Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Crypt in an Old Cathedral

Dr Abe V Rotor

Underground crypt  an old cathedral at Ho Chi Ming City, Vietnam. Photos by the author. 

A cathedral – but where is its door?
A barred gate, heavy lock at the rear,
Forbidden view the eyes couldn’t tour,
Footsteps only radar could hear.

That was before; the war is over now.
I knocked at the door. A kindly nun
Let me in and showed me all around.
I saw through the stained glass the sun.

Into the Crypt I dared not tread,
My shoes dusty, I was in slack,
Yet dared I to ask from the dead,
The martyrs the courage I lack. ~

crypt (from Latin crypta "vault") is a stone chamber beneath the floor of a church or other building. It typically contains coffins, sarcophagi, or religious relics.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Let's Save our Children from the Tender Trap of Consumerism

Our senses are held captive: sight, sound, smell, touch. It's difficult to know real from psychological hunger. Good and fancy clothing. Durable and throw away gadget. Urgent from necessary. Pretty from beautiful. Love from care. 

Dr Abe V Rotor
 Living with Nature - School on Blog []
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday []

Children's party in a fast food playground. 

We went shopping as a family.  Carlo our youngest was keen at many things, the city kinder that he was. "Mahal ba eto, Mama?" (Is this expensive, Mama?). This became his expression, the dawn when a child begins to weigh his own pleasure and the cost of it.
                                                             Restaurant on Boracay Beach 

But how many kids today are destined on a path of roses capitalism has planted alongside profit, and more profit? How can we brace ourselves from the powerful marketing force that sweeps our children to a world of want over and above the world of need? Imagine $12 billion annual cost to ignite this force, and this is in the US alone, albeit the emerging economies around the world. 

High cost of consumerism

Consumer language has evolved lately out of passion to buy, like bilmoko (ibili mo ako - Buy me.), a kid's expression beginning at post-toddler age. Gustokoto ("I like this," in commanding tone. 

                                           Scene not far across push Boracay Beach

And when asked what made a kid buy fancy ball pens bearing cartoon characters, he simply quipped, "Wala lang." (None at all.) 

On the receiving end billions of dollars are generated with kids influencing their parents, school endorsing products and services, media riding on children's show - it's a kid's world.  We are pampering them too far out with our hard-earned money, and extending their dependency, when at their age in older societies, their counterpart would have found independence and accepted responsibility.    

Media is largely to blame - multimedia, from billboard to Internet. Media is littered, polluting the field of information and entertainment. You can't drive through Edsa with clear head.  Billboards block the sky; they roll on with buses on your route. Give your name to the Internet and you'll gain world wide popularity, because you are a potential client or customer. My son Marlo, even if he didn't smoke, received cigarette promo cards beautifully crafted when advertising of cigarette was totally banned. My daughter found herself an automatic member of clubs endorsing children's products, with special discount. There are a variety of  clubs for teenagers, from fashion to magazines, and you just find their invitation in the mailbox or on their e-mail.       

Our senses are held captive: sight, sound, smell, touch.  It's difficult to know real from psychological hunger. Good and fancy clothing. Durable and throw away gadget. Urgent from necessary. Pretty from beautiful.  Love from care. 

Let us save our children from the tender trap of consumerism *
1. Lead by example
Do what you say. Easier said than done. These are adages that should be put to practice. We cannot teach frugality when our kids see us frivolous. Austerity is sacrifice.  It means more savings, less waste, optimized use of resources. Austerity is a virtue. 
2. Encourage critical thinking
"Advertisement is  Genie from Alladin's lamp. He is not real," says a retired corporate manager. I used to tell my kids, "Don't believe in everything you see or hear. And don't be a Guinea pig of new products in the market." Guide your children to  investigate and asses before making decisions. How many times have we been misled by the art of selling. Some end up holding an empty bag - victims of unscrupulous deals.  

3. Supervise with sensitivity 
Sit with your child with the computer as you would watch together a TV program.  Or when he was younger, would sit on your lap while you read for him.  Bedtime stories make our children happy not by the story alone but our presence, our bonding, our goodnight kiss and prayer. Until they are responsible to make correct judgment, parents make the board of censors for healthy information and entertainment.

