light of morning, rather than the soft-lit romanticism of night. It’s honest and beautiful.

Then I hear an odd chirping. My eyes follow my ears to a pew to my left and behind me, where a guy with slicked black hair and dark glasses is sitting. He’s chewing gum and wearing one of those Bluetooth cellphone attachments in his ear.

Hey, man, I’m bored, too. But, c’mon, take that infernal thing out of your ear. Say a prayer. Collect your thoughts. Or just do what my 4-year-old is doing and stare at the ceiling.

Did I mention it was Christmas Day Mass?

Not long ago, I was sitting in the “quiet study” section of my local public library when a middle-aged woman wearing an annoyed expression plopped down in the green upholstered chair next to my table, her teenage daughter in tow. She flipped open her cellphone and dialed her daughter’s therapist. After giving the therapist’s secretary her full name and slowly spelling her daughter’s — loud enough for every soul in that wing of the library to hear — she said, “We have an appointment for next week, but I want to know if he has any availability before that. She is really not doing well.”

I looked up from my laptop, incredulous that a mother could be so blase about violating her daughter’s privacy, not to mention library decorum — and convinced that the therapist and the daughter must have no time to discuss anything besides mother issues.

Now, I know what you’re going to say. There have always been boors blabbing in places where they should be quiet, blithely ignoring the shushes from librarians or the stares from fellow elevator passengers while behaving as though they’re the only ones whose problems matter. Bad manners are bad manners, irrespective of technology, right?

Yes, only technology has vastly expanded this bad behavior, eroding much of society’s stigma against it, and making it everybody’s problem. But here’s the real point: It is dulling our very capacity to ever be alone, or alone in our thoughts. The late British pediatrician and psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott popularized the phrase “the capacity to be alone” in the 1950s, to describe a pivotal stage of emotional development. Winnicott argued that an adult’s capacity to be alone had its roots in his experience as a baby, learning to function independently while still in the presence of his mother. Yet today we’re seeing this capacity weakened, whether we’re in public places known for contemplation, like churches and libraries, or whether we’re just sitting by ourselves at home, losing the fight to resist answering our BlackBerries (just ask our new president) or checking our laptops for Facebook updates.

“We’ve gone from an American ethic that championed the lone guy on a horseback to an ethic of managing multiple data streams,” says Dalton Conley, a sociology professor at New York University and author of the new book Elsewhere, U.S.A.: How We Got From the Company Man, Family Dinners, and the Affluent Society to the Home Office, BlackBerry Moms, and Economic Anxiety. “It’s very hard for people to unplug and be alone — and be with the one data stream of their mind.”

What’s fueling this? Conley says it’s anxiety borne out of a deep-seated fear that we’re being left out of something, somewhere, and that we may lose out on advancement in our work, social, or family lives if we truly check out. “The anxiety of being alone drives this behavior to constantly respond and Twitter and text, but the very act of doing it creates the anxiety.”

This is particularly true among young people, mainly because they don’t know life when it wasn’t like this.

I HAD A GREAT TIME in college and was fortunate to make lots of close, lasting friendships. But if I want to be honest with myself, I can remember plenty of times when I felt uncomfortable. And many of the earlier ones involved eating alone in the dining hall. I didn’t eat by myself often, and when I did, it was usually a simple matter of conflicting schedules with my friends. But my unease sprang from my inability to convey that to the strangers around me. Honest, I’m not a loner. I had to learn to deal with the discomfort. Sometimes, it would force me to strike up conversations with strangers or be receptive when they engaged me. Other times, I would just sit alone and read or think. The discomfort never went away entirely, but it sure receded with practice.

If I were in college nowadays, I doubt that would happen. I would be filling my alone time texting any friend I could think of.

Whenever I’m on a college campus these days, almost all the students I see sitting by themselves are furiously thumbing their iPhones or BlackBerries. For all I know, th
ey could simply be playing Sudoku. Yet the message they’re sending is unmistakable. I am not alone.

Sure, texting a friend can make you feel less awkward. But, in the long run, so can learning to step outside of your shell, or becoming at peace within it.

This change in campus life isn’t restricted to dining halls. The quads are teeming with ear-budded students texting and talking on cellphones rather than sitting with an open book or talking to the person next to them. In important ways, they’re not fully there.

To see how these technological patterns are changing the college experience, University of Toronto researcher Rhonda McEwen tracked the communication behavior of students across their freshmen year. She found them delaying the full plunge of forming new friend networks and breaking away from their old ones. In their first semester, the freshmen generally hold on tightly to their high school friends, talking with and texting them frequently and keeping up with them on Facebook. As the year moves on, they generally shift their high school friends to Facebook and instant messaging while focusing more of their texting and phone calls on their new college pals. In the summer, they shift back, with high school friends returning to the top of the communication hierarchy.

