Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Why is poverty getting globalized?

Sharing resources and spreading access to different kinds of opportunities is one of the ideals of a just society. When fewer and fewer people share resources and the rest of the world population share only deprivation and misery, this is another trend of a globalizing world.

The trouble with globalizing poverty is that humanity's higher self gets smaller and smaller until it is thrown into stagnation. Who rescues humanity's higher self?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Floods: What do they teach us?

I was in Legazpi on February 21, supposedly to prepare for the facilitation work for the Bicol Regional Rural Congress. It would have been a time to listen to the issues of people's organizations in the rural area.It would have been a time to think seriously of the link of the urban and the rural strategies in community organizing work.

In the afternoon of February 21, the radio blared: Albay is in a semi-state of emergency. Because of the continuous heavy rains since the week that passed flooding couldn't be avoided. This inevitable flooding after a week even with heavy rains didn't happen in the past 15 years. This flooding is the first after Typhoon Reming of December 2006.

Remembering the law of nature that says "Everything must go somewhere" I could only strike my breast in contriteness. Yes, by our silence, action or omission, we have allowed plastic garbage to clog the city's drainage system. We have allowed deforestation. We have allowed the unabetted emission of carbon dioxide into the
atmosphere. All these affirms nature's law: Everything must go somewhere. We have allowed forces to weaken or cut the connectedness of the web of life. Now the floods come to our doorsteps.

More than what we carelessly do to destroy the balance of our ecosystems are the thoughts that we nurture to weaken or destroy our inner person's ecosystem. Quantum Physics teaches us that thoughts are energy. Everything must go somewhere. Where do our thoughts go? Do we let them loose so that they do not return to the home of our human values but to wander in the dimension of human greed and the limitless need to acquire that which would never satisfy the human heart anyway?

Flooding is the universe's way of letting us remember our birthright: We have an individual as well as a universal purpose in life. Our thoughts, contrapuntal, that is, must go somewhere. Unlike the garbage that we throw into the drainage system which brings us floods, our destructive thoughts thrown into the ecosystem of our hearts and minds work inwardly by cutting our connection from the source of all matter, being and intelligence.Everything must go somewhere. If what we do is to turn away from the source we find ourselves somewhere far away from the source. It would take a lot of hard work on our part to go back home to that somewhere, to that place where we will get connected again to everything that is life-giving.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Government Hates "Eyesores".

I was with a group of Thais on an exposure visit to Manila. They wanted to learn why it is so easy for people in power to violate the laws that are supposed to protect the poor in the city. They wanted to learn if people with higher income in the Philippines had it in their sensibilities to see the deprivations and alienation of the poor from the standpoint of the poor. It is not just in their own country that they know of poor people's rights being violated. That's the reason they came. To see how poor people in the city fare in this so-called "pearl of the orient seas".

We went to Tatalon, a place near a waterway that the government wanted cleared of urban poor homes because the sight of shanties offends the eyes of investors. For the city to look seductive there should be no "eyesores".

Narrow views on "eyesores". For an introspecting government, success isn't dispossessing the poor of the city. It is identifying how their human potentials are maximized. This was not so in Tatalon.

Entering the covered basketball court, you see 88 families each occupying around 2 square meters for whatever it is they have in life - a kettle, a frying pan, a disfigured basin, old mats, old pails, a few plates a straw sack of clothes. Not much in terms of acquisition which you would think is actually an indicator of success if you were a philosophy student.

As you set your eyes on the different corners of the covered court, you see a number of women sleeping at a very untimely moment of the day. Because they had nothing to do. Because forcibly evicting them from where they were making a living was reducing them to liabilities. And we complain about poor people becoming social problems.

Talking to some people in the covered area, we were told by one mother that the night before bullies in the neighborhood hurled stones on the door of the covered court.
When their men went out to look for the offenders, a man from nowhere hacked at one man's back, the blade of the big knife used fortunately had not cut the upper back portion of the man. But in the end the hacker had succeeded in hacking at the hand of the intended victim and saw the small finger of his left hand dangling like a doll's finger pulled off by an angry toddler. On another night, the previous night,
another group of bullies came near the door of the covered court. When asked why they were there, they angrily retorted that they were the ones being provoked to anger by the language of their eyes. The wife of the leader of the group was in tears when she was relating what happened two nights before.