4. Say No without guilt
Maybe is often our answer to our kids when it comes to less serious matters, or things no one can answer. But on matters of importance we have to be firm with our children, with a yes or no answer.   Don't keep them long as fence sitters otherwise they just jump by themselves into the greener side, so to speak.  When we say No, it's final.  But the gravity of our position should be based on strong sense of values and security.  "No, don't ride a motorcycle. No, don't drive.  You are too young for that." It is the condition that makes our child understand and accept our position.  It removes our guilt and reinforces our being guardians. 

5. Offer Alternatives  
Actually this means discovering our children's talents, and developing them into hobbies. Hobbies prevent habits. "Cooking is a hobby, eating is a habit," I usually differentiate the two in this analogy. "Listening to music and playing a musical instrument, is a hobby.  But listening to music alone may fall short of the definition of hobby.  Hobby is progressive, it is self-challenging, it is shifting the mind to the creative part of the brain. It is learning through curiosity and imagination.  And the most important of all is that, through hobby you are a maker (Homo faber), not a mere consumer.  You make kites instead of buying them.  Your toys are your invention, not one you buy and never understand how it works.  And in your frustration end up destroying it with screwdriver.

But the best alternative is outdoor life. Consumerism thrives best with indoor children. They want to create a world in their walled domain. But the outdoor child goes out to the world, to Nature, and he finds contentment in the countless things nature provides him free - clean water and air,  mountains as high rise, waterfall as fountains, pebbles as marvels, river as swimming pool, moon and stars as neon lights.  And he learns to live a contented life with the least amenities. 

Athenian Syndome

Good Life reminds us of the Athenian Syndrome during the time of Socrates, the father of Philosophy, and the "conscience" of the most powerful city state at the crowing glory of Greece. He found out that the citizens seemed not to know the difference between moral and immoral.  And do we know it today?  And here is a  third element of morality - amorality.  If we find it difficult to understand what morality is all about, can we know what is ethical and what is not? What is good and evil? 

A child devouring a fried chicken may be an amoral act.  We know that in a hungry world, a chicken has the equivalent food value of the grains it ate to attain its size, which could have been food for five hungry children for not only a single meal.  When we buy our children clothes just for fashion or fancy we imagine children who have nothing decent to wear in school. When we waste water, food, electricity, and other valuable things because we simply have so much of them, the other side of the globe could have shared them.   

These are basic to our children's formative years. We have to educate them well, not to be wasteful, to keep the environment clean, and in the future to raise families of their own with  assurance of  their welfare.  We cannot entrust our children to media. We cannot trust one institution to fill in the gap of another. We cannot leave our children in the nursery or kinder school. Religious education cannot guarantee righteousness, the community of healthy integration. 

Malling a new culture 

"Nagmall ka na ba?" has become more of a measure of lifestyle, rather than necessity or leisure. Mall is a growing institution of the middle class, and with the increasing young, and senior citizens. Many mall goers were once traditional customers of Divisoria (bagsakan - wholesale), Quiapo and Baclaran (pilgrimage sites) and countless tiangge and alipapa (flea markets).  
Historically, in here informal economy reigns and why not? You can make bargains (tawad, baratilyo), establish patronage (suki),  join rummage (ukay ukay). Just don't be outsmarted  (naisahan, nalamangan). And if you have a sari-sari (corner store) of your own, outsource here and you are comfortable with 20 to 35 percent ROI (Return of Investment). Or if you are an enterprising employee in your organization, you can be an entrepreneur as well. 

That's why customers still flock these centers where tradition exudes quaintness to shopping, where the peso is more elastic, goods and services virtually unlimited. We still get  from  Divisoria supplies for our home industry at wholesale. Now and them we join the pilgrimage in Quiapo or Baclaran and pick up some items from makeshift stalls. Don't miss, lechon in  La Loma, fish in Navotas, fruits in NLEX interchange in Balintawak. Name it all - these informal economies - tell the mall to take the back seat.    

