Friday, October 12, 2007

Five points for Friday

Of favors and entitlement

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo invited those loyal to her in Congress yesterday to Malacanang, where they were treated with a photo-op with Manny Pacquiao. And if that wasn't enough, they each were reportedly given envelopes with as much as P500,000 as "sendoff gifts," as well as promises for millions more in the form of pork barrel. A smart move, you might say, for Ms. Arroyo needs all the protection she can get, especially after another impeachment complaint was filed against her.

An anonymous congressman who confirmed the handing out of envelopes stressed that it was not meant to influence the outcome of the impeachment complaint. "You don't kill an impeachment with that meager amount," he said.

I imagine that somewhere in Malacanang, Ms. Arroyo is awakened by this news. Kulang pa, she thinks to herself, wondering how much more she has to dish out to keep safe.

“It’s normal at the end of the session days for congressmen to be given tokens of remembrance,” said another lawmaker. “[C]ongressmen worked extended hours for the national budget. They slept very little. So it’s but natural for the party to make members feel that they are remembered.”

These are direct quotes, readers -- straight out of the Inquirer. Presenting the sense of entitlement in your public servants.

Of unrealistic brilliance

Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. filed a measure to penalize cab drivers for not giving exact change to passengers, attempting to put to a stop a practice he called the "subtle hold-up," and citing balikbayans and tourists as among those who fall victim to this, a concern of his now that Christmas is approaching.

Brilliant law. Sound intent. Question:

Just imagine yourself getting off at home and you're not given change. There are no police officials around for you to complain to. You're left to take the plate number of the cab as well as the name of the cab company. You file a complaint to the police -- if you'd still have the patience. The officials hear you out, but I find it hard to imagine them actually tracking this one cab driver down.

But brilliant law. Really.

Of losing even lost causes

The Filipino-American that met with ABC officials on behalf of the Fil-Am community in reaction to the Desperate Houswives mess is now being criticized by the very people he's representing.

Other Fil-Ams say that he no longer represents the views of the community, ever since his discussion with network execs turned from that of demanding an apology to talk of more job opportunities within the television industry for Fil-Ams.

In the end, this supposed representative became a "sell-out," according to other Fil-Ams, who are still more adamant in protesting against ABC than compromising.

A lost cause deserves a lost sense of purpose if you ask me. We're all losers in the end.

Of Christmas in October

Today, Muslims celebrate their version of Christmas -- or at least that's what most ignorant minds have called Eid al-Fitr. FYI: It's the end of Ramadan (yes, that's why it's a holiday), the month-long period of fasting and restraint which a majority of the world's population partake in every year. And every year, Muslims celebrate its end in a three-day fiesta of sorts.

It was much more of a big deal when we were living in Jakarta. I kind of felt that we were partaking in Ramadan as well. Our maids would have to wake up 3AM every day, eating what would serve as breakfast and lunch for them before sunrise. I remember our Muslim classmates would be encouraged to spend lunch break in the school library so they wouldn't feel uncomfortable (and so we non-Muslims wouldn't feel uncomfortable) while we ate. Our driver used to break his fast in the evening with a couple of mint candies while driving Mom home.

Ramadan's end was a blast for us. The food was awesome, though that probably has more to do with Indonesian cuisine than Islamic culture -- I don't think spicy lamb and rice cakes are a part of Muhammad's teachings. There's a Muslim community that frequents a mall near where we live in Paranaque, where some of them run a few food establishments. I'm thinking about checking it out, expecting to see some good food -- or a lot of cheerful people at the very least.

Of coups

A coup is developing. No, not one involving the military and our president.

I'm thinking smaller scale, and I'm involved. I can feel it. And I don't mind it so much. Necessary evil, I think. To light a fire under their asses, I said.

Means that you're in it for the right reasons, I said. But the right reasons haven't exactly led to the best results. Yet. I manage to wake up in this position because of that "yet." I hold on to it, strangle each any every one of those fuckin three letters.


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