Saturday, November 24, 2007

Churchmen, CBCP shut up! Lead by example instead of just criticizing Arroyo

I think Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's presidency is hanging on the balance. I would like to believe that she is hard working and is doing a pretty good job in the economic front. But the lady president's administration is morally bankrupt. No question about it.

What is disturbing is the way the opposition and the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) are behaving amidst the possibility of an eruption of a "social volcano".

Instead of providing a beacon of hope and encouraging the country to unite, fight moral bankruptcy and even poverty, the opposition and the Catholic church is setting the stage for a bloody revolution. They are inciting Filipinos to hate and become overly angry against the present administration.

"To start this moral revolution, I must cease to be dishonest, unjust and unfair to my fellow Filipinos. I will tell and act on the truth that I confess or affirm. I will return what I have unjustly and deceitfully acquired. Only then can I ask pardon from God and the people I have wronged," GMANews.TV, quoting the blog of CBCP president Angel Lagdameo.

But, Lagdameo was not speaking for himself, he was directing his statement to President Arroyo. "As a response to the state of moral bankruptcy in public life, of probably irremediable loss of credibility and trust, a call has been made for 'moral revolution.' If only to stop our country from continuing to become a 'social volcano' (Heaven help us!), we support the ideal of a 'moral revolution' — moral transformation, moral renewal, moral reform. The CBCP has proposed it before in many ways through the years. And we would like to say it again. Nothing new, but the resolve may be," he further stated.

"These are not purely socio-economic issues. The Church's social doctrine insists on their moral connotations. The relationship between morality and economics and poverty is necessary, intrinsic and reciprocal," he said

Look who's talking. A leader of the Catholic Church in the Philippines would only go as far as lambasting the present government. He would only go as far as criticizing the moral bankruptcy of the administration of President Arroyo.

But, Lagdameo and the CBCP are not ready to accept part of the blame. Please, we the laity have seen upfront and personal the excesses of the leaders of the Catholic Church. Some priests are reportedly involved in sexual abuse cases. There are bishops who we are told live a life of luxury. Even owning mansions and riding on SUV's while their flock could barely eat a square meal a day.
What did Jesus said when the Pharisees brought to Him a woman who committed adultery? He who has not sinned cast the first stone. I am sure the CBCP and the tongue-lashing Catholic Church leaders fully know this teaching of Jesus. But, what strikes me is that they don't seem to live by the words of Jesus. What abhors me is that they don't seem to practice what they preach.

Our country is in a cross road. We can choose as a nation to fight together the war against immorality, indecency, corruption and poverty. When I say together, I mean all of us and not just the politicians and Malacanang.

Or we can decide to heed the words of Lagdameo and the Catholic Church and even the opposition, to be angry and hateful at President Arroyo and her cabals. To look the other way amidst the callousness of the Catholic Church leaders as they live a life of comfort and luxury.

I hope we make the right choice.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Is media fickle minded?

As the lamp post controversy hit fever pitched months before the May 2007 polls, the media in Cebu were like savage beasts.

It relentlessly attacked government officials accused by a bidder who lost a contract at the height of the ASEAN summit preparations.

Like a hungry pack of wolves, the media in Cebu went for the jugular and slit the throats of government bureaucrats and politicians who were perceived to have pocketed millions.

The public, enraged by what they were made to believe as the mother of all corruption in Cebu would not settle for less until heads rolled down Mount Olympus. And so it happened, two mayors and their deputies, several DPWH men were placed in preventive suspension.

Six months after the controversy broke; one of the two Hizzoners was again accused of alleged corruption. This time the business community rallied behind the accuser.

The losing bidder who exposed the alleged lamp post overpricing publicly complained that he never got the same support that another whistle blower received from the financial sector.

Immediately after the public whining by the lamp post whistle blower, the Cebu media accused the guy of having a hidden agenda. The Cebu press began to question the person's credibility. They castrated the man for doing an expose without hard evidence.

But, if you will look back during the lamp post brouhaha, the media never questioned the credibility of the losing bidder, instead hailed the guy as a local hero. The members of the fourth estate practically took the person's statements like gospel truth then.

A few weeks ago, the media took the government to task for the "suicide" of a poverty stricken 12 year-old girl from Davao. A national broadsheet even labeled the girl as a "poverty saint".

A new twist to this story surfaced. The girl might not have committed suicide. Instead, she could have been murdered.

And so a hard hitting columnist of a Manila newspaper led the media to start beating their breast in mea culpa for coming up with ferocious statements against the failure of government to fight poverty.

Judging from these two separate media events, I am starting to ask the question whether the press is fickle minded. Are they?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

(Next Page) That suicide in Davao of a 12 year-old poverty stricken girl

Since the story of Marrianet Amper hogged the news headlines, we have been beating our breast in utter shame and even disbelief. We were awakened from a deep slumber of indifference to the fact that poverty is still staring us in the face. A national daily even went as far as branding the despondent teen as a "saint of poverty".

While her death sent shivers down our spine and eventually moved us as a nation into becoming more aggressive in our fight against destitution let us not parry the fact that depression, a mental state, can cause suicide.

