Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Now for something completely different

I was checking my Posting index, and I realized that I hadn't made a peep since early October. Work, plus a lot of stressful activities have of course managed to pre-empt any chance of me from making observations on the going on's.

The newspapers are of course just about picking up on stories about how the HK WTO talks will be bound to fail (there is one story on the SCMP just about every other day), and of course the Bird Flu pandemonium (which is of course raising concerns among the usually unflappable Hong Kongers. Of course we had La Presidente here in HK a week ago, and the SCMP ran a rather unflattering Editorial Cartoon of hers sliding to Disneyland and looking at her kababayan's and saying "Just like you, I have Sunday's Off too".

But what has been pre-occupying me, aside from my wife's almost constant vigil on any Bird Flu related news, is my expiration of my lease.

Your lease you say? But how mundane! Well, it could have been easier if things had gone according to plan. The Landlord could have had the courtesy to inform his tenant that he was raising his rent, two months earlier. Instead, he was incommunicado for two months, only responding to my agent, just over the week, forcing us to scramble to find newer digs.

Mind you, HK right now is not very cheap. The newspapers keep saying its 1997 again, and I tend to agree that market prices are scrambling up, especially in the area I live in. Thus, with a heavy heart, my wife and I went to Discovery Bay to look at what some of colleagues are raving as quiet living.

Quiet is the word. Having lived in a working class district, we've gotten used to jackhammers and traffic over us. Instead, we were confronted with serene landscapes and some breath taking views of HK Disneyland. It reminds me of a private subdivision, which in essence it is. Plus, the flats are cheap, and we've got tons of space for our precious little daughter to roll around.

Now that we are sold on it, the hard part comes. Moving, cleaning etc. All in the middle of an impending Christmas holiday, its bound to drive anyone crazy. Hopefully, it will all work out somehow.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

from the heart

Part of my job involves having to visit prison's here in HK, to check up on the status of some of the people we are working with. First of all, unlike Filipino prison's, Correctional Facilities here in Hong Kong are efficiently run and the prisoners are even paid rather regular salaries for work they do on a regular day. Prison's here are often then not located in very quiet locations, the one I last visited was located near a reservoir, and you can actually see a slow cascade of water coming from the walls of the reservoir, as if like some screen saver.

Anyway, on one particular visit, I talked to one of our troubled kababayan's who had been arrested for something like six months already on a charge of trafficking unlawful substances. She had requested for an interview on the matter, and as a matter of course, I obliged. I won't go into the details of what she said, as these matters are best left for the records of the proper authorities. What struck me was the reason behind the fact she actually did the offense. Her story, like countless other stories I've heard, had to do with being hard up, a joyless family life, a child who is dearly loved, a wrong choice that has led to this situation. Yet it struck me, that despite these misfortunes, she looks at the situation and states that there must have been a reason behind this all, as God would not just generally allow you to fall into such a trap, without cause.

Maybe in such dire situations, one has to see the hand of God somewhere and to charge such a matter to experience as need be. Yes, we may have done something wrong, and it the narrow legal viewpoint, it was wrong, but you can't help but think that maybe someone out there has forgiven you already.

Regret and forgiveness can lead to redemption of the heart I guess, and I would like to think that such small acts such as this woman's change of heart and strong will to face whatever she has to undergo, is a lesson for us to live with the decisions that we make.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

lets interpret the law

An interesting story appeared on the front pages of the South China Morning Post today saying that the Chinese Government (and by that I mean Beijing) have decided to ask the surviving members of the Committee that drafted Hong Kong's Basic Law to provide their thoughts as they went about drafting Hong Kong's charter over 20 years ago. Innocently, Beijing stated that this was so that the original intent of certain passages, particularly on the powers and responsibilities of the Chief Executive, Legislative Council, District Councils, can be properly interpreted. This of course sent howls of protest from the usual crowd of democrats such as Martin Lee (who was actually a member of the drafting committee, until he resigned in protest) that such an interpretation, although the intentions may seem pure, would go against the legitimate functions of the Court of Final Appeal (HK's Supreme Court) or the National People's Congress (the law governing body of all China) to interpret the Basic Law.

This of course stems from the fact that the Court of Final Appeal and the NPC have been targets in the past few years of having interpreted the Basic Law rather liberally, to the consternation of the democrats in this city. The most recent example being the brohaha over the length of term of Donald Tsang, who suceeded the hapless Tung Chee Wah. The way it goes, China will ask the sages who wrote the law what they meant by how long and by how much democracy HK must have etc...

Just imagine if that was the case in the Philippines, that those who sat on the Constitutional Convention that drafted the 1987 Constitution had the say, based on their recollection, how the Constitution should be interpreted. Think how interesting life would be now. No offense meant to the men and women who drafted it.

well what now?