Puerto Princesa, Palawan 

But as people leave the countryside, towns grow into cities, shopping has indeed evolved  into an institution all over the world, courting everyone to go to the mall regularly, say a weekend.  To the younger generations it means much, much more -  dating, promenading, eating, playing, cooling off summer, rendezvous (tagpuan).  The mall is like a ganglion physiologically. All roads lead to Rome, analogously applies today in our postmodern world,

If this is the Good Life our children are looking up to,  I am afraid they are likely to be the next victims.  Let's save them from the tender trap of consumerism, the handmaid of capitalism.~
 Kuya Center for Street Children in Quezon City, These children, among millions of other deprived children around the world, find new hope to fight poverty and homelessness. KCSC is foundation that rehabilitates and reconnects street children with their families headed by executive-director Bro. Luc Boudreault, SC. (Brothers of the Sacred Heart).

*Reference: Living with Nature Series AVRotor; Marketing to Innocents,by Gabrielle Bauer Reader's Digest July 2005.

Life Begins at Retirement

Life Begins at Retirement
Retirement is a journey, not a destination. It only means that it is time for a new adventure.  Adventure in the golden years of life
 By Ms Cecilia R Rotor, CPA, MBA, CESO VI
I believe this is what makes life wonderful after retirement. And on looking back, I found some reasons a person spends her most precious years of life with a boss, who in my case is the National Food Authority.  

Here at NFA , I found the true application of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  I aspired in my own capacity to be a good student of this great thought.  For NFA is the acronym of the principles of Maslow’s Concept:  man’s basic survival Need is Food; man’s basic social need is Family (the NFA family); and man’s highest need is Actualization – actualization of NFA’s vision and mission.

NFA is very important indeed! In fact, I learned that no country - big and small, 

industrialized and developing - is without an NFA, or its equivalence or counterpart. 
 Author with her granddaughter, Mackie.
I say, NFA is a universal organization. It is said in the Universal Prayer as well, “Give us this day our daily bread.”  (Us refers to all, irrespective of race, age, status, belief, ideology; it is the word us with reference to adequacy of food that unites mankind.)

NFA is my alma mater now, and I am proud to be one. It is bigger than my own, in college and in the graduate school, for I am now among thousands who once served the organization, and countless number of people whom it served - and continues to serve. 

It is my alma mater for four decades and two years, subtly saying 42 years of continuous service, the longest “schooling” until I was awarded the “diploma of retirement.”

The concept of alumna of NFA is, “Once an NFAian, always a NFAian.” And every time I happen to meet a co-alumna or co- alumnus, the world spontaneously brightens up, reversing the hands of time, and re-creating many wonderful scenarios that make memories fresh and alive.

Life after NFA is beautiful.  It is another stage of life which I am beginning to enjoy as a grandmother. Retirement is out of the dictionary when you are babysitter, teacher, housekeeper, playmate, rolled into one.

NFA taught many things to prepare me to be a “wonderful and loving Lola,” borrowing the words of Mackie my eldest granddaughter.

Happiness I realize is compensating for the limited time and presence I had with my family while I was with NFA. But it is NFA that made me realize that happiness is not truly your own alone.” It is one commodity that, if you divide and distribute it, will multiply.” It is boundless, it is eternal; it defies any mathematical law.  It is man’s greatest glory on earth. 
It is at NFA where I tried to study and understand issues considered to be sensitive and controversial, such as the term “subsidy.” As an accountant I saw a financial picture inclined towards social goals and objectives of stabilizing the industry to prevent hunger and its consequences; to pursue the idea of attaining self-sufficiency, while aiming at sustainable productivity. Meanwhile huge importation is inevitable year in and out. 

Yet, just by substantially reducing postharvest loss alone, we would be less dependent on importation. And, by increasing yield even only on the level of world’s average we would regain our status as rice exporter in the seventies.  Innovative technology, like most rice exporting countries, would entail less cost to produce, and give more income -  beginning on the farm, through postharvest, to product diversification, which generates equitable value added advantage to the industry.  

And these are the very reasons why NFA should and must exist, to lead its various stakeholders. These are the challenges that it must continue to face with greater resolve. It is my urgent wish that this noble task be pursued vigorously and unrelentingly. NFA’s triumph shall also be ours as alumni.  