There are things to be happy about in these patterns. The lifeline of old friends can help staunch the feelings of loneliness that are as common to the freshman experience as rapid weight gain.

But those old contacts can also turn into a crutch that prevents students from truly engaging with the new world around them or learning to be alone in their own mind. One of the freshmen McEwen interviewed confessed that every day she spent her lunchtime sitting on the steps outside a campus building, calling or texting her sister. That was less painful for her than sitting alone. Yet like the helicopter parents who hover over their children at the playground in the hopes of shielding them from bumps and bruises, we can delay the hurt only so long. As the Talmud tells us, sometimes a little bit of pain can be a blessing.

“Loneliness is ubiquitous,” says Amherst College political science professor Thomas Dumm, whose new book, Loneliness As a Way of Life, grew out of his experience of losing, in short order, his wife and mother to death and his daughter to college. “But people are less equipped to deal with it. Rather than going deeper, they try to push it aside.”

How will this all play out in years to come? Leysia Palen, a University of Colorado computer scientist, worries that “how to be alone in a public space is a skill that is going to disappear.” And that hole could become glaring when people’s life circumstances change. “As friends die, do you find yourselves in a different reality than before? I don’t have any problem being alone, but it’s something I learned — through living it.”

More than anything, McEwen found in her University of Toronto study that college students are constantly connected to the point of having no concept of a truly unplugged life. There’s a time-honored tradition in Canada of “going to the cottage,” usually in the summertime, and being blissfully disconnected from the rest of the world. “The participants in my study had real discomfort going to the cottage,” McEwen says. “If there’s no cellphone reception, no Internet access, they think, ‘What the hell am I doing out there?’ “

It’s hard to imagine a Henry David Thoreau emerging from this millennial generation, someone motivated to log two years and two months alone in the woods around Walden and wax about how he “never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.” He’d have no time to observe the bullfrogs or water his bean plants. He’d be too busy searching for a Wi-Fi signal.

DESCARTES, NEWTON, LOCKE, Spinoza, Kant, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard — they share the distinction of having been some of the greatest thinkers the world has known. They also share this: None of them ever married or had their own families, and most of them spent the bulk of their lives living alone. In his provocative 1989 book Solitude: A Return to the Self, British writer and psychiatrist Anthony Storr made a persuasive case for the value of deep, uninterrupted alone time. He found it in ample supply in the lives of not just philosophers and physicists, but also some of the greatest poets, novelists, painters, and composers.

Maybe this concept of the lone genius is somewhat exaggerated. While Newton was celibate, many of these other thinkers had transient affairs and interacted to varying degrees with the world around them. Even Thoreau would leave his cabin every once in a while and stroll into downtown Concord to visit with friends. But the point is, they were all able to remove themselves from the bustle of daily life for long stretches, in order to contemplate and create. We’re all the richer for their having done that. Now, ask yourself, when was the last time you were truly alone and unplugged for a long spell? How many of you can even say you’ve gotten this far in this essay without having once stopped to answer a call, reply to a text, or check your in-box? I must confess that I haven’t. (Another confession: To ensure that I finish writing this, I’ve now moved myself to an undisclosed remote location where I’m sitting in a small windowless room with some sort of orange carpeting material on the walls — no lie — and where no Wi-Fi is available. Something tells me Descartes never had to go to these lengths for quiet time.)

It’s important to distinguish between being alone and being lonely. In the new book Loneliness, University of Chicago psychologist John Cacioppo and his Massachusetts coauthor William Patrick argue the pangs of loneliness that we sometimes experience are the evolutionary equivalent of the shooting pain we feel after touching a hot stove. These pangs are ingrained reminders of how bad social disconnection is for our well-being. Cacioppo uses everything from brain imaging to blood-pressure analysis to demonstrate the serious drag on our health that loneliness can have.

At first pass, this line of thought would seem to contradict the argument Storr made in Solitude and pretty much everything I’ve written to this point. Yet that’s not the case at all. It turns out that research shows people who feel lonely are no more likely to be physically alone. Cacioppo acknowledges that solitude can be very healthy, and he compares loneliness to a sort of thermostat, a state of mind that kicks in at different points for different people.

While we humans need social interaction, he’s in agreement that we won’t find it through Twittering and texting. Cacioppo points to research showing that electronic communication can increase social isolation and depression “when it replaces more tangible forms of human contact.” Another team of psychologists termed this form of communication “social snacking.” But, as he writes, a snack is not a meal.