I wonder how bloggers and news junkies where able to survive watching the non-stop coverage of the squashing of the impeachment complaint against the President, (I recall having tuned out on 9/11 coverage at a ungodly hour) but it is interesting to note that in the run up to the junking, most of us already knew that the result was already pre-ordained. The events of 5-6 September was to my mind, merely theatrics in our political circus. The question is, what next? Already there is the Black and White Movement with a myriad of faces that, I'm hard pressed to believe would come together. This isn't 2001, wherein those that coalesced against Erap seemed identifiably the Middle Class, NGO and reformist types. We've got Cory, Susan Roces linking arms with Bro. Eddie and Ping Lacson, is something I thought I would never see.

Will this Black and White Movement suceed in pressing for GMA's ouster? In the short term, this seems unlikely. One must note that the Opposition went the impeachment route when the protest route didn't really muster enough people, or just basically turned off some sectors (recall the Ayala Avenue rally, that seemed to frighten people with the mass of unsavory characters). I've read something to the effect that a challenge will be brought to the Supreme Court. Hmm..., methinks the opposition should be really certain that they have an argument which won't just be summarily dismissed by the Court.

One thing is for certain, they've got to do something very dramatic, otherwise, this time next year, no one may be listening to them at all.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Not Acceptable

I'm very glad, in a sad but twisted way, that I've managed to be distracted from the ongoing brohaha in the Home Country by events in faraway New Orleans. I guess it was a sort of presumption on my part that if ever the United States ever encountered any natural disaster, it could cope easily from such problems with no fuss. Instead, the world media was bombarded with images straight out of a third world disaster film. Coming from a country which has had its fair share of tropical cyclones, earthquakes, and the occassional volcanic eruption, a country wherein we rail against the inept response of our officials to anticipate such events, the way the US Government responded to the Hurricane's aftermath was something I would expect from our country, and others like ours. I mean, this is the lone superpower. Watching the coverage on BBC World, which I prefer watching then say CNN for its more European outlook, you could sense some kind of utter disbelief on the part of the commentator that such a country as the United States of America could be humbled by the forces of nature. As my wife and I were watching the coverage, she couldn't help but be puzzled at the sheer ineptitude of the responding officials to the disaster. I mean, the local and the national level officials knew how bad it was, why didn't they prepare as hard as they thought possible? Whats even funnier was the comment of one of the persons initially interviewed during the day the levee's broke, that New Orleans was facing a scenario that was considered the second worst possible outcome. God help the poor people of New Orleans if the worst case scenario had happened.

Perhaps the lesson that can be learned from this kind of disaster is that even mighty nations can be humbled by situations such as this. That in the final analysis, whether one plans it well enough, there will always be variables that will not be taken into consideration. That there are just some things that can't be avoided.

The events of last week will recede from memory, but it is an example of how hubris can lead to such fatal consequences.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Its been a long while...

Hmm... I've noticed that I haven't had the opportunity to write anything new on my blog in the recent past. Events in the Office have somehow made me unable to write down my thoughts on a regular basis. Hopefully, I will be able to do so once again. Just have to make sure something interesting will pop up.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Getting quiet again... somehow

I never realized how pleasant it is when your Boss is in extended holiday. No pressures, deadlines are met, without your pulse quickening. Its almost joyful really. Alas, with my boss back in town, things are bound to pick up somewhat. Workwise that is. ahahahaha...

Friday, July 08, 2005

whats been going on

Its always interesting to be in a foreign country and hear about news from your country and couldn't help feel saddened that "here we go again..." the South China Morning Post has without failed had an article on things going on at home for the past few weeks, without fail, even landing as a side headline on the front page. Have been reading the blogs of some pundits back home, and I have to agree that the Center must hold.

Here in HK, we just celebrated the 7th Anniversary of the return of HK to China, and the usual events, the official and the unofficial were ho-hum to say the least. Even the annual protest march to Central was attended by something like 21,000 people only, not that many people at all in comparison to last year. Donald Tsang has come around looking like a fresh and confident face representing HK, something that is a bit of a misnomer, because the Donald has been an insider of HK's power circles for quite some time already.

In the local community of Filipinos hear, people are abuzz over a mysterious email that has been making the rounds among the influential community leaders. But of course, the situation back home continues to top everyone's thoughts.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


The past few weeks have been hectic, work-wise, but at least things have begun to settle down in this little corner of the world. Over hear, its either been raining like mad, or its really sunny, that people just can't stand it. Politics here in this former Crown Colony is riveted by the new Chief Executive, who was recently "elected", although by whom and how, remains a point of contention. The newspapers are all saying that the July 1 rally might not push through due to some technical snafu, but am sure it will resolve itself somehow. You can always count on the HK people to make a statement no matter what.