"Suicide is one of the leading causes of death for teens. Girls try to commit suicide more often than boys. The important thing for you to know is that it doesn't have to happen. It is also important to know that suicide is not a heroic act, even though sometimes media images can make it seem so. Often, a person who is thinking about attempting suicide isn't able to see that suicide is never the answer to problems. Remember, there is always help – as well as support and love – out there for you or a friend," according to a respected medical internet site, WebMD.

We have become engrossed with media reports that Mariannet's suicide could have been triggered by her being mired in poverty. This can be gleaned by what she wrote in her diary detailing their impoverished state.

But there is another side to this melancholic tale. That, "many young people face high levels of stress and confusion, along with family problems. When you throw in raging hormones, it sometimes seems more than a teen can handle. Perhaps it’s not surprising that teen suicide is increasingly common...If you want to prevent suicide, it's important to understand depression. Depression is often used to describe general feelings of helplessness, worthlessness, and hopelessness. When teens feel sad or low, they often say they are depressed. While most of us feel sad or low sometimes, feelings of depression are longer lasting and often more serious."

It is not only when a teenager is dirt-poor that he is prone to suicide. Many young people who come from rich families are also apt to attempt suicide.

Here is a quick look at depression and suicide from WebMD:

"Depression and suicide sometimes go hand in hand, but it is important to remember that suicide can be prevented. In most cases, there are warning signs that an individual is considering a suicide attempt. The most effective way to prevent suicide is to recognize the warning signs, and respond immediately.

Some warning signs of suicide include the following behaviors:

  • Talking about suicide
  • Frequently talking about death
  • Talking about feeling hopeless, helpless, or worthless, saying things like "It would be better if I wasn't here" or "I want out"
  • Individual exhibits signs of depression, including deep sadness, loss of interest, trouble sleeping and eating
  • Abrupt change of mood, from extreme sadness to happiness or calm
  • Risk-taking behavior, e.g. driving too fast
  • Person exhibits loss of interest in things he used to care about
  • Person calls or visits people to say goodbye
  • Person seems to be putting affairs in order (e.g. changes will) ,

Along with these behaviors, a person is at higher risk of attempting suicide if he or she has a chronic or terminal illness, is separated or divorced, is underemployed or unemployed, or has a family history of suicide."

As we continue to mourn Marrient’s death, let us also focus on our youth and their mental state. Let us not take any chances. If you think there something is psychologically or emotional bothering you that might lead to suicide don’t waste time tell someone close to you or seek professional help.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

That suicide in Davao of a 12 year-old poverty stricken girl

The suicide of Mariannet Amper, a 12-year-old Filipina who lives in Davao is just the tip of our country's social iceberg. Despondent over the harsh reality of their family's poverty, she reportedly decided to end her own life by hanging herself inside their makeshift house.

It's a fact that many of our brethren our mired in abject fortune. But despite the political noise that has continued to reverberate in our nation, there are also many of us who are slowly getting out of the financial rut.

According to a survey, self-rated poverty has been on a decline. The Social Weather Survey stated that it ranged between 55 and 59 percent from December 2005 to June 2006. Now it’s in the vicinity of 47 to 53 percent. By all indication it is still on the high side, but if there is any consolation, it is going down. Meaning there is hope.

The problem is that our media is milking our penchant for underdogs for hideous profit consideration. The broadcast media in particular the giant television and radio networks come out with storylines that portray poverty as a valiant way of life that has to be lived.

Just watch the soap operas on prime time TV or listen to the afternoon drama on radio. Catch how Willie Revillame on Wowie induced people to cry as he dangles the prospect of getting 500 bucks. Listen to the emo music played over the airwaves and sang on karaoke bars. These music suggests suicide as an option.

Worse, many of us have this victim mentality. We brag about our dire strait, subconsciously preferring to stay poor if only to feel good inside. Nauseating, but evidently true.

Notice how PUJ drivers insist on changing their flat tires in the middle of the road for all to see even if it will cause a traffic jam. Go to a politician's house and see the long line of people asking for anything under the sun even bringing with them fake doctor's prescription to ask for money.

It's hypocritical for us to complain and lay blame solely on government and our corrupt politicians.

In the end, we are all to blame for the death of that little girl. Her blood is in our hands because either we choose to ignore the poor or we would rather want them to stay poor for our own pathetic interest.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The fault is yours and yours alone

Do not allow a golden parachute to fall to the ground without hanging on to it to heal the wounds of your past.

In your lifetime there will be several life changing moments that would come your way. It could be in the form of a family crisis, a loved one who without warning becomes terminally ill or it can be a broken vow.

As you stroll to the present, you leave behind moments of time that will haunt you in the future. It is not impossible to leave a trail of your bastard past. You are only human and as such prone to commit tempestuous acts.

And when your past finally catches up with you and it always will, you will experience
deep-seated emotional, psychological and spiritual anguish.

