MY NEW BLOG: The Ciudadista: Life in the City

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Some points about the new Tangata Whenua party

New Zealand News - - John Tamihere: Maori Party has lot of explaining to do

MP John Tamihere discusses the issues in the new Maori party.

Will this new party prosper and deliver its promise?

Get Real Philippines site, a review

Home: Get Real Philippines!

I saw this website on another blog's links. I visited it before and visited it again just now when it appeared on the address bar while typing my club's Yahoo! Geocities homepage. It was another adventure to weird and wacky sites...

This website seemed to be a repository of mostly articles from Filipino columnists. (The articles seemed to be illegally syndicated aka copyright infringement.) The author writes a few words too.

Does this give an accurate view of the Philippines? No. These are the works of radicalist and cynics hoping to win their agendas. The ideas and wordings are no different to left-wing or right-wing groups anywhere. Some of the complaints against Filipino society and culture are also observable in other cultures like Indian, Chinese, New Zealander, to name a few.

The view is rather simplistic probably parochial is much more fitting term.

Is it credible? Yes and No. The columnists whose works are posted there are credible but the author I do not think so. What is his credentials to declare such claims?

It seems that they have an on going discussion on various internet forums. (I was tempted to join and post comments on the forums but decided that my time and bandwidth not to mention my brain have better priorities. Anyway, I do not join internet discussion boards as a personal policy.) If the people who own this website are serious with their agenda to improve the Philippines why do they have to hide behind aliases? Why push their agendas only to internet forums only which have limited reach? I consider them as cowards.

I think my counter arguments to this site has been aired through the letters pages.

Visitors must read with caution as most of the ideas borders impossibility and short sightedness. If one disagrees with the content do not send an email to the webmaster. The author might even enjoy receiving hate mail.

Bilingual post

Ito ang aking unang beses na pagsulat na bilingual. Layon kong ipahayag ang akin nasaisip sa paggamit ng wikang Filipino at Ingles.

Sa aking matagal-tagal na pamumuhay dito sa Nueva Zelanda naramdaman kong mas malapit ako sa mundo kay sa ako ay nasa Pilipinas. Halos lahat ng lahi ay nandito sa dulo ng mundo. May mga Tsino, Indonesian, Polynesian, mga Europeo, Melanesian, mga Latino at kung anu-ano pang mga lahi. Sa tingin ko hindi na nagiging hadlang ang layo ng bansang ito para makipagugnayan sa mga ibang lahi, cultura at mga bansa. Siguro, ganito talaga ang kapalaran ng isang maliit at mayamang bansa na nagpapahintulot ng immigration.

Ang Salin / The Translation

This is my first time to write bilingual. I aim to express my ideas in both Filipino and English languages.

In my stay in New Zealand I felt that I am closer to the rest of the world than back in the Philippines. Almost all nationalities are represented in this country including the Chinese, Indonesia, Polynesians, Europeans, Melanesians, Latinos to name a few. I think New Zealand's distance to the rest of the world is now no longer a problem to reach out and connect to other nations, races and cultures. Probably this multiculturalism in this episode of New Zealand history can only happen in rich nations with small populations and have active immigration programs.

Friday, May 28, 2004

You can never compare apples and oranges!

There are many uninformed people who are wrong to compare Philippine elections to other electoral exercises all over the world. They do not know a single thing about what they are talking about and not even knowing the right information. You cannot compare Philippine elections to other elections for many things. First, the Philippines does not have the same electoral system as India or the United States. Second, the Philippines is an archipelago which means that it will take time for electoral returns be sent to the head quarters of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). Third, the Philippine electorate elects not only a president but also a legislature and local government which is about 20 names. Fourth, both houses of congress are mandated by the charter to canvass the president and vice-president votes.

The topic I so love to hate is comparing Philippine and Indian and Spanish elections. (As someone who watched every day of the BBC's Indian election coverage and tackled some Spanish modern social history it is just right for me to write this.) First of all the Indians and the Spanish only have to elect a member of parliament or even a party for proportional representation. Once the MPs are elected in every electorate the majority party will become the new government and will determine the new prime minister or head of government. In the case of the Philippines, like what was mentioned above Filipinos have to elect about 20 people in various posts. Before congress counts the presidential and vice-presidential votes the ballots have to be counted in the local level first to determine the composition of the legislature and local governments common sense will suggest that this takes time to do.

If you compare the French presidential elections with the Philippine exercise it is still not the same thing since the French do not elect the same number of people as the Filipinos.

If the Philippines has the same system of government and electoral system as India, Spain or France it is right to compare if the results of elections is slow.