So why do we feel so compelled to swap messages with people who aren’t next to us and rack up hundreds of friends to keep electronic tabs on?

Dalton Conley, the NYU professor, says it’s worth looking back several decades, to two groundbreaking social-science studies. (Both, as it turns out, are tied to the Boston area — who knew we cold New Englanders could be so social?) The first is the 1967 experiment that indirectly made us all aware of the disturbing pervasiveness of Kevin Bacon in our lives. Psychologist Stanley Milgram gave a letter to a bunch of people in Omaha, Nebraska, and instructed them to hand-deliver it to someone they knew. The unstated goal was to get a copy to a stockbroker in Sharon, Massachusetts. The experiment laid the groundwork for the popular notion of “six degrees of separation.” (Conley says newer research suggests the number is actually closer to eight.) The second study, based on interviews with Boston professionals that psychologist Mark Granovetter conducted in 1972, suggests that your closest friends are less valuable to you in finding
new jobs or new mates than the friends of friends whom you don’t know that well. The idea is that you’re probably already aware of the same job openings or single people that your close friends know about. But those tangential acquaintances hold the key to new and potentially valuable information. Granovetter’s paper, called “The Strength of Weak Ties,” could have been used as the business plan for LinkedIn, the fast-growing site for professionals that is like Facebook except stripped of all mildly interesting content and about as much fun as a Chamber of Commerce networking night.

Here’s the irony: The explosion of all this electronic networking and friending may ultimately rob weak ties of most of their strength. If we’re all linked up with hundreds if not thousands of people, there is no longer much value to the information they possess. It’s no longer exclusive. A stock tip whispered in your ear by someone in the know can make you a mint (if it doesn’t land you in jail). But what good is a stock tip broadcast on CNBC?

SCHEHERAZADE QUIROGA has a heavy name but a buoyant personality. In August, the 28-year-old left her parents’ home in Caracas, Venezuela, where she has lived her whole life, and moved here to begin a master’s program in television management at Boston University. The first time she left her family was 10 years ago, when she and her sister took a guided tour of Europe. As soon as they arrived in Madrid, the first stop on the tour, she found a pay phone and called her mother in tears. “Mama, Mama!” she cried, “I miss you so much!” This past November, when she returned to Venezuela to vote and saw her family for the first time since moving to Boston, her mother came running over, saying, “I need to hug you!” Quiroga thought to herself, “It’s no big deal.”

Sure, she’s a decade older than that girl crying from the pay phone in Madrid. But the real difference is that, although she’s living abroad now, she hasn’t really had to leave her family. Every night at 9 o’clock, she logs on to the Internet video chat service Skype and catches up with her mother, usually for two or three hours at a stretch. “I don’t feel the distance as much,” she says.

What’s wrong with this? On one level, nothing at all. Quiroga is sociable, happy, and well adjusted. She’s managed to form close friendships with other students in her program while still keeping strong ties with her family.

But if international travel and study were once surefire ways for people to learn deep truths about themselves as they experienced new cultures, that’s probably not the case anymore. Contrast Quiroga’s Boston experience with the backpacking tour Dalton Conley took alone across Bolivia and Peru in the early ’90s. Once, after making vague plans to meet up with a friend in La Paz, he took a hellish bus ride clear across the country, suffering altitude sickness along the way, only to arrive at the station in the Bolivian capital and find out that his friend had just left. He spent much of his time in South America feeling lost, miserably alone, and utterly disconnected from his normal life. “But I look back at it as one of the greatest experiences of my life,” he says. “It helped in forming a sense of who I am.”

I ask Quiroga when she feels truly unplugged and off the grid. (I’ve learned to be specific with this question. Another college student I posed it to said her definition of being unplugged was keeping her cellphone on vibrate.)

She pauses. Her green eyes widen. Then she smiles. “Hmm. I think only when I’m on the T and we go into the tunnel. As soon as the Green Line train hits Kenmore and goes underground, I think, ‘Well, that’s it. No one can reach me now.’ ” She smiles again. “Isn’t that sad?”

Neil Swidey is a staff writer for the Globe Magazine. E-mail him at swidey@globe.com.

The Internet and Generation Formation

Ever since I shared my undergraduate thesis to Mark (Ruiz), I started to work on re-writing it and re-reading my source literature. I promised Mark that I’ll blog about the sociology of generations, albeit a simpler version, but this post is not about that one (I’ll find time to write it someday).

I would just want to share something I found in the internet. It’s a part of a speech by June Edmunds in 2007 on his contemporary re-appropriation of Karl Mannheim’s sociology of generations. Below is a short excerpt where he discusses the relationship of new media and the formation of an active generation.

