Sunday, November 26, 2006

Guymon Days

Haven't posted an entry in quite some time because in between I have been to Manila, Tokyo and Dallas and now I am back in my beloved Guymon, Oklahoma for 5 days. Talk about on my way home..... I wonder where this journey will lead us. I am now amongst my Oklahoma friends. We had a full day on "Black Friday", the day after Thanksgiving, after lining-up in WalMart at 5 am and we also had another full day yesterday. It is so good to see patients after weeks of reflection. The feeling is akin to a pro golfer practicing a swing-drive early on a dewy morning after a month of inactivity.

I hope to be able to post a video one day and show you the idyllic lifestyle here in the Shangri-La of the panhandle.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Manny Pacquiao

Few readers of this blog will recognize this name. Manny is a world champion boxer who won again today in Las Vegas. For the duration of the fight, the Philippines and the Filipinos abroad were united. The crime rate in Manila dwindled to zero, traffic disappeared, church services were poorly attended because most everyone tried to watch the fight live.

We all shared the joy of seeing a countryman do good abroad. We were all happy that he was going to be able to build a mansion in his impoverished province.

Even before the victory, Manny was already being touted to become the vice mayor of Manila. After he won the fight, there was no doubt that he could have easily won the presidential elections if they were held the following day.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Why We Have No New Leaders

Awash in problems, with people dying why is it that there is such a dearth of new leaders willing to make a commitment to work for goals that will produce lasting positive changes that will mainly benefit the weak and the poor?

The political system we have here is lopsidedly stacked against citizens who are not politically-connected and hence politically uncompromised.

There are so many hurdles and legal requirements that effectively disqualify all "non-players". The search will have to center upon this person who made a fortune outside of the Philippines because anyone who has made or inherited big sums in the Philippines will have to have made arrangements with the Internal Revenue Service, agrarian reform, the police, the local city government as well as what seems to be the innumerable licensing agencies that form an impregnable wall of politics/business as usual.

This person must make provisions for the security of his/her family; say goodbye to privacy and be prepared to work harder nonstop and put every material consideration on hold while she or he is fully prepared to part with not part but all the honestly hard-earned money saved.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Money Problems

The Asian Development Bank issued a second warning this year that "Brain drain has an impact on foreign direct investment as capital will flow only into economies with perceived adequate supplies of skilled labor in key sectors." Recall how obsessed I have become with production, production, production. It will be tremendously difficult to attract outside money for capital if we do not have the people trained to compete with the rest of the world.

Likewise, "One of the greatest concerns about brain drain is that the continued migration of skilled workers reduces overall productivity." The conclusion is pretty self-evident. What is needed is to become acutely aware that this bonanza of remittances will not last forever and should serve as a bridge while we emphasize programs that will make us self-sufficient.

Note that these concerns are purely from a financial perspective. The post directly preceding this illustrates another social cost that we will have to deal with in the future.

Saturday, November 4, 2006

Sad Story

I saw on TV yesterday a touching story about how a producer thought of surprising a domestic worker in Hong Kong with a totally unexpected visit from her teenage daughter whom she had not seen in a long time.

The segment opened with an interview of the Filipina where she described her life. Not too bad except for the overwhelming desire to be with her "baby". She said that she was prepared to sacrifice indefinitely so long as her daughter was cared for by her parents back in the Philippines. Reminded me of what Mother Teresa once said, that it was not the poverty that sucked the life out of those unfortunate people in the streets of Calcutta rather it was the crushing loneliness.

Back to the tearful reunion, mother and daughter were treated to a day in Hong Kong Disneyland but what was most touching was despite all the rides and stuffed animals, mother and daughter were overjoyed just being together. They held each other closely and the daughter wished for her mother to come back home.

This is a story that is repeated millions of times every single day. Striving to escape poverty is a tremendously difficult process.

Thursday, November 2, 2006

maggie and milly and molly and may

maggie and milly and molly and may.
went down to the beach (to play one day)
and maggie discovered a shell that sang so sweetly
she couldn't remember her troubles,
and milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;
and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:
and may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone
for whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea

e.e. cummings

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

All Saints Day

Today is the day everybody troops to the cemeteries. This is the day when we remember our dead. This would be a combination of Memorial Day and Thanksgiving Day when family members make their way to their respective ancestral roots and remember the dearly departed.

Certainly a curious feast considering All Souls Day falls the day after November 1 but if you want to witness a spectacle all you'll need to do is go to the town cemetery and you will see the entire place dotted with tents and blankets with people teeming all over.

For the enterprising who choose to open a concession stand for food and drink and flowers, a killing can be quickly made.

This is the first time in 18 years that I found myself back in the cemetery for ASD. There is so much faith and family in my poor and troubled country.