As an alumna to her alma mater, I shall treasure many valuable memories since its early days as NGA in 1971, just as others who have passed under its arch.

Perhaps NFA may remember its alumni, too. I know of a good number of alumni or former NFAians who have distinctly proven themselves in various fields – in the academe, business, NGOs, and in various careers, here and abroad. Maybe NFA would hold a homecoming-conference with them for two reasons, for them to pay respects, at the same time, share insights, ideas, and experiences. Yes, as I know them, there is a second life after NFA.  And thanks to NFA for making it so.   

There is a saying by John F Kennedy (adopted from original adage by our own national hero Jose Rizal), “Ask not what America can do for you, but what you can do for America.”   

Analogously I ask myself. “What have I done for NFA, and what has NFA done for me?” 

Allow me to count the ways that I know of:

·         It is at NFA where my career blossomed from accountant to director.
·         It is at NFA that I was able to obtain an MBA and CESO, on top of my CPA.
·         It is at NFA where I grew gray hairs old folks say is a sign of wisdom and counsel.
·         It is with NFA I learned to hurdle obstacles generally attendant to public service.
·         It is with NFA I tried my best to set a standard of a role model for my staff and colleagues in government.
·         It is at NFA where I found personal happiness, and comfort in the dark hours.  
·         It is at NFA where I saw action, and fought in the battlefield, so to speak. 
·         It is with NFA I helped steer the boat toward its goal and mission.  
·         It is NFA that has deepened my nationalistic fervor, and respect for our deserving  national leaders and the pioneers who made NFA what it is today – with special mention of the late Administrator Jesus T. Tanchanco.     

Lastly, but not the least, It is at NFA where I found a life partner and together built a happy family, with an outlook as bright as ever. ~

*Response to a tribute given by the members of the Management Committee of the National Food Authority, August 8, 2016

Asking for a Raise

Dr Abe V. Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday

Here is a story about Pedro and Jose which I read in the elementary.

One day Pedro approached his boss and complained why his partner Jose is receiving a higher pay when both of them have the same nature of work.

“Ah, Pedro,” sighed the boss with a sheepish smile. “You will come to know the reason.”

Just then the doorbell rang. “Pedro, please find out who is at the gate.”

After some time, Pedro returned, “Someone is looking for you, sir.”

“Ask who he is.” Pedro went to the gate again, and reported back.

“He is a certain Mr. Carlos, sir.”

“Ask him what he wants.” Pedro went to the gate for the third again, and then returned.

“I did not get it well, sir. But he said he sells home appliances … promotion, something like that. He would like to meet the manager.”

“Tell him we do not need appliances.”

The next day the doorbell rang again. This time, both Pedro and Jose were in the office of their boss. It was Jose who promptly rose from his seat to attend to the visitor at the gate. After a while he returned and reported.

“The visitor is an insurance agent, sir. He was offering insurance for our building, and knowing that it is already covered, I told him we do not need his offer at the moment. He gave me his business card.” Jose handed the card and excused himself for another call.

“Now you understand,” said the boss to Pedro with a sheepish smile.

Thanks for the drawing, from Simple People, Internet

Monday, August 29, 2016

Remembering our National Heroes, August 29, 2016 -National Heroes Day

We are engaged in a continuing battle which challenges every Filipino to become  a "hero" as teacher, 
doctor, environmentalist, public servant, law enforcer, farmer - in fact, in all walks of life. In most cases he is the Unknown Soldier the world shall always remember to honor on behalf of those who made a difference in making our world a better place to live in.         
Dr Abe V Rotor
The Philippine National Heroes
1.   Dr. Jose Rizal - The National Hero.
2.   Andres Bonifacio - The Great Plebian and Father of the Katipunan.
3.   General Gregorio del Pilar - Hero of the Battle of Tirad Pass.
4.   General Emilio Aguinaldo - President of the First Philippine Republic.
5.   Apolinario Mabini - Sublime Paralytic and Brains of the Revolution.

6.   GOMBURZA - Martyred Priests of 1872.
7.   Trece Martirez - 13 Martyrs from Cavite.
8.   Emilio Jacinto - Brains of the Katipunan.
9.   General Antonio Luna - Cofounder of La Independencia .
10. Melchora Aquino (Tandang Sora) - Mother of Balintawak.