Bryan [Turner] and I suggested that 9/11 could bring about the formation of a second global generation similar to the 1960s – a generation which both shares its information and ideas across borders and acts with global impact. Two factors seem especially important in the construction of global generations. First, the growth of electronic forms of global communication technology. Whereas print media and the radio shaped international and transnational generations, electronic technology has led to the globalization of trauma because new media mean that events can be experienced simultaneously across the globe, transcending time and space in unprecedented way. Second, the increase in mobility, tourism, education, global labour markets and so on.

However, I’ve started to rethink this issue and to question whether these new electronic communications technologies have the ability to generate a global generational consciousness. What they do is that they provide a very instantaneous vision of things; but these media images are transitory- we move on from them very quickly on to the next ‘trauma’ . And it is this very immediacy and transitory nature of mediated experience of trauma which is what inhibits the creation of a genuinely active global generation. So I’m starting to change my mind about the earlier argument we made. There is a very instant nature of global communication which means that these events do not have a long-lasting event and do not create a global political generation anything equivalent to the 1960s generation.

[via Media Research]

I remember in one of the TindigNation meetings, Noli Benavent (creator of the STOP CON-ASS NOW! cause in Facebook) was having an intense discussion with other members of TindigNation about the merits of cyberactivism. Some of the leaders (members of a more senior, actualized generation) are pointing to the fact that cyberactivism can only go so far and that it needs to lead towards street activism.

Well, we can look at it in several angles – division of labor, developmental stages of activism, diversification of means of dissent, and the argument that the internet can never replace actual street protest. Nonetheless, Edmund’s point on the relationship of this new media and the formation of a “generation for itself” merits much consideration.

Small is Beautiful

Man is small, and, therefore, small is beautiful.

When will everything be enough?

In anticipation of the movie “Up”, see other real-life “nail houses” here.

I’m off to Roxas City in Capiz tomorrow. It will be my second time there. Please pray for our safety.

My flight is in the morning but I still can’t sleep. Maybe I’ll go find some e-books of/on Niklas Luhmann. Sir Leland got me interested. But he’s German so his works will definitely be top-tier esoteric.

I’m looking forward to graduate school.

Another Peasant Leader Murdered

Peasant leader shot dead in Dumaguete
MARK JOSEPH UBALDE, [via GMANews.TV]
06/10/2009 | 07:42 PM

MANILA, Philippines – A militant leader was shot dead on Wednesday in Central Philippines after attending a rally against the constituent assembly being pushed by the House of Representatives.

Fermin Lorico, chairman of the KAUGMAON-Kilusan ng Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), was shot thrice at the back of the head near his office at San Jose Extension street in Dumaguete City at around 4:00 p.m.

The group immediately accused the military for the killing.

“No one else would do this than the 79th Infantry Batallion of the military,” KAUGMAON spokesperson Juliet Ragay told GMANews.TV in a phone interview.

Ragay said Lorico had been a vocal supporter of farmers’ rights in the province and had accused the military of committing abuses against peasants.

“[Lorico] was a good man. He even served in the church,” Ragay said.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has repeatedly denied involvement in the killings of peasant leaders, dismissing it as part of leftist propaganda aimed at tarnishing the military’s image.

“These accusations of human rights violations, disappearances… nothing has been proved. It’s all propaganda,” said Brig. Gen. Gaudencio Pangilinan, AFP-Civil Relations Services chief.

In a separate interview, PO3 Dante Maribao of the Dumaguete police said that investigators are now conducting an autopsy on the victim. He refused to give other details in the shooting.

Lorico had led his group in fighting for genuine land reform and lamented that lawmakers failed to give a solution to the age-old problem. – GMANews.TV

Grabe na! Maniniwala pa ba ako na walang kinalaman ang mga sunud-sunod na pagkamatay ng mga pinuno ng iba’t ibang pangkat ng mga pesante? Grabe nang karahasan ito!

Above is the only picture I was able to take during the anti-conasswang rally yesterday afternoon in Ayala Ave. It was nice to see familiar faces in the rally. It was my first time to be in a rally with the Liberal Party and to be actually in the crowd (for the most part of the February 2008 rally during the height of the NBN-ZTE issue, I was at the backstage because I hosted a segment of the rally). I hope I can find better pictures later.

Gloria at Cha-cha… Ibasura!

Who was able to attend the TINDIGNATION concert rally in Gate 2.5 ADMU? How was it? I hope it was successful. Sorry I wasn’t able to go. Bawi na lang next time.

RIP Ka Rene Penas

At 5:39AM today, I received a devastating text message from Ate Jane of KAISAHAN:

Ka Rene Penas, farmer leader and paralegal from Sumilao, was ambushed at around 11pm last night, 5June. He was on his way home when he was shot. We are condemning this brutal death of a leader who lived a life fighting for agrarian reform and social justice: for their land in Sumilao, for other land cases, and for CARPER. Pls pray for his loved ones and for justice to be served.