You wonder how people in power carry out the oath that they pronounced when they took the responsibility of being a public servant. Oaths are taken always in people's name .But these promises remain empty words.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Google Maps

If you want a bit of "desktop tourism" to stretch your tired back, Google provides net surfers with different types of maps. If it is the "ancient wonders of the world" that you want to trace you can just follow the link on the right side of this blog. The "wonders of the modern world" are also here. Look at the right hand corner of the page where you are and scroll down. Choose what you want to see. Is it the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Brazil that you want to see? Just click the place and the information that you want to know from each country in the world map.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Society Needs Writers

Before I discovered a very good website for writers - - my writing life
was highlighted by a number of published poems and poetry workshops and friends' impatience at the way I am wasting away my literary gifts by not rushing to publish my poetry.

When I found out about a team of writers in Australia who care for writers, it was as if my writing self gave birth to a new direction for me to take. The panel of writers at the University of the Philippines' Writers' Workshop where I was once a fellow were right when they advised us, struggling writers, that we should always connect with writers wherever we go. Even if the writers we meet are total strangers to us. That's the only way to thrive as a writer. Those seasoned writers were right. Alone, a writer can easily give up on his/ her craft. Because the ink that blots a writer's page imitates life. And when life's layers are peeled off, and it's usually the writers who have the energy to get at the core of meanings, the writer sticks to his truths and doing so usually makes isolation his/her good company.

Writers are usually made of a not-so-ordinary stuff even if they look so ordinary.Why society still strives for higher purposes is from a big part due to the creative spirit that writers feed on. Without these group of people, who will society call to do the so-called menial errand (because society forgets to pay its writers well)of salvaging the broken pieces of a nation's aspirations?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A Very Good Writing Group

Dear Fellow Writer surfing the web:

There are countless writing sites in the internet and you
can just get dizzy choosing which site you'd visit to really help you be a good writer. I was in a situation like you.I wanted to improve my writing and be inspired. I wanted to go to a site where I would never experience being shortchanged. Thank God, I found a really good writer and teacher. Rob Parnell, you'll find out in the website below, is a great teacher; a writer's friend. He doesn't make you feel you are a kindergarten in the field of writing. Obviously, he could have charged more for any of the courses he teaches. But he's a writer's friend more than a writer earning from his writing and teaching. Take it from me. I got a lot of writing tips and push to write again from the first online course I took under him. In fact, I am saving for another online course with him. I'm interested in the fiction writing course with
him "closely" mentoring the me throughout the learning process.

If you're looking for a teacher who you think you can rely on, you can trust,who will walk with you as you struggle with your writing and who will treat you with respect as a fellow writer, here's the site to visit:

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Meaning of Life

I didn't have any plans of writing an autobiography. That's only for the VIPs in society, I thought. In my more than four decades of reading autobiographies, and biographical novels too, it never occurred to me to place myself along with "people who matter" in society. In the course of my musings, I remembered the thoughts of Eckhart Tolle, a spiritual teacher who was recently introduced to me by a friend. A New Earth, Awakening to Life's Purpose, Eckhart Tolle's bestselling book given to me by a friend, taught me how to deal with the inner voices or sometimes I wish to call them inner demons that steal my peace of mind.

In my musings about autobiographies and biographies being for VIPs only, I realized that the concept of perceiving myself as less than a VIP is a kind of self-flagellation. By saying this, I don't mean I should steal the limelight being a person as important as the Queen of England. By looking at my real worth and meaning as a human being and therefore feeling just as important as the very important persons in society, I undo layers of false perceptions and concepts about my presence in this planet. In my musings I remembered the teachings of Eckhart Tolle. You may want to visit this site:

And for help on how to write a sparkling autobiography, you may like to visit this site: