Thursday, January 15, 2009

Winners' Complex


Back in the ‘90s, I was exposed to copies of Newsweek and Time magazines. I had the opportunity to travel around the world, and much more, to take a look inside the minds of influential and/or famous people within the confines of my room, home and office.

At that time, I read an article or two written by the former president of the former Soviet Union. I was – and still – am not in the position to say anything about his articles (given the limit of what I have read) but, in my point of view, I say that I find his articles not only interesting and profound, but also, open-minded and welcome to changes. And that admiration and respect, I carried all these years. Even if I have lost hold of his writings as he assumes a private life, and me, a minimal life.


Presently, in the way I programmed my mind to perceive his life, I see him sitting in a leisure room or study in his house – or perhaps a private office, which is more like it – as a spectator of what is going on in our world today. A spectator who was once a participant: one of the two world leaders apparently. I am actually thinking if it dawned in his mind to at least wish he still got that influence – that power – so that he can have his opinion be heard in the world forum and even have his theories considered as an option.

Mikhail Gorbachev

2008 has been indelibly marked by the global financial crisis. No one predicted its outbreak or its scale; I don’t think anyone knows when that initial reassuring statements about it where irresponsible. In the coming months, the world, and world politics, will be severely tested.

Searching for ways out of the crisis will be a difficult, agonizing process. Not all early efforts were effective. This first failure in the functioning of our fully globalised world caught us by surprise, largely unprepared.
When I read the reports from the July G-8 summit meeting held in Japan, it is amazing that just a couple of months before the crisis erupted, world leaders seemed unaware of warning tremors.

The summit meeting was a routine gathering. Its very format – the way it was prepared and conducted – seems outdated. We need a new vision of global political leadership, a new willingness to work together in this globalised world. Politicians are lagging behind the events.

The crisis in the Caucasus in early August was a bolt from the blue. Any war, even a short one, is always a failure of politics and policy. The Georgian leadership’s military misadventure spelled disaster for thousands of Essen's, Georgians and Russians; it also highlighted the absence of an effective security system in Europe for preventing and resolving conflicts.

Trouble hovers over other continents, too. Civil strife in Congo, Sudan and elsewhere in Africa has cost thousands of lives. The terrorist attacks on Mumbai were more than just a tragic reminder of the threat posed by terrorism: they also raised the issue of the responsibility of the state on whose territory this large-scale attack had been prepared. The situation in Afghanistan seems dismal. The Middle East remains a tinderbox. On top of it all, piracy has made a comeback, straight out of the dark ages.

The flows of migrants, social unrest in many countries (including some that are far from poor), the recent problems with contaminated food supplies, massive human rights violations – the list of the world’s ills can go on and on.
There is an increasing sense of a world in trouble and turmoil, further aggravated by the crisis of the world economy.

I am convinced that the root cause of the current widespread upheaval is the inability and even unwillingness of political leaders to correctly evaluate the situation after the end of the cold war and jointly chart a new course for the world.

The “winner’s complex” – the fanfare of triumph sounded by the West after the Soviet Union left the international arena – obscured the fact that the end of the cold war was not a victory for one side or one ideology. It was instead a common achievement and a common challenge, a call for major change.

But why change if, as Western politicians believed, all was fine? They would continue to lead the rest of the world with their unfailing doctrine of free markets and alliances like NATO, which were ready and eager to assume responsibility for peace in Europe and beyond.

Payback came in 2008. We will likely continue to pay for misguided thinking, unless we have the courage to look at things honestly and rethink our approach to world affairs. Throughout the world, there is a clamor for change. That desire was evident in November. Given the special role the United States continues to play in the world, the election of Barack Obama could have consequences that go far beyond that country.

The American people have had their say; now all will depend on whether the new president and his team measure up to the challenge.

The U.S. presidential election was followed by another consequential event: the G-20 summit meeting in Washington foreshadowed a new format of global leadership, bringing together the countries responsible for the future of the world economy.

And more than just the economy is at stake.

In and of itself, the fact that the G-8 leaders were joined as equal partners by the leaders of China, India and Brazil and almost a dozen other countries was a recognition, perhaps a reluctant one, that the economic and political balance in the world had changed. It is now a given that a world with a single power center, in any shape or guise, is no longer possible. The global challenge of a financial and economic tsunami can only be met by working together.

A new concept is emerging for addressing the crisis at the national and international levels. The steps now being contemplated seem better suited to the needs of a global world than the previous approach, based on the hope that the market will eventually take care of itself.