Grabe! Sumosobra na sila! P*t*ng*na naman! Paano na ang asawa’t mga anak ni Ka Rene? Kung akala nila manghihina ang loob ng mga magsasakang humahanap ng katarungan dahil sa pagkamatay ng isa sa kanilang mga pinuno, nagkakamali sila! Lalo lang nilang ginalit ang mga magsasakang matagal nang nagtitiis sa hirap!

Ka Rene, kung nasaan ka man, nawa ay maging masaya ka. Itutuloy po namin ang laban na inyong sinimulan noong ikaw ay nabubuhay pa.

Nawa ang kapayapaan ng Panginoon ay sumaiyo.

According to Ate Jane, the body of Ka Rene is still in the very spot where he was shot down last night in Sumilao, Bukidnon. The SOCO (Scene of the Crime Operative) has yet to remove his body.

Thanks for the Laughs

Conan O’Brien is back on air as the new host of The Tonight Show.

Watching Coco Christopher O’Brien (as declared by Tom Hanks in the June 2 episode) at night makes the stress go away for a bit.

Thank you.

Con-Asswang

Roxas: ‘Con-asswang;’ form of witchcraft
[via Inquirer.net]

MANILA, Philippines—In an impassioned privilege speech in Filipino, Sen. Manuel Roxas II denounced the passage of House Resolution No. 1109 and described the viva voce voting as a form of witchcraft.

HR 1109 calls for the convening of a constituent assembly (Con-ass) with the House and the Senate voting jointly on amendments to the 1987 Constitution.

The opposition claims the passage of HR 1109 in the House of Representatives could pave the way for Charter change and serve as a “prelude to an Arroyo dictatorship.”

“I call it kaaswangan. I challenge the President to either stand by [HR 1109] or reject it. Where does she stand in this most important, most crucial issue?” said Roxas, a presidential aspirant.

In Filipino folklore, an “aswang” is a vampire-like creature that is said to prey on small children and even the dead. By the senator’s own admission, the myth of aswang was popular in his hometown in Capiz province.

Roxas brought leis of garlic, which he said was the best defense against aswang, to the session hall.

He said he had decided to wear a garlic necklace “to ward off the aswang called constituent assembly or Con-asswang.”

He added that the President should order her allies in the House to stop this “stupidity.”

From Brian Ong:

Read the list of congressmen here who signed House Resolution No. 1109.

based on this document. http://www.scribd.com/doc/14523445/House-Resolution-No-1109

Those who voted “Aye” may not have signed this HR 1109. Feel free to copy and paste this list to your blog post or Facebook notes and state

“”I am ashamed of my Congressman (enter name if applicable) for supporting HR1109.”

