MY NEW BLOG: The Ciudadista: Life in the City

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Australian government refuses to sign non-aggression treaty with ASEAN

(Updated 1:14 AM, 29 November 2004)

Australian Prime Minister John Howard said that he will not sign a non-aggression pact with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) ahead of group's tenth summit in Vientiane, Laos next week.

Howard's actions is in line with his policy of using pre-emptive strikes in fighting terrorism. However, support for the treaty is seen a sign of good will and a prerequisite for further bilateral agreements with Australia.

The pact called the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) in Southeast Asia which was first signed by the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore on 24 February 1976 in Bali, Indonesia. It is one of the 10 member nation grouping's founding documents. The treaty binds a country against the use of aggressive force and non-interference with ASEAN member states. Japan, China, India and Pakistan are some of the nations that has signed the agreement with the Southeast Asian nations.

New Zealand, represented by Prime Minister Helen Clark will also join the summit along with Mr. Howard and ASEAN leaders including the Philippines' President Gloria Arroyo.

The start of the negotiations for a free trade agreement between ASEAN, New Zealand and Australia is the expected outcome of the summit.

What does this mean?

Australia may have a hard time negotiating for a free trade deal with Southeast Asia. It also challenges PM Howard to modify or abandon his pre-emptive strike policy.

If Australia wants to push for economic and peaceful ties with it's northern and north western neighbours Canberra must respect their sovereignty. Problems are solved better with consensus.

How about speaking out?

Signing the TAC will forbid a foreign government in commenting against domestic policies. Is it wrong for a nation to speak out against wrong doings in another country? What if speaking out will put pressure to governments to stop it's abuses against its own people. For example, the human rights abuses by the junta in Myanmar is nothing new but ASEAN members who are TAC signatories are unable to comment or act against the abuses. Also if nations signed a TAC with South Africa it would not have pressured the racist pro-apartheid government to yield to the demands of the international community.

Unfortunately not all ASEAN countries enjoy a "high standard of democracy" like in Canada, New Zealand and Western Europe. (I must say that the Philippines enjoy and good standard of democracy and human rights.) Human rights abuses are prevalent (eg. Myanmar). Signing the TAC will tie hands and silence voices. This I believe is the weakness of the ASEAN TAC

ABC Online: ASEAN treaty push sparks war of words Australia irks Asian countries for rejecting peace pact
NBR NZ: NZ invited to first Asean summit since 1977
XTRA MSN: NZ Considers ASEAN Free Trade Deal
NZ Herald: Clark steering clear of Asean-Australia treaty row
ASEAN Secretariat: Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia Indonesia, 24 February 1976

Myanmar (formerly Burma) and Human Rights
Related news reports through Google News

Friday, November 26, 2004

New Zealand Post mailbox Posted by Hello

Wellington motorway Posted by Hello

A Telecom NZ billboard Posted by Hello

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Electrocuted by electric bills

Our current electricity retailer since moving to this new house is Contact Energy Limited. This company also sells us natural gas for cooking and heating the lounge. Currently the company charges NZD 0.7275 (PHP 29.19) per day and NZD 0.1482 (PHP 5.93) per kilo watt hour for electricity. For gas the tariff is NZD 0.9170 (PHP 36.68) per day and NZD 0.0746 (PHP 2.98) per kilo watt hour.

Since checking options for electricity retailers provided by the Consumers' Institute of New Zealand I have discovered that I could save a lot of money if I switch. The savings may amount up to NZD 209 (PHP 8,360) every year.

The logical action after this discovery is to switch. Contact Energy has one less customer in the next few weeks.

NZ Herald: Contact profit up 22 per cent
NZ Herald: Pain easing for electricity users

Related Post
Electricity in New Zealand

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Filipino Families need at least USD 275 per month to survive

The cost of living in the Philippines is getting more expensive for the common Filipino family although most foreign visitors and Filipinos earning from overseas may find living in the islands cheap.

The average daily wage in Metro Manila is only PHP 280 or USD 4.98 yet studies by think tanks such as the Ibon Foundation say that a family needs at least PHP 500 or USD 8.89 per day. The reason for this is no surprise. A kilo of diced pork is priced at PHP 167 already, how about the cost of rent and utilities?

Most families near and below the poverty line have to compromise their children's nutrition dramatically just to "make ends meet." A lot of impoverished families eat only instant noodles or rice with just salt or sugar sometimes if they get "lucky" rice with canned sardines.

Socialist groups in the Philippine House of Representatives such as the Bayan Muna Party have been pushing for a nationwide PHP 125 daily wage increase in an effort to alleviate the condition of people.

However, I doubt if a wage increase will benefit the economy as a whole. You see, if you are a businessman and is asked to raise your wages of employees in order to fund this rise in cost you can either cut staff or raise prices. Both options can either cause other problems such as unemployment and high inflation. I believe that there are companies in the Philippines that can pay for higher wages without having an effect on their profits but how about the small and medium sized firms all over the Philippines?