If current ideas for reforming the world’s financial and economic institutions are consistently implemented, that would suggest we are finally beginning to understand the importance of global governance. Such governance would render the economy more rational and more humane.

This is a daunting challenge, not only to the world’s economy. Yet it can be met. We need to encourage equitable dialogue, democratize relations among nations and push back militaristic tendencies in politics and thinking.

This amounts to a new agenda for international politics. It is a challenge the world must rise to meet.

from ARABIAN INSIGHT, January 2009

Favorite Line(s):

The “winners’ complex” – the fanfare of triumph sounded by the West after the Soviet Union left the international arena – obscured the fact that the end of the cold war was not a victory for one side or one ideology. It was instead a common achievement and a common challenge, a call for a major change.
Again, so that you my friends from wherever, would know what keeps me busy, sane and sober… here is the opinion of Mikhail Gorbachev.



Life is made of ever so many partings welded together.
- Charles Dickens
- Great Expectations

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

More Power

Need I say more?


I went out yesterday for walk-ins. It could have been okay since the weather is so good. I don’t mind going out these days because of the weather. I reached the area I planned to be. But, too bad, it began to drizzle.

Then, it evolved…


I sought cover and waited for it to stop. But I was a little soaked so I was close to freezing when there is a breeze. I figured I have to have something to keep myself warmer since I was just starting my day.

When the rain finally stopped, I started my business. Store after store after store.

Weeeeehhh! I am enjoying this! I was at the same time looking for a shawl to keep me warm. Finally, I found one and got to like it – a plain, black one. Bingo! So after trying to bargain for the price. It is okay to do it here since it’s like the Divisoria where I am. Cool! He gave in and gave my change. And I wrapped it around my neck. Yey! I now feel warm!

I continued with my business and then…

Paranoid mode…

I started to look at my fingers, then my palm…. Nothing…

Then, my arm, my blouse… Again, nothing so far. I wanted to see my neck and my nape but I couldn’t. So, again, my palm, fingers…

Great! No black colors, patches, nor smears!

Cool! I think it’s worth the price.

Walked and walked, and talked and talked.

... until it was time to go back to office.

At the bus, I began to think, “Let’s see what happens after laundry day.”

Just remind me on Thursday…

Wash with like colors.

Me and my sick mind…



Ano nga ba ang pagkakiba ko sa unggoy bukod sa hindi ako kumakain ng kuto?

-Bob Ong
-Stainless Longanisa

Monday, January 12, 2009

Dignity in Anonymity

Part of my New Year’s Rs is to read as much as I could. And this means also that I would not stick to one author (like Stephen King and Sidney Sheldon back in those days). I’m trying to pick the best-rated book by one author and plan to read it: I now have in line three authors; Gabriel Garcia Marquez’sOne Hundred Years of Solitude,’ Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s ‘The Idiot,’ and Jodi Picoult’sNineteen Minutes.’

However, I am also trying to touch base with local articles, opinions and news on the side. I tried to look for magazines, digests, circulars, etc., which is actually is quite hard since most of them are written in Arabic. But I found one, a back issue (my initial reaction was disappointment), but I got to like the magazine, i.e., Arabian Insight. I now have two issues and I found a very good article on the first issue. I took the liberty of posting it here for wanting to share it with you (friends) so easily.

I can relate to the article, especially when the author phrased “the dignity of anonymity.” And when he said that migrants “suffer the indignities of sleeping in shanties, on sidewalks, on the hoods of their own taxis in order to earn respect in villages they may never revisit.”

Couldn't’t we all OFWs relate to this ideas, either partly or wholly?

It would be incomplete to take these two without the context of the whole article… so here it is…


Today, it is India’s financial capital and the home of Bollywood. So why does Anand Giridharad call it a city of paradise and of hell?

Mumbai, India – This city, before it was a city, was a dusting of seven islands in the choppy brine off India’s western coast. Beginning nearly three centuries ago, it was gradually reclaimed from the sea, seven masses forging one, and claimed by the teeming country at its back. Dangling in the Arabian Sea, it has become Mumbai, India’s stock-trading and filmmaking capital and its window to the world.
But if the reclaiming was complete, the claiming never was. The city was tethered to the subcontinent by a land bridge in the northern suburbs, 32 kilometers from the upper-crust stronghold of South Mumbai, where mainland India felt remote.
The rich were in India but not of it. When news arrived of distant floods and famines, malfeasance and malnutrition, they told themselves that theirs was a world apart.