11. Graciano Lopez-Jaena - Greatest Filipino Orator of the Propaganda Movement.
12. Panday Pira - First Filipino Cannon-maker.
13. Mariano Ponce - Propagandist, Historian, Diplomat And Managing Editor of La Solidaridad.
14. Gregoria de Jesus - Lakambini of Katipunan and Wife of Andres Bonifacio.
15. Fernando Ma. Guerrero - Poet of the Revolution.

16. Felipe Agoncillo - Outstanding Diplomat of the First Philippine Republic.
17. Rafael Palma - Cofounder of La Independencia and First UP president .
18. Juan Luna - Greatest Filipino Painter.
19. Marcelo H. Del Pilar - Greatest Journalist and Moving Spirit of the Propaganda .
20. Leona Florentino - First Filipino Poetess(from Ilocos Sur).

21. Pedro Paterno - Peacemaker of the Revolution.
22. Isabelo delos Reyes - Founder of Philippine Socialism.
23. Artemio Ricarte - Revolutionary General, known as Viborra.
24. Jose Palma - Wrote the Spanish Lyrics of the Philippine National Anthem.
25. Lakandola - Chief of Tondo, Friendly to the Spaniards.

26. Rajah Soliman - The Last Rajah of Manila.
27. Leonor Rivera - Cousin and Fiancee of Jose Rizal.
28. Marcela Mariño Agoncillo - Maker of the First Filipino Flag.
29. Galicano Apacible - One of the Founders of Katipunan.
30. Jose Ma. Panganiban - Bicolandia's Greatest Contribution to the Historic Campaign for Reforms.

31. Diego Silang - Leader of the Ilocano Revolt.
32. Maria Josefa Gabriela Silang - Continued the Fight After her Husband's Death.
33. Lapu-Lapu - Chieftain of Mactan Who Killed Magellan. First Filipino Hero.
34. Francisco Dagohoy - Leader of the Longest Revolt in Bohol.
35. Epifanio delos Santos - A Man of Many Talents; the Former Highway 54 is Now Named After him (EDSA).
36. Francisco Baltazar - Prince of Tagalog Poets.
37. Teresa Magbanua - First Woman Fighter in Panay. Visayan Joan of Arc.
38. Trinidad Tecson - Mother of Biak-na-Bato.
39. Agueda Esteban - Wife of Artemio Ricarte Who Carried Secret Messages About Spanish Troops.
40. Marina Dizon - Daughter of One of the Trece Martirez.

 41. General Francisco Makabulos - Leader of the Revolt in Tarlac.
 42. Julian Felipe - Composer of the Philippine National Anthem.

Heroes for the Environment in the Philippines 

Jayme Navarro: Invented Fuel from Plastic Trash Bags

Jayme Navarro’s Pyrolysis Technology converting Trash Plastics into less sulfuric Diesel, Gasoline, LPG.

Von Hernandez: 
Von Hernandez drew the line at another lucrative export from the developed world: mountains of trash. Across Asia, waste incinerators pump out clouds of dioxin and other harmful chemicals that come from processing …

Ma. Lourdes “Joy” Martinez Onozawa: Architectural Environmentalist
Today, the environment is one of the world’s biggest concerns. We are constantly reminded to recycle, to dispose our wastes properly, and to preserve our environment in countless other ways. Joy Onozawa takes this advocacy to heart and applies it …

Antonio Oposa Jr. 2009 Ramon Magsaysay Awardee from the Philippines. Antonio Oposa Jr. believes that the worsening situation of the marine ecosystem, particularly in the Visayan Sea eco-region, can be reversed, for the sake of future generations.

Chin-Chin Gutierrez, is a Filipino actress and environmentalist. ... She has won several awards, received a National Commission for Culture and the Arts grant, ... Featured as one of TIME Asia's "Asian Heroes".