The only solution I seen in the mean time is to keep the prices of basic goods as low as possible. Access to low priced basic goods must be guaranteed to all those in dire need. The government must do its job in helping to generate economic activity in the country. Economic activity will most likely lead to more investment, stable prices and more employment. When there are more investments, economic activity, stable prices and less unemployment it could lead to higher wages and people escaping poverty.

Despite Gov’t Figures, the Poor Are Now Worst Off
By Danilo AraƱa Arao

Monday, November 22, 2004

Abortions in New Zealand

Abortions Year ended December 2003

o There were 18,510 abortions performed in New Zealand in 2003, compared with 17,380 in 2002.

o The general abortion rate increased in 2003, from 20.0 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years in 2002 to 21.0 per 1,000.

o Women aged 20–24 years had the highest abortion rate (41.3 abortions per 1,000 women) in 2003.

o The median age of women having an abortion was 24.7 years in 2003.

Source: Statistics New Zealand

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Father acquitted of killing her own disabled baby daughter

In 14 May this year a father from Nelson, New Zealand was arrested and admitted to police in full detail that he has killed his baby daughter whose brain stopped developing at the age of a 13-month-old foetus. On Thursday, 18 November the father was acquitted by a High Court jury of both murder and manslaughter.

This decision has stunned New Zealand from all walks of life.

In my opinion this sets a dangerous precedent for people killing relatives or other people because of their disabilities including their mental incapacities. Like what the Crown (state) prosecutor Glenn Marshal said, "Even a good or honourable motive is not an excuse for taking a life, the law is for everyone and it does not categorise who may or may not have the right to life.”

New Zealand Herald 21.11.04
Editorial: Decision on baby killing was wrong...

There is only one word to describe the plight of the Nelson couple who found their infant daughter had the brain of a 13-week-old foetus that would never develop further: harrowing. And there is only one word to describe the verdict in the case brought against her father for ending her life: wrong.

TVNZ: Nelson father acquitted of murder
TVNZ: Jury retires in baby murder case
TVNZ: Emotional scenes at murder trial
Stuff: Case sets "frightening precedent"
Stuff: Spare a thought for dead baby, disabled group says
NZ Herald: Sentencing in baby's death: what the charges mean

One Nation, Overseas

One Nation, Overseas
Wired Magazine looks at the gains and consequences of Filipinos working overseas. The article was written by David Diamond.

Some quotes:
"Look Asian, Think Spanish, Act American"

"Rosaria Reyes, the Filipina Domestic helper killed by a suicide bombing in Israel last year [2001], transmitted a message to her son the night before her death: MATULOG KA NA. Go to sleep already."

Saturday, November 20, 2004

the truth about New Zealand opportunities

I'm surprised about the number of questions raised by my friends and relatives about New Zealand. They are telling me that there are quite a number of seminars all over Metro Manila. These seminars are promising countless numbers of jobs throughout New Zealand. These job opportunities including nannies, domestic helpers, cleaners and gardeners.

They seemed to be convinced that New Zealand is the new promise land. They are so much convinced that they are planning to leave for New Zealand even without the proper documentation or with illegal means. A neighbour of a friend is reportedly planning to be an illegal immigrant in New Zealand while entering as a tourist.

The truth is nannies, domestic helpers and gardeners are very rare in New Zealand. There has been no culture of hired home help in this country unlike Singapore, Hong Kong or in the Middle East. Most jobs such as cleaners are already being filled up by foreign students and recent immigrants. The organisers of these seminars are blatantly lying and selling false hopes to Filipinos back home.

As for becoming illegal immigrants, employers all over New Zealand require documentation that one is legally entitled to work such as a work permit, permanent residency or a student visa with 15 hours of work permit. Employers too will ask for your Inland Revenue (income tax) number. Employers are discouraged to employ workers without a legal contract or appropriate visas because there are stiff penalties starting from NZD 15,000 plus criminal liabilities. If one will ever find an employer that will hire someone illegally you can expect that they will EXPLOIT them and pay a very low wage and very poor working conditions.

I am not discouraging Filipinos to visit or migrate to New Zealand with the proper visas and permits and with the most honest intentions. However, I am discouraging Filipinos who plan to move to New Zealand using illegal means. It will only make it harder for Filipinos to travel overseas.

Filipinos have a good reputation in New Zealand as law abiding people. Please if you are planning to do something illegal stop do not tarnish our reputation.

Related posts:
A Warning for Filipinos Wanting to Migrating to New Zealand (illegal activities of rogue immigaration agencies)
They're not chosen on by how much money they'll send home
(A stupid person said that the amount of money sent back home is an immigration criteria)
My friend's view
(A friend's view on life and job hunting in New Zealand)

A friend that will only say nice things about her full stop

I've asked someone before if she preferred a friend who will tell everything about her straight in her face even if it is the awful truth or a friend that will only say nice things about her full stop.

She chose the second option. She is no longer a friend, sad to say.

To me being able to understand your friend's criticisms and opinions about you is helpful. It may help you improve as a person. It is better having your friends say everything to you than your friends telling other people about things about you. Yet some people see criticism as a personal attack.

except the Philippine peso

Chile's Peso Jumps to 8-Month High on Improved Growth Outlook
Colombian Peso Rises to 28-Month High on Higher Bond Demand
N.Z. Dollar Heads for Winning Week; Investors Abroad Buy Bonds

I have just browsed some business news at Bloomberg I am surprised to know that the currencies of Chile and Columbia are rising against the United States dollar. For New Zealand, the local currency has been climbing high against the U.S. currency since late 2002, so it is not new to me.