Escapism was constant. In the 1960s, young elites observed the Western music hour on All India Radio like a religion. In the 1980s, wealthy women flew to London to avoid the steamy bazaars. Recent years have brought diversions like gelato, sushi, fashion shows with Russian models exclusive nightclubs, restaurants that cook the ever-less-sacred-cow medium-rare.

Here the highest social boast is that you “just got back” from abroad; the loftiest praise for a restaurant is, “it’s like you’re not in India.” Mumbai’s globalised class hungers for it to be a world city, and its leaders pledge to make it Shanghai-like by 2020; the plan is, to put it gently, behind schedule. The rich blush when Madonna dines at Salt Water Grill and Angelina Jolie drinks at Indigo: portents, they say, that Mumbai will join New York, London, Paris in that coterie of names emblazoned on the epidermis of boutiques everywhere.

Arriving from overseas, one encounters first this outward-looking city. But in the layers below, a strange truth is buried. If the elite live in virtual exile, seeing Mumbai as a port of departure, the city teems with millions of migrants who see it as the opposite – a mesmeric port of arrival, offering what the mainland doesn't’t; a chance to invent onself, to break destiny.

For the writer, the Dickensian lens offers an easy view of Mumbai: wealthy and poor, apartment-dwelling and slum-dwelling, obese and malnourished. In office elevators, the bankers and lawyers are 30 centimeters taller, on average, than the less-fed delivery man.

Luscious skyscrapers sprout beside mosquito-prone shantytowns. This is at once a city of paradise and of hell. But Mumbai’s paradox is that it is often the dwellers of paradise who feel themselves in hell and the dwellers of hell who feel themselves in paradise.

What you see in Mumbai depends on what else you have seen. For those who grew up in Westernized homes, the standard is New York. That comparison is hard on Mumbai.
To be sure, in my five years here, which are now ending, the city has gravitated toward world-city status. Restaurants began to serve miso-encrusted sea bass, Indian-Western fashion boutiques started to attract global jet-setters.

But it takes a muscular suspension of disbelief to pretend that Mumbai, which used to be called Bombay, is what its elite wishes it were. Residents will tell you that Mumbai is “just like New York,” before launching a tirade about why it isn't’t: nowhere nice to eat, same incestuous social scene, no offbeat films, no privacy. There is a sense in this crowd of a city forever striving to be what it isn't’t.

Still, minute after minute, migrants pour in with starkly different pasts and starkly different ideas of Mumbai.

They arrive from India’s 660,000 villages. Perhaps the monsoon failed and crops perished. Perhaps their mother is ill and needs money for surgery. Perhaps they took a loan whose mushrooming interest cannot be repaid from cow-milking and wheat-sheafing. Perhaps they are tired of waiting for the future to come to them.
They arrive by train and locate relatives or friends to help get them started.

They walk the streets asking building security guards if the tenants inside need a servant. They live in cramped rooms or huts in a vast slum like Dharavi, where 1 million people pack 2.5 square kilometers.

In these labyrinthine hives, spaces and lives are shared, card games last all night and rivers of sludge navigate the gullies. And the slums ever metastasize.
These dueling claims on Mumbai explain its mongrel look: like a duty-free mall in parts, in parts like a refugee camp. The wealthy complain that the surge in migration has strained public services, turned 15-minute drives into two-hour odysseys, rendered real estate into slum estates. They say migrants spit, steal electricity, commit crime, harass women, drain the public dole.

Perhaps this is why the affluent dream of New York.

But the migrants relish Mumbai, for they know other places. Places where tradition tells you to die where you were born and live as your parents lived. Places where a son of a leather-working caste with a scientific mind must let it atrophy. Places where unapproved love can bring murder.

And in these squalid places they savor what the wealthy take for granted: the ability to get a job without “knowing somebody: the lightness of being without roots; the possibility of reinvention; the dignity of anonymity.”

Yet it is a strange, absentee dignity. They suffer the indignities of sleeping in shanties, on sidewalks, on the hoods of their own taxis in order to earn respect in villages they may never revisit.

Walking amid the polychromatic chaos of Mumbai, one might ask: What other city so concentratedly distills the human predicament, in the fullness of its tragedy, its comedy, its absurdity and its promise?