Every Filipino I've talked to in the course of the past few days have all been agog about them tapes. I haven't heard them actually, save for the "edited" transcripts that I was able to download from the Inq7.net website sometime ago, and all those Hello Garci ringtones which I have heard from my fellow filipino co-workers. For me, the President should make a statement on this issue as soon as possible. She will lose the momentum on the issue, and she can seriously lose control of events. So far, she has dictated what the government should focus on, economic reforms, peace process, etc. but if your news is drowned out by all this "political noise" the message you want to convey may be lost. This reminds me of all those Communication Theory classes I took back in College where I sucessfully explained to my professor that the sender-receiver theory is applicable to current political/economic reporting of events. If your message isn't strong enough, then you and what you say will get lost in the noise.

I've heard that the President will be making a statement at 7:00 PM Manila time. I wonder what she has to say...

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Lost in all those tapes...

With the recent whirl of scandals and sensational stories emanating from Manila was the recent celebration of Independence Day here in Hong Kong.

The big event was on Sunday itself when the Philippine Consulate in HK, along with some Filipino companies (SMART, Solar Resources, etc.) held a big whole day program for the Filipino community in Chater Garden, in the heart of Central. The program started with a parade of the various Community Organizations in their native/regional costumes, followed by a cultural program of the various dances/songs in the various regions in the Philippines, followed by entertainment from the UST Action Singers Alumni Ensemble (which is pretty much a mouthful) giving some Pinoy songs, Broadway Hits and some Jazz, then ending with a local Filipina singer. But what would a Fiesta like day be without raffle prizes? Even if the sun was hot, and the weather was really stiffling, it was nice to forget the problems besetting your country even for one day, just to celebrate and remember the ideals of our forebears 107 years ago.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Just gets my juices raging...

I got a text message from my real estate agent saying that the bank hasn't gotten the amount that I sent to them yet... yet another reason why I don't like banks very much.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

decisions, decisions

Hay... the older I get, the more difficult things always turn out to be in life. I was thinking about this because of the many decisions that I have to make, along with my wife, on things that will affect us in the next few years. These are financial, health, education (for the kid) and a host of other things. It makes me dizzy, but I know we have to struggle through this somehow. Such is the complexity that we call life nga. I would wish it was as simple as whether to take this class or that one, but its not; its a totally whole new ball game once you have to make decisions like this. You have to live with the consequences nga for a while to come. Just a random thought

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Not another manic Monday

This is not turning into a very good day. One problem after another seems to be hounding me today, and what is worse, am stuck with only one other case officer, as two of my case officers are sick, one is on leave, and one is in court. Hayayay... top it off, I have to send some documents out by the end of the day, and a mini presentation to boot... Arrggggh....

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Rooting for the Sith

Well, finally George Lucas got it right.

After two rather mediocre films, with such asinine dialogue, George Lucas delivered a finale worthy of his original 1977 - 1983 saga.

Granted, that there were some rather cheesy lines (Anakin, you're breaking my heart) the action more then compensated for it. The purge of the Jedi order kind of reminded you of those that occurred during the 1930's in Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany, and the fall of Anakin Skywalker was slightly classic, despite the motivation leading to it seemed a little stilted.

Loose ends were tied up, and we all know that the baby boy left with his step uncle and aunt in Tatooine would one day bring back the good to his father, proving that he still had a soul, and thus fulfilled the prophecy that he would be the one to bring balance to the force, i.e. eliminate the Sith. We saw some characters who would play some roles in the original series, although briefly (Bail Antilles, Grand Moff Tarkin, Chewbacca) and we are treated to probably the best light saber fight since the battle Luke fought with his father in Return of the Jedi.

And like, yeah, as if Christopher Lee can jump that high and do acrobatics like that. Overall, "Revenge of the Sith" can be said to be "Revenge of the George". Thank you Mr. Lucas, you can make your small quirky movies now.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

A typical meeting...

In a few hours, before I get to have the opportunity to watch the third installment of a largely disappointing Star Wars Prequel, which hopefully will redeem George Lucas in the eyes of his millions of fans, I just had to recall that funny meeting the other day in the office.

Like all meetings in this office of ours, it never ever starts on time, so when I had assumed that the meeting had been cancelled, it comes out that we've actually got one going already. Like all meetings, we've a lack of chairs. The meeting was at midstream already, so I just had to pick up the train of thought going amidst me.

Apparently we are going over an issue that has been brought up before the same group for probably the past few weeks, with my boss still wavering on whether to do this, or to do that, and changing her mind after every session. You could tell that some of us seem to want to roll our eyes over and over again, saying to ourselves, here we go again... Then one of our colleagues decides to break a joke, then runs through an interesting anecdote of what he would be wearing those days, as we are talking about an upcoming event. Gee, I don't think we wanted to know that, but nevertheless, we decided to laugh along to get it over with. Fortunately, I had another meeting, so I excused myself after 20 minutes or so, and then I discover from those in the meeting that my division got assigned something, right after I left. Isn't that nice...