NAME DISTRICT/ AREA

ABANTE, BIENVENIDO M. “BENNY” 6TH District Pandacan

ABLAN, ROQUE R. JR \Ilocos Norte, 1st District

AGBAYANI, VICTOR AGUEDO E. Pangasinan, 2nd District

AGYAO, MANUEL, S Kalinga Province

ALBANO (III), RODOLFO T. Isabela, 1st District

ALFELOR, FELIX R. JR. 4th District, Camarines Sur

ALMARIO, THELMA Z. Davao Oriental, 2nd District

ALVAREZ, ANTONIO C. Palawan 1st District

ALVAREZ, GENARO RAFAEL M. JR. Negros Occidental, 6th District

AMANTE, EDELMIRO A. Agusan Del Norte, 2nd District

AMATONG, ROMMEL C. Compostela Valley, 2nd District

ANGPING, MARIA ZENAIDA B. Manila, 3rd District

ANTONINO, RODOLFO W. Nueva Ecija, 4th District

APOSTOL, TRINIDAD G. Leyte, 2nd District

AQUINO, JOSE S. (II) 1st District Agusan del Norte

ARAGO, MARIA EVITA R. 3rd district, Laguna

ARBISON, A MUNIR M. Sulu 2nd District

ARENAS, MA. RACHEL J. Pangasinan, 3rd District

ARROYO, DIOSDADO M. Camarines Sur, 1st District

ARROYO, IGNACIO T. 5th district Negros Occidental

ARROYO, JUAN MIGUEL M. 2nd District of Pampanga

BAGATSING, AMADO S. Manila 5th district

BALINDONG, PANGALIAN M. Lanao del Sur, 2nd District

BARZAGA, ELPIDIO F. JR. Cavite, 2nd District

BAUTISTA, FRANKLIN P. Davao Del Sur, 2nd District

BELMONTE, VICENTE F. JR. Lanao del Norte, 1st District

BICHARA, AL FRANCIS C. Albay, 2nd District

BIRON, FERJENEL G. Iloilo, 4th District

BONDOC, ANNA YORK P. Pampanga 4th District

BONOAN-DAVID, MA. THERESA B. Manila, 4th District

BRAVO, NARCISO R. JR. Masbate, 1st District

BRIONES, NICANOR M. AGAP Party list

BUHAIN, EILEEN ERMITA Batangas, 1st District

BULUT, ELIAS C. JR. Apayao Lone District

CAGAS (IV), MARC DOUGLAS C. Davao Del Sur, 1st District

CAJAYON, MARY MITZI L. Caloocan, 2nd District

CAJES, ROBERTO C. Bohol, 2nd District

CARI, CARMEN L. Leyte, 5th District

CASTRO, FREDENIL H. Capiz, 2nd District

CELESTE, ARTHUR F. Pangasinan, 1st District

CERILLES, ANTONIO H. Zamboanga Del Sur, 2nd District

CHATTO, EDGARDO M. Bohol, 1st District

CHONG, GLENN A. Biliran, Lone District

CHUNG-LAO, SOLOMON R. Ifugai, Lone District

CLARETE, MARINA C. Misamis Occidental, 1st District

CODILLA, EUFROCINO M. SR. Leyte, 4th District

COJUANCO, MARK O. Pangasinan, 5th District

COQUILA, TEODULO M. Eastern Samar, Lone District

CRISOLOGO, VINCENT P. Quezon City, 1st District

CUA, JUNIE E. Quirino, Lone District

CUENCO, ANTONIO V. Cebu City, 2nd District

DANGWA, SAMUEL M. Benguet, Lone District

DATUMANONG, SIMEON A. Maguindanao, Lone District

Dayanghirang, Nelson L. Davao Oriental, 1st District

DAZA, NANETTE C. Quezon City, 4th District

DAZA, PAUL R. Northern Samar, 1st District

DE GUZMAN, DEL R. Marikina City, 2nd District

DEFENSOR, ARTHUR D. SR. Iloilo, 3rd District

DEFENSOR, MATIAS V. JR. Quezon City, 3rd District

DEL MAR, RAUL V. Cebu City, 1st District

DIASNES, CARLO OLIVER D. (MD) Batanes, Lone District

DIMAPORO, ABDULLAH D. Lanao Del Norte, 2nd District

DOMOGAN, MAURICIO G. Baguio, Lone District

DUAVIT, MICHAEL JOHN R. Rizal, 1st District

DUENAS, HENRY M. JR. Taguig, 2nd District (2nd Councilor District)

DUMARPA, FAYSAH MRP. Lanao del Sur, 1st District

DUMPIT, THOMAS L. JR. La Union, 2nd District

DURANO (IV), RAMON H. 5th District, Cebu

ECLEO, GLENDA B. Dinagat Islands, Lone District

EMANO, YEVGENY VICENTE B. Misamis Oriental, 2nd District

ENVERGA, WILFRIDO MARK M. Quezon, 1st District

ESTRELLA, CONRADO M. (III) Pangasinan, 6th District

ESTRELLA, ROBERT RAYMUND M. ABONO Party List

FERRER, JEFFREY P. Negros Occidental, 4th District

GARAY, FLORENCIO C. Surigao Del Sur, 2nd District

GARCIA, ALBERT S. Bataan, 2nd District.

