Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Run for Humanity

First run outside Manila!
Also, I've decided to keep a comprehensive blog on the runs that I will be joining from now on. Just so I know when I improve, and to keep tally of my participation :)

3k in 14:24, bib #0275


Thursday, 11 August 2011

Crying Out For Blood

You know a country has had enough when private citizens actively condone brutal, violent, and very public killings of criminals by law enforcement officials.

I have been in the Philippines for a little over four years now, and the level of violence here make the hardest Malaysian gangsters look amateur. Criminal organizations here have complex systems of organizations and even private armies; granted, these are the ones that present difficulty to the nation as a whole. Understandably, the frustration of the masses would blow over more to the petty criminals, the ones who operate on a much smaller scale and are either too unlucky/dumb/careless and were caught.

Reading the comments on this news report (see the number of "likes" as well!) has made me conclude that yes, many of these criminals have nowhere else to go but six feet under. Before anything else, let's not get anything wrong: I believe in human rights and I support it in principle and in spirit. In so saying, I also believe that individuals who would seek to deny another individual the very precious thing called "life" forfeit their claim to justice and their lives. When I think about it, I do not think that criminals who take away life deserve to keep theirs.

A Vigilante Attitude?
Of course, the public condoning of criminal killing is obviously not a long-term solution. The last thing anybody wants are roving packs of armed private citizens mercilessly serving out a deadly dish of vengeance. No. This will breed disorder, discord, and a false sense of justice for the country. There is also the chance of making grievous errors; an innocent man may fall victim to this witch-hunt. In the case of rooting out and killing known criminals, the means does not justify the end.

All Down to the Individual
In the end, where does this bring us? Crime is still rampant in the Philippines and the death of several criminals, while high-profile, will actually not do much to reduce the level of overall criminal activity in the country. I suppose apart from distancing ourselves from crime, it is far more important to maintain the "us against them" mentality (id est, "us" being non-criminals and "them" being criminals). Also, it is my opinion that we, bring private citizens, should (as much as possible) allow the law enforcement officials to be the ones to enforce the heavy hand of the law - they are much better trained and equipped for "removing" the "unwanted elements" of our society. Our part, I suppose, would be to remain vigilant against threats to our social well-being and security. After all, a private citizen, no matter how good the intention, will be considered a criminal under the rule of law if said citizen commits a crime to avenge/reverse another crime.

A tooth for a tooth would sounds fair, but I know for sure I wouldn't give a tooth for a criminal. Not even a single skin cell.


News article linked courtesy of Yahoo! News Philippines.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Math Says You Should be Married at this Age


Professor Anthony Dooley of the University of New South Wales devised a formula to calculate 'the ideal marrying age'. I personally think it's very convincing.

The magic formula:
  1. Take the oldest age that you would like to be married.
  2. Subtract from it the youngest age that you would like to be married.
  3. Multiply the answer by 0.368.
  4. Voila! Your ideal marrying age, according to Professor Dooley.
The formula takes into account "maximum rewards for minimal costs" - which I assume tries to calculate the 'readiness' of an individual to tie the knot. Even if you're a skeptic, it's still pretty fun.

I got 28.2 years of age, pretty near my ideal :)


Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Everything but an Infidel

An "infidel".

That is the latest alleged characteristic pasted on the Filipino national hero Jose Rizal. Whether true or not, the fact is that a Tweet was published as saying that Dr. Rizal was "an infidel".

The original Tweet actually said:
"@BikMama2U: @datozainab Biasala tu, @anwaribrahim mmg pro-Kristian, pemuja Jose Rizal si Melayu kafir tu! Oh ya, jgn lupa..."
The user @BikMama2U was allegedly claimed by user @datozainab (the wife of the Malaysian ambassador to the Philippines) to be a fake account. Whether this is true or not, the Tweet is very offensive to any Filipino. Why? Because the Tweet translates as:
"@BikMama2U: @datozainab... That’s usual. Anwar Ibrahim is clearly pro-Christian, an admirer of Jose Rizal the infidel Malay! Oh yes, don’t forget..." *
I am not quite sure at which angle I should approach this very sensitive issue. On the one hand, my Filipino blood boils at this rude, inappropriate, and very classless description of a man who helped (in a huge way) bring down an oppressive and unjust Spanish regime more than a hundred years ago. On the other hand, I did spend almost half of my life so far in Malaysia, and my culture and sense is a mix of the two. I do know that racist comments can fly in a very off-hand manner in Malaysia (my Malaysian readers, please do not deny this.. not too vehemently, in any case) but for a racist comment to even be related to an envoy to the Philippines is perhaps a little too much.

As Filipinos, how should we react to this? We are a little notorious for our tempers (admit it; how many of us have witnessed hot-headed violence during inuman sessions?) and therefore, I think it would be wise - not to mention prudent - for us to remain more or less neutral in our reactions. Dato Zainab deserves the benefit of a doubt, as there is a chance that she was really not involved in smearing the good name of Dr. Rizal, and was merely tagged in a bad Tweet. I am sure that there will be due process in investigating this issue because 1.) this is a very sensitive and important topic for Filipinos, especially from a nationalistic, patriotic, and cultural angle, and 2.) because we expect foreign envoys and their families to always hold the utmost and utter respect towards the icons of their host countries. I can only pray that this issue does not get blown out of proportion, and that cooler and more reasonable heads prevail during this incident.

* Anwar Ibrahim was a former candidate for the Prime Minister position until a sex scandal ruined his otherwise illustrious career. He is currently back in the Malaysian political sphere and is currently the leader of the Opposition.

Full article and source here.

Monday, 1 August 2011

My Eye Looks High

Too much porn ruined my eye.

Just kidding. I was diagnosed today with a nasty little bugger of an eye condition called uveitis. According to that helpful Wikipedia link, "uveitis is an inflammation to the middle layer of the eye, called the uvea". It is not comforting at all to know that this is responsible for a tenth of the causes of blindness in the USA.

I woke up today at around 6am with my eye feeling as if it was being prodded by a toe. A crabby, pointed toe. Looking out of my window hurt even more, and by 7am, the pain was pretty much intolerable. I then gave my boss a call to inform him that it is quite impossible for me to attend work today as I could barely see, and I was not a very pretty sight.

A little later, I made an appointment with a Dr. Santos at the Manila Adventist Hospital (where I was hospitalized back in 2009). He then diagnosed me with an eye infection, and since a flare developed inside my eye, he concluded that I had the damn uveitis. It explained my heightened (and painful) sensitivity to sunlight and bright lights in general. I am, for all humorous intents and purposes, technically a vampire. LOL.

He prescribed a couple of eye drops, one to clean the infection and the other to paralyze my pupil so that it would remain dilated. If this was not so, the pupil could stick to my lens, which I am assuming is not a very healthy thing for a pupil to do. So not only am I sensitive to light, my left eye is also dilated. I am, for better or for worse, a high vampire. I don't even know where to begin poking fun at that.

As for the cause, Dr. Santos told me it's either I picked it up somewhere (damn you, infected person!) or it's in the season. Apparently, quite a few are turning up with various infections, not necessarily eye-related.

The pupil dilation will be for 2-3 weeks, and hopefully I do not get any "got grass" jokes during this time. All joking aside, the condition is very painful and the bright Manila sunshine is something I am not looking forward to for a change. I hope this gets better quick, because not only are my good looks - if any - are ruined, squinting painfully while crossing Taft Avenue on the way to work can also be potentially hazardous.

Wish me well, and please pray for my eye.


EDIT: Just noticed this is my first post for August. What a way to start the month..