Mumbaikars, as they are known, cannot resist one another, cannot resist Mumbai. Those who crave departure could depart if they wanted. They are still here.
The newly arrived could have stayed in the villages, basking in their certainties. They too, choose to invest themselves here.

Neither investment is total, unreserved. But Mumbai works on the agglomeration of these hopes: Because so many take their chance here, it is a place worth taking a chance.

The longer you remain, the less you notice what Mumbai looks, smells, sounds like. You think instead of what it could be. You become addicted to the companionship of 19 million other beings. Surrounded by hells, you glimpse paradise.

© 2008 New York Times News Service

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Heads Up

Yeah, yeah, this is a forwarded e-mail. But it it is soooo good not to share. My praises for the one who made it. You made such wonderful points.

Tips to Stay Young and Happy Always

1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight, and height.

Let the doctors worry about them.. That is why you pay them.

2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.

3. Keep learning:

(Keep this in mind if you are one of those grouches!)

Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever.
Never let the brain get idle.
'An idle mind is the devil's workshop.'
And the devil's name is Alzheimer's!

4. Enjoy the simple things.

5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.

And if you have a friend who makes you laugh, spend lots and lots of time with him or her!

6. The tears happen:

Endure, grieve, and move on.
The only person who is with us our entire life, is yourself.
LIVE while you are alive.

7. Surround yourself with what you love:

Whether it's family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever.
Your home is your refuge.

8. Cherish your health:

If it is good, preserve it.
If it is unstable, improve it.
If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

9. Don't take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to a foreign country, but NOT where the guilt is.

10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.



"The man who fills the post of trust never is the right sort of man."

- Great Expectations

- Charles Dickens

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Form and Substance

Friend and I went to her office.

I said: Would you like me to just wait here? (Crossing my fingers that Friend would say yes… para maiba naman…)

Two long, designer seats at each side of the hall… Hmm… I can smell the comfort and solitude of waiting… not to mention the occasional coming of people aiming for the lifts.

Me began to sit, while friend starts for the lift door.


Friend reacts…

What to do, I said… Either I am too heavy for them, or they're just too weak for people like me.
Good-looking seats do not serve its substance… too bad… Now wishing Friend will be back soon.

Me sits down and took PSP… Dance folder… Crystal Waters (my flavor-of-the-month song… Destination Calabria)… power indicator flashes…. Ooopppsss… I didn’t charge it last night… now I have 10 (or 15 minutes) to drool over her song).


Me eyes surveyed the room and finds out: hmmm…. Now is the right time to take my trip on these auto-doors. Me have always wondered how far is your distance before it opens…

Me being playful that day, started to go away from the door. Far enough… Faced the door and stepped right foot forward towards the door, as if it’s a dance step. Me is making. Door did not open… One step closer… Left foot… No open… Right foot… No open… Left foot… Voila! Open!

M.A. Mission Accomplished.


Me sits down really slow, so sofa won’t squeak. It still did.


Guard passes by… I think I saw him half-grinning, half-smiling at me.

Me smiled back… Oh well, people maybe jolly for it’s the New Year…

Or. Maybe...

Maybe he saw me, dancingly playing with the doors…. And me grinned, too.

Lift opens…

Friend and I walked out the door.

Me told friend about the little dance.

Friend said: Ahhhh… so that’s probably why they were laughing there at the monitor room.


So someone saw me did the dance… So what? I de-stressed and I made them happy…

Happy Me…


Bottom's Up


Other Interests:
Gerilya - by Norman Wilwayco
Grand Prize Winner: 2008 Palance Awards
Free download of this book here

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Dreams 01/01/09

It's been a while: since I've been told that I am talking in my sleep.

Until today.

Abel - my room mate - told me that she heard me last night, talking... or was it singing? She was't really sure.

Really? I said.

Flashbacks... Recalls...

Yes, I think she's right... I think I was dreaming about videokes... I've been nostalgic lately, right? So there are thoughts of these things, actually.

Then, she said, I was also talking.... somewhat like that.

Flashbacks. Recalls.

I said yes. Because I think I was dreaming about looking for a job... and landed on an interview. Ugh! That's the furthest I went... because I woke up... Hmmm... I should have gotten back to sleep. I might have been called for a second interview... at the least... LOL!


2009, here you are!

I am thinking of giving my blog a new face.

What face?


Enough of serious business?


It's about time I go a little insane...

I might probably a better me...

<<<<< >>>>>

Okay... Crystal Waters is really good...


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