GARCIA, PABLO JOHN F. Cebu, 3rd District

GARCIA, PABLO P. Cebu, 2nd District

GARCIA, VINCENT J. Davao City, 2nd District

GARIN, JANETTE L. Iloilo, 1st District

GATCHALIAN, REXLON T. Valenzuela City, 1st District

GATLABAYAN, ANGELITO C. Antipolo City, 2nd District

GO, ARNULFO F. Sultan Kudarat, 2nd District

GONZALES, AURELIO D. JR. Pampanga 3rd District

GONZALES, RAUL T. JR. Ilo ilo City

GULLAS, EDUARDO R. Cebu, 1st District

GUNIGUNDO, MAGTANGGOL T. Valenzuela City 2nd District

HOFER, DULCE ANN K. Zamboanga Sibugay, 2nd District

JAAFAR, NUR G. Tawi-Tawi, Lone District

JALA, ADAM RELSON L. Bohol, 3rd District

JALOSJOS, CESAR G. Zamboanga del Norte, 3rd District

JALOSJOS-CARREON, CECILIA G. Zamboanga del Norte, 1st District

JIKIRI, YUSOP H. Sulu, 1st District

KHO, ANTONIO T. Masbate, 2nd District

LABADLABAD, ROSENDO S. Zamboanga del Norte, 2nd District

LACSON, JOSE CARLOS V. Negros Occidental, 3rd District

LAGDAMEO, ANTONIO F. JR. Davao del Norte, 2nd District

LAPUS, JECI A. Tarlac, 3rd District

LAZATIN, CARMELO F. Pampanga, 1st District

LIM, RENO G. Albay, 3rd District

LOPEZ, JAIME C. Manila, 2nd District

MADRONA, ELEANORA JESUS F. Romblon, Lone District

MAGSAYSAY, MARIA MILAGROS H. Zambales, 1st District

MALAPITAN, OSCAR G. Caloocan, 1st District

MAMBA, MANUEL N. Cagayan, 3rd District

MANGUDADATU, DATU PAKUNG S. Sultan Kudarat,

MARANON, ALFREDO D. III Negros Occidental, 2nd District

MATUGAS, FRANCISCO T. Surigao del Norte, 1st Distr
ict

MENDOZA, MARK LEANDRO L. Batangas, 4th District

MERCADO, ROGER G. Southern Leyte, Lone District

MIRAFLORES, FLORENCIO T. Aklan, Lone District

NAVA, JOAQUIN CARLOS RAHMAN A. (MD) Guimaras, Lone District

NICOLAS, REYLINA G. Bulacan, 4th District

NOGRALES, PROSPERO C. Davao City, 1st District

OLAñO, ARREL R. Davao Del Norte, 1st District

ONG, EMIL L. Northern Samar, 2nd District

ORTEGA, VICTOR FRANCISCO C. La Union, 1st District

PABLO, ERNESTO C. APEC Party List

PANCHO, PEDRO M. Bulacan, 2nd District

PANCRUDO, CANDIDO P. JR. Bukidnon, 1st District

PICHAY, PHILIP A. Surigao Del Sur, 1st District

PIñOL, BERNARDO F. JR. North Cotabato, 2nd District

PUNO, ROBERTO V. Antipolo City, 1st District

RAMIRO, HERMINIA M. Misamis Occidental, 2nd District

REMULLA, JESUS CRISPIN C. Cavite, 3rd District

REYES, CARMELITA O. Marinduque, Lone District

REYES, VICTORIA H. Batangas, 3rd District

ROBES, ARTURO G. San Jose Del Monte City, Lone District

Rodriguez-Zaldarriaga, Adelina Rizal, 2nd District

ROMAN, HERMINIA B. Bataan, 1st District

ROMARATE, GUILLERMO A. JR. Surigao del Norte, 2nd District

ROMUALDEZ, FERDINAND MARTIN G. Leyte, 1st District

ROMUALDO, PEDRO Camiguin, Lone District

ROMULO, ROMAN T. Pasig City, Lone District

ROXAS, JOSE ANTONIO F. Pasay City

SALIMBANGON, BENHUR L. Cebu, 4th District

SALVACION JR., ANDRES D. Leyte, 3rd District

SAN LUIS, EDGAR S. Laguna, 4th District

SANDOVAL, ALVIN S. Malabon-Navotas, Lone District

SANTIAGO, JOSEPH A. Catanduanes, Lone District

SANTIAGO, NARCISO D. (III) ARC Party List

SEACHON-LANETE, RIZALINA L. 3rd district of Masbate

SEARES-LUNA, CECILIA M. Abra, Lone District

SILVERIO, LORNA C. Bulacan, 3rd District

SINGSON, ERIC D. Ilocos Sur, 2nd District

SINGSON, RONALD V. Ilocos Sur, 1st District

SOLIS, JOSE G. Sorsogon, 2nd District

SOON-RUIZ, NERISSA CORAZON Cebu, 6th District

SUAREZ, DANILO E. Quezon, 3rd District

SUSANO, MARY ANN L. Quezon City, 2nd District

SY-ALVARADO, MA. VICTORIA R. Bulacan, 1st District

SYJUCO, JUDY J. 2nd Dsitrict, Iloilo

TALINO-MENDOZA, EMMYLOU J. North Cotabato, 1st District

TAN, SHAREE ANN T. Samar, 2nd District

TEODORO, MARCELINO R. Marikina City, 1st District

TEODORO, MONICA LOUISSE PRIETO Tarlac, 1st District

TEVES, PRYDE HENRY A. Negros Oriental, 3rd District

TUPAS, NEIL C. JR. Iloilo, 5th District

UNGAB, ISIDRO T. Davao City, 3rd District

UY, EDWIN C. Isabela, 2nd District

UY, REYNALDO S. Samar, 1st District

UY, ROLANDO A. Cagayan De Oro City, Lone District

VALDEZ, EDGAR L. APEC Party List

VALENCIA, RODOLFO G. Oriental Mindoro, 1st District

VARGAS, FLORENCIO L. Cagayan, 2nd District

VILLAFUERTE, LUIS R. Camarines Sur, 2nd District

VILLAROSA, MA. AMELITA C. Occidental Mindoro, Lone District

VIOLAGO, JOSEPH GILBERT F. Nueva Ecija, 2nd District

YAP, JOSE V. Tarlac, 2nd District

YU, VICTOR J. Zamboanga Del Sur, 1st District