In turn, this will affect your relationship with the people around you, your friends, relatives and more particularly your very own family. Most unfortunate, you will not even realize that your haunted past is destroying you and tearing your world apart. Often you will blame others except yourself.

Luckily, the universe where you revolve, although often belatedly, will start to get their acts together to help you keep your balance. They will strive to help you restore your sanity and give you a priceless memento - peace of mind. You will resist for a time, but pray that soon you will see the light of day.

As these unfold, the people around you will also stitch the emotional, psychological and spiritual wounds that happened in their own past.

And so true healing occurs. You will someday be freed from the pain of yesteryears. Your loved ones will also benefit from the process.

Except that there are some of us who perennially misses to capture the golden moments of healing that usually stares us in the face. It is either by willful action or just plain inaction.

In the end, the fault will be your and yours alone.

Monday, November 05, 2007

The sins of our fathers

I have read about a prostitute whose mother was at one time in her life was also engaged in the flesh trade. I have read about an alcoholic father whose son later became hooked on alcohol.

I have also read about a pious mother who has a daughter now serving a life sentence. I have also read about a hardworking father who has a drug dependent son.

More often than not, a renegade parent begets a problematic child. But what surprises me is how a God-fearing mother or a father who is a good provider can have a child who is the exact opposite.

This goes to show that there is no assurance of what your child will become. But I have this theory.The sins of our fathers are the root cause of why there are children who as adults become a bane to society. But to blame the sins of our fathers as the reason why there are children who as adults create chaos is grossly unfair.

The sad reality is that the sins of our fathers are the result of the sins committed by there fathers before them. And so a vicious cycle is created.

I am not talking here of sin in the spiritual sense. But rather I refer to sin here as a parental failure or mistake that is unintentional. Or if I may point out more clearly, a parenting act that is born out of lack of understanding about being a parent.

Parenting is the most difficult job in the world. Yet, there is no curriculum anywhere in the world that teaches parenting. If you want to be a builder you have to take up a five year course in engineering. If you want to heal the sick you have to study medicine for up to ten years. If you want to hear confession and say mass you have to enter the seminary and become a priest.

But if you wish to become a parent all you have to do is find a partner and the next thing you know is that you have a child. I don’t know of any curriculum in the world that will prepare you to become a father or a mother to your child. Yet, parenting is considered by many as the most important work in human society.

Despite the lack of parenting skills, not having undergone a parenting course since none is available anyway, there are still so many more children who become adults that live a life fulfilled.

This is because there are also so many parents while ignorant about parenting have consciously made it a point to connect emotionally with there children. Emotional connection is a very important ingredient in bringing up a child who will become at peace with himself as an adult.

A child who lives in fear, a child who is insecure, a child who feels unloved can grow up disturb and unstable. A child who is praised more but sometimes put to task for a mistake committed may soon understand that life is kind but not perfect.

You are a product of who you were as a child. Who you are today is the sum total of your past. So if you are who you are now probably sad, angry or depress there is no one to blame except you. For what you will become tomorrow is how you live your life at the present.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

What's emo and the youth of today?

While walking with friends along the sugar beach of boracay on a moonless night, I was eavesdropping on a conversation between a teenager and a lifestyle editor. It was the first time I heard the word emo to describe a genre of music. A week later I heard my son described being alone as "emo". While I was choosing a theme for my multiply site, I saw several designs by young artists labled as "emo".

So I finally decided to "wiki" the word emo and this is what I found: "Emo is a style of rock music which describes several independent variations of music with common stylistic roots."

"Emo is also sometimes associated with a certain fashion. Emo clothing is characterized by tight jeans on males and females alike, long fringe (bangs) brushed to one side of the face or over one or both eyes, dyed black, straight hair, tight t-shirts which often bear the names of rock band (or other designed shirts), studded belt, belt buckles, canvas sneakers or skate shoes or other black shoes (often old and beaten up) and thick, black horn-rimmed glasses."

"As certain fashion trends and attitudes began to be associated with "emo", stereotypes emerged that created a specific target for criticism. In the early years of the "third wave", the criticism was relatively light-hearted and self-effacing. In ensuing years, the derision increased dramatically. Male fans of emo found themselves hit with homosexual slurs, largely a reflection of the style of dress popular within the "emo scene" and the purported displays of emotion common in the scene."

My understanding of "emo" is simple. It's the shortcut for the word emotion/emotional.

When I was a teenager I learned that being emotional is only for women. But a June 2006 article by the Reader's Digest entitled "Big Boys Don't Cry stated that "new research reveals that a man's emotional life is a complex and rich as a woman's, but often remains a mystery - both to him and to her. Although emotions have long been considered a female trademark, men report feelings as often as women, and describe their experience of emotions similarly.

It is only recently that the human race has started to accept the fact that men have emotions too. Except that they always have kept it in check because showing it was considered a sign of weakness.

Since the world is now more ready to see men show their emotions, the modern day teens have coined the word emo to describe the act of expressing emotions. In this way, the blog and social networking generation is trying to make the word more fashionable and acceptable. In this way, when men expresses emotion it becomes trendy. What do you think?