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Attended a seminar this afternoon at the Dutch Consulate which featured the various ways one can forge the various visas of certain western countries. What was interesting to note was that the examples they used, aside from the mainland nationals, where those of Filipinos. It just goes to show that some Filipinos will go to great lengths to leave for other countries to seek greener pastures and the fact that there are some unscrupulous individuals who will satisfy this demand.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Back in HKSAR

Finally got back to HK the other day, not after a rather bizarre experience going home. The plane boarded rather on time, a first for me, but we were held up for fifteen minutes or so because two of the passengers of the flight had "other documentary regulations" that they needed to fulfill.

On landing in HK, we had arrived just right smack on the same time the HK Observatory had declared an Amber Rain Warning, which effectively grounded the ground crew from opening the plane doors and getting out all our luggage. What would usually take 20-30 minutes to go out became something like an hour and a half. Well at least that was the worst that happened that day.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Another one of those days

Seems like this vacation in Manila is turning into one problem after another.

First off, on May 1, while we were in Tagaytay, my wife lost her cellphone in this tony mountain resort's restaurant. No one of course will admit it though. Then when as we were going back to Manila, we got caught in traffic in Tagaytay City for two hours, while cars where wizzing past us, unmindful of all the other patient drivers who had decided to follow the road courtesies.

Then, there was the car battery of the car that I was driving that just died on me while in Greenhills, causing me to have to pay for a new battery, plus the time the radiator almost overheated.

Can't wait to get back to HK.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

on the road to cabanatuan

Its been some days since my last post as me and the family are now in Manila for a short two week vacation. Its been quite a tiring past few days actually. We first went to Cabanatuan City in Nueva Ecija province to attend the wedding of one of my wife's friends. It seemed like a rather conventional wedding, with the exception of people clapping at the bride as she was making her processional (which kind of ruined to mood for my wife) and the fact that people left in droves even when the reception wasn't over. One thing that I discovered was how beautiful and fast the North Expressway is; its almost like going to one of those major free ways in HK or in any Western society. Cool prices as well... I guess that is the cost of progress.

Once out of the NLEX, we entered Maharlika Highway for the trip to Cabanatuan. For the unitiated, Maharlika Highway is the major artery leading all the way to Cagayan and Isabela Province, and was one of the many roads inaugurated during those heady days of the New Society. A comparative road to its west is Macarthur Highway, which crosses Bulacan to La Union. From here, the scenes are more laid back and bucolic. Although you can see modern life creeping up here and there, what with the many fast food outlets in the major towns, and the numerous modern "resorts" catering to the middle classes of these provinces. Yet, you could see the old country charm that is missing when you drive through Manila, what with all those genteel charms of country life like children lazily running around the streets, and those medieval penitents, carrying crosses to holy sites far from our minds.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

a tad bit sick

The last few days have not been quite good for me. I suppose because we are rushing a lot of stuff before we leave for Manila, my body can't seem to take it that much, and I seem to have some kind of cold or fever, as I have been struggling through the last few nights to get to sleep. Seems like a good cup of tea and some smooth music helped me through the early morning. Am actually thinking if I feel any worse, I will probably just leave early as well.

On another note, finally got the pictorials they took of me sometime in January, for God knows what reason. They look absolutely cool, almost like a Mafia Don or something...

Saturday, April 16, 2005


We just finished our quarterly meeting here at the Office, although today is a day off, we still had to meet for something like two hours. Its funny really how meetings like this can spin out of control from the agenda. There was an agenda, but we haven't actually come around to following it. Sigh... at least we got some goto and a can of coke for our trouble. Some consolation.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Happy Birthday to me...

I celebrated my 28th birthday today, and I woke up a little maudlin (god, does anyone use that word anymore???) knowing that my demographic is now firmly the late 20's. Soon, I'll be hitting my early 30's and so forth. I remember last year when I celebrated my birthday, I just watched a movie as my wife was still in Manila and we were conducting the very first Overseas Absentee Voting ever, i.e., wasn't really one of those days that you felt you wanted to celebrate another milestone of turning one year older.

A year later, with an 8 month old daughter, still a lot of work on my desk, and an understanding wife by my side, I feel happy that I'm here and that God's given me another year to look forward to of new experiences, and the ability to reflect on a lot of things that I have done in the past, which were instrumental in the makeup of the person that is me. This journal will try to capture and evolve what I think and what I remember. What I say, and what I reflect on life. Well here goes...