A lesson to be learned is to know the topic FIRST before opening one's mouth or begin writing.

Some websites to visit and learn about things:
Elecciones - Ministry of Interior of Spain
Electoral Commission of India
Les Élections - Ministry of Interior of France
Commission on Elections, Philippines
Administration and Cost of Elections Project (has links to other election related websites)
Voting systems (a Wikipedia article)

Looking for a café

Around 7pm I was with friends in Lambton Quay looking for a place to drink coffee. We started walking from the top of Lambton Quay to go to the first Starbucks and it was closed. We walked further to the other Starbucks at the Old Bank arcade and it was closed.

We walked to Hotel Intercontinental and discovered that the bar only serves coffee, alcoholic drinks and no cakes to go with the coffee. We walked to the other establishments and realised that they are all pubs and were full of smoke.

We decided to head back to my friends' car and head home to call it a day.

My feet and legs were aching as we were soaking in the evening autumn rain.

What a night.

Getting more Australian owned?

Bank acquisition raises Aussie influence issue - from the NBR

The National Bank of New Zealand's ownership by the ANZ Banking Group can be dangerous as all of New Zealand's major banks are now owned by Australian banks like Westpac Banking Corporation, ANZ New Zealand and ASB Bank (Commonwealth Bank of Australia). Since banks operating in New Zealand are owned by Australian banks any volatility or negative changes in the Australian banking system can also affect the New Zealand banking system.

Corporate fraud like those of Enron and WorldCom can happen anywhere and a similar happening like that in Australian banking will affect New Zealand.

In a consumer point of view these Australian owned banks can lead to loss of competition in the market. These major banks may not offer customers products and services that are better and cheaper. One day these major banks can charge $1 for every EFT-POS transaction and increase loan fees 10 times.

It is too late as the sale of the National Bank has been approved. What the rest of New Zealand can do is to be vigilant at least.

Impartiality of JDV and Drilon?

Susan Roces doubts impartiality of JDV, Drilon

Speaker De Venecia and Senate President Drilon are as impartial as Senator Angara and the rest of the opposition bloc can be.

What a stupid comment!

I just wish her husband loses this election!

Student loans and more student loans!

New Zealand is enjoying its good time with the announcement of billions of dollars of budget surplus by the current Labour government.

It seems that not everyone is enjoying this. Almost every domestic student in New Zealand universities have a student loan. These students not only have to borrow for tuition fees but also borrow for living costs. This is a sad fate for New Zealand youths. They are not earning good money yet and they are already in debt.

Average student debt is about USD 12,000 and will take years for students to pay for them. Once a student stops studying full time their loans are charged 7.5% per year or the prevailing market rates.

Student loans are a sad reality and can discourage the best and the brightest Kiwi minds.

Militant students from the various universities and polytechs, if they had their way want a universal allowance for all students, a complete write-off and some even demand free education until the tertiary level.

It is undeniable that New Zealand students have a problem with their student loans. The best thing that New Zealand can do is to impose only a discounted interest rate for their student loans at least it will become bearable for them.

New Zealand militant students however, must also realize that their is a cost to everything. There is no such thing as totally free education and they cannot expect their government and international students to fully fund their universities.

No, I do not have the final and lasting solutions on this problem. The answers are on the hands of the New Zealand government that will listen and understand both sides of the issue.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

The latest NZ national budget

Business News - Budget boosts families incomes over three years

As a person coming from the developing world reports from other countries that enjoy big budget surpluses or have so much money are things people like me can only wish for for our countries. Instead of hearing good news about our economies or improving quality of life we get stupid filibustering politicians, brainless leaders and a mixture of scandals and destabilisation plots.

I just wish that countries like New Zealand will spend their extra money to help those who really need them and sectors that need the most funding or assistance. One of my wishes is that they can help their young people get quality education without borrowing too much money. I also wish that their people can get the best health care possible so that they do not need to wait in long queues/waiting lists or spend so much from their pockets to pay for treatments.

On the other hand, New Zealanders and other citizens of the rich nations must count their blessings as their governments that are active in the redistribution of wealth are rare. I do not think there are many governments in Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Africa that are capable of this feat.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Safe sex may not be safe at all?

Watch out: safe sex is not that safe - May 24, 2004

Another good point to consider in the debate over family planning or birth control in the Philippines.

I think the best way to solve this population problem is education. In nations with highly educated populations their birth rates are not a problem. The fall of birth rates in rich nations is not the cause of contraception entirely but is due to people thinking better and clearer.

If the Catholic Church would be thanked for a low AIDS rate in that country it must be due to its doctrine of abstinence. Obviously abstinence is the best and safest way to stop AIDS.