The Philippine currency has always been down against the dollar. This has a psychological effect on consumer economic sentiments. Unless the peso does not improve consumer confidence may still remain low.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Ebay the world's largest auction company has launched a Philippines version of its popular website. is now available for Filipinos. Currently there are no fees for sellers.

According to a Philippine Daily Inquirer article today Ebay management is silent whether the company will extend payment services such as Paypal in the Philippines.

eBay mum about plans in the Philippines

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Do you think a monster will see a monster when it looks at a mirror?

My god, that she-devil is driving me nuts!"

"I've warned you before the first time a saw that person that I don't quite like her."

"And now, and now when I give frank remarks she's hurt. Dammit, she has embarrassed me with many people in the past! She even riducules things that I buy from the department store! The nerve this woman has and she claims to be a good, caring and loyal friend! She frequently invites me to have lunch with her, which I usually attend and when I hear she having a party for her birthday did she even bother inviting me?"

"Mygod are those things true?!"

"She thinks that she is a victim of my inner evil"

"But of course, do you think a monster will see monster when it looks at a mirror?"

"She thinks she's pretty too, even my dog looks better!"

"I cannot imagine how you could have managed to be friends with that woman."

"I can't believe it myself but I was doing business with her family I can't do anything."

"Forget about her she is not happy anyway."

She did it all for love

Princess Nori to marry a Tokyo Metropolitan Gov't official

The Princess Nori, daughter of the Japanese Emperor and Empress will become a commoner to marry local government official.

Best wishes!

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Gorgeous, but this blogger's fiction

What if Bridget Jones was a man?
read on: Gorgeous, but this blogger's fiction

bizgirl: international librarian of mystery

mobiles ringing during Mass is rude

Today while having anticipated Catholic Mass the cellular phone of the man beside me rang. It was so loud that the reader for the Prayers of the Faithful had to pause. The mobile was noisy when it rang and also when it was turned off. Other people had dissapointed faces as they were disturbed by the sound.

I had the knee jerk reaction of movie away from the man with the ringing phone.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

popular friendster searches

After opening my Friendster page just now I've found out that the most popular search in my personal network is "how to know if the person likes you" and "zodiac love match."

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

too much friends and 150

I think I am not the only Friendster member who is wondering why some if not most of my friends in the social networking website have to have so much friends in the immediate network. I have friends who have 250 to 400 friends already. Try to ask them if they know most of these friends and they will answer that they've just added them with no apparent reason and without actually knowing them. Another said that they want to have the maximum possible friends at Friendster. As far as I know there is no reward for having the most friends at Friendster.

These people are destroying the purpose of Friendster. How can one be a first degree friend if you do not know anything or have not spoken to them?

In relation to this I've read in Malcolm Gladwell's book, The Tipping Point that a group of 150 is probably "the best and most effficient way to manage a group of people." (2000) It is the optimum number of people in a group that will allow effective communication and rapport.

The author has cited W. L. Gore and Associates' (makers of Gore-tex fabric) success to its 150 rule. Most of its plants and offices only comprise of up to 150 people.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Immigration web site flooded with queries from U.S. anti-Bush visitors

Immigration web site flooded with queries from U.S. anti-Bush visitors

Canada Press reports that the Canadian immigration website was flooded by US visitors just minutes after President George W. Bush said her victory speech.

It seems that for John F. Kerry voters Canada is in tune with their ideologies.


thanks to those who have subscribe to my blog through syndication.

PS. just as I want to post an update to my blog at the site is unavailable.

Government coffers overflowing by $3 million a day

NZD 3,000,000 = PHP 115,500,000 (PHP 38.50 per NZD) every single day
That is NZD 2,083.33 (PHP 80,208.21) every second!!!

This is the surplus the government is getting according a report of The Dominion Post last Saturday, 6 November 2004.

The report said that the record surplus is due to the stable economy, low unemployment and rising incomes.

Low unemployment means fewer people take social security benefits aka "dole."

Rising incomes means more people are pushed to higher tax rates.

Only God knows what the current Labour government will do with this surplus. Other sectors are calling for more health care spending which while other parties are calling for tax cuts.

New Zealand is enjoying a lucky position in today's world where deficits are common place (Philippines and United States). I hope the succeeding government will not spoil it.

As for the Philippines' deficit there is always hope however slim...

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Clarification on the Magnitude 7.2 Earthquake Scenario

Clarification on the Magnitude 7.2 Earthquake Scenario in Metro Manila

This statement from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) clarifies rumours spreading in the Philippines and Filipino communities overseas about a "predicted" 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Metro Manila.

According to the statement the 7.2 magnitude quake is the highest magnitude possible from a movement of the Valley Fault System. This possibility or scenario is aimed to make better civil defense planning just in case the "big one" arrives.

Metro Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study (MMEIRS)