ZAMORA, MANUEL E. 1st District, Compostela Valley

ZIALCITA, EDUARDO C. Parañaque, 1st District

The Questionable SWS Survey and the Eighth Regime

Today, Inquirer.net posted a news item entitled “SWS survey puts Villar on top”.

MANILA, Philippines—(UPDATE) Embattled Senator Manny Villar has emerged as the leading presidential contender in the latest survey conducted by the Social Weather Station.

Villar, who has been accused of using his position to benefit from the C-5 road extension project, posted a high 22 percent approval rating from 7,000 respondents polled nationwide by the SWS between April 16 and May 6, 2009.

Vice President Noli de Castro followed Villar with 18 percent ; Senator Francis Escudero and deposed President Joseph Estrada with 14; Senator Loren Legarda with 10 percent; Senator Manuel Roxas with 9 percent; Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson with 6 percent, Makati Jejomar Binay with 2 percent; Metro Manila Development Authority chairman Bayani Fernando with 1 percent.

This survey is questionnable on five basic grounds:

  1. This survey result has no corresponding press release in the official SWS website. SWS always posts their survey results in their website, so why not this time?
  2. The survey question in this new survey (“Sa mga sumusunod na pangalan sa listahang ito, sino po ang malamang ninyong iboboto bilang PRESIDENTE ng Pilipinas, kung ang eleksyon ay gaganapin ngayon?”) is vastly different from the question in the last SWS survey (“Sa ilalim ng kasalukuyang Konstitusyon, ang termino ni Pang. Arroyo ay hanggang sa taong 2010 lamang at magkakaroon ng halalan para sa pagka-pangulo sa Mayo 10, 2010. Sinu-sino sa palagay ninyo ang mga magagaling na lider na dapat pumalit kay Pang. Arroyo bilang Presidente? Maaari po kayong magbanggit ng hanggang tatlong sagot.”). Why would SWS suddenly change the survey question if it seeks to show upward or downward movements in the polls?
  3. Pulse Asia has just released its recent survey results on the presidentiables. Noticeably, the sampling dates of the Pulse Asia survey (May 4 – 17) coincides with that of this supposed SWS survey (April 16 – May 6). Past surveys of the two polling stations do not coincide with each other. Why change it now?
  4. There is also a noticeable change in the movement of Sen. Mar Roxas in the two polls. In the Pulse Asia survey, he moved up by 5 points (most improved performance in the polls) while in this supposed SWS survey Mar moved down by 6 points!
  5. Look at the tabulated results of this supposed SWS survey. It shows the results of the past surveys. Noticeably, the figures are different from those in the official SWS surveys posted in their website

So where does this survey come from?

The congressmen in Batasan are currently rail-roading charter change. They have been at if for many months now. But it seems like this push for H.R. 1109 (“A Resolution calling upon the members of congress to convene for the purpose of considering proposals to amend or revise the constitution upon a vote of 3/4 of all the members of congress”) will push through because they are only seeking to pass it through a simple majority vote of the quorum. The dogs in in Congress will not rest tonight until they pass this resolution – as Ricky Carandang said, “the chacha express has arrived”.

Expected to follow shortly, maybe even tonight or tomorrow, are the specific amendments to the charter, including something that will eventually pave the way for Arroyo’s continuation in power in one form or another.

And so despite all the denials, the House has finally done it.
What happens next?

This nation has been a formal state six times in its history. First as a colony of Spain, second as the short lived Malolos republic, third as the Commonwealth under the United States, fourth as a Japanese colony during World War II, fifth as the postwar republic that lasted until 1972, sixth was the Marcos Bagong Lipunan, and seventh was the new 1986 regime.

Today could very well go down in history as the day that the Eighth Regime was born.

God help us all.

[via RickyCarandang.com]

What is this sham?! Congress should have used their time today to vote on the CARPER bill yet here they are trying to consolidate their powers and their wallets (c/o GMA’s moneyman Rolando Andaya).

Do your jobs! Stop f*cking with the people!

keep looking »