Environmental heroes: those who sacrificed their lives to protect the country’s environment. (DENR)

Melania Dirain, Forest Specialist. 
Jojo Malinao, Forest Guard
Logendrin Aranca, Forest Ranger 
Bernabe Malijao, Tree Maker
Wilfredo Bayucot, Forest Ranger
Isidro de la Peña,  Forester
Jaime Diez, Tree Maker ~

Sunday, August 28, 2016

As you aspiring to be a journalist?

Dr Abe V Rotor

This article is dedicated to the father and pillar of Philippine
journalism: Teodoro or "Ka Doroy" Valencia (center). His
column Over a Cup of Coffee shaped the thinking of his
readers, and influenced the decisions of leaders in his time.  

Like "Ka Doroy" an aspiring journalist must -
1.      Be inquisitive
2.      Be constant in his purpose
3.      Be fair and balanced
4.      Be genuinely interested in people
5.      Seek the truth
6.      Be resourceful
7.      Have guts
8.      Master his grammar
9.      Know his medium
10.    Read, read and read.

Above all, he must be God-fearing, compassionate, and true to his country and fellowmen. And uphold journalism as a profession and institution. 

Based on the lecture by Dr Abe V Rotor on journalism, UST Faculty of Arts and Letters

Filipino Literary Giants

Dr Abe V Rotor
This is a memorable photograph of some of our own literary giants: (left to right) the late poet and author of Life Cycles, Sedfrey Ordoñez (Justice Secretary and permanent representative to the United Nations); doyen of Philippine contemporary poetry Ophelia A Dimalanta, Hortencia Santos Sankore, Larry Francisco, and the late national artist and poet Jose Villa.

I have had the opportunity of meeting and working with a number of Filipino writers in the field of communication and literature. Among them was Dr Ophelia Dimalanta, writer in residence and director of the Center for Creative Writing, and also former dean of the UST Faculty of Arts and Letters. As my critic Dr Dimalanta inspired me to write books in poetry, the latest Don't Cut the Trees, Don't, and a forthcoming one, Home Sweet Home with Nature.

Justice Secretary Sedfrey Ordonez used to visit me at the St Paul University Museum where I was faculty curator, and we would write and read poetry together with faculty members and students. He wrote the beautiful foreword of my book, Sunshine in Raindrops.

National artist Jose Villa's style in poetry broke away from the classical-conventional style, like in the field of painting seeking release to impressionism and abstract, a great influence to many writers, I among them.

I also acknowledge the giants in Philippine journalism who were my professors: Ka Doroy Valencia, Dean Jose Lansang, Prof Ernesto Franco, Rodolfo Ragodon, and Amando Doronilla. Special mention to Dean Amando F de Jesus, Dean Magdalena Villaba, and Dr Florentino Hornedo of UST Arts and Letters, and the Graduate School; and Fr James Reuter SJ of the Office of Media Affair. Fr Reuter wrote the inspiring message of my first book in poetry, Light in the Woods.

As a tribute to them, and many others more, I am expressing my deep gratitude to them, and pride as a Filipino. ~

Spolarium and the Gods

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday

Spolarium by Juan Luna, National Museum Manila
Spolarium - how well meant,
and remembered in Juan Luna's vision -
the Gladiators, whose death and surrender
brought ruin to a great nation
and rebirth of another.

In Iliad and Odyssey
the gods bestow on men honor
the lives of those in another Kingdom,
just once and nothing more,
leading mortals to doom.~

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Beware! Don't fall victim to impostors and rogues .

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog []
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM 8 to 9 Evening Class, Monday to Friday

These are ten tips to protect yourself, your loved ones, other people and your community.

1. Have presence of mind always

2. Don't be too confident and trusting.

3. Avoid unlikely places and hour of the day.

4. It is good to be with somebody or group you know.

5. Distance yourself from suspicious characters.

6. Dress simply and leave your valuable at home.

7. Screen and limit access of personal information about you.
8. Be prepared for contingencies. Be security-conscious always.

9. Keep emergency phone numbers and addresses ready at fingertips.

10. Attend seminars and workshops on safety and security.

I wrote this article on request by our radio audience on Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air). Since this is a lesson which our participants are encouraged to share personal experiences, it might as well be helpful to our blog followers and viewers to give their comments, preferably on something that will further make the topic informative and functional.