July 27, 2009

SONA 2009: PGMA in the zone but missing the point

I give the President's latest SONA a rating of 1 on a scale of 1-10. The piece was poorly written; the delivery more pathetic; its content unwanted.

I know a SONA traditionally follows an expected format. To borrow from UP professor Alex Magno, a SONA is basically a technical report (of accomplishments and broad plans) delivered by the country's chief executive to its board (which is Congress).

No one reports a grim picture to the board. And indeed much like in previous SONAs it went that PGMA delivered her latest filled with graphs of climbing bars and arrows and pictures of smiling faces of people. It was even supplemented by live exhibits well positioned in the gallery, among them the now world-renowned Manny Pacquiao (just about the only thing that lent credibility to the whole oral exhibition even if the Pacman's own accomplishments has got nothing to do with PGMA's administration at all).

PGMA may have succeeded in eliciting rounds of applause from her own bunch of eunuchs and harems. But for the nth time she again missed the whole point of truly reporting to the people upon whom is rested the whole rationale of her presidency (or the government for that matter). Perhaps, she thought she only needed to report to her harem and eunuchs.

The people do not need figures and pictures. They used to but not anymore. They have all the right senses working at ground level to tell them if the country is doing good or not. In a SONA, they now need to see, hear or feel something else beyond the numbers and graphs; something more reassuring.

This afternoon I chose to watch the SONA over doing Farm Town in Facebook; not in order to know how many roadges have been built but to try to peek through the eyes of the person and find out if the sincerity and truthfulness that were once lost among the words "I am sorry" (and "I will not run" before that) have eventually found their way back to her soul in this final stretch of her reign. I failed.

Maybe my eyes were blinded by the weak signal of ANC channel on my cable TV so that the genuineness I was looking for went by unnoticed. Maybe I should indeed blame the said TV Network for showing rushes of former President Cory Aquino's own ultimate SONA in 1991 beforehand; for these raised the standards of sincerity so well for any level of it to be found in PGMA's speech.

The basics of sincerity, truthfulness and all the other associated virtues of credibility, integrity, honesty, transparency, and delicadeza in governance, have been ravaged down to its smallest fabric by this dispensation since it began in 2001. Yet again the latest SONA reported nothing on the status of the nation along these criteria.

After listening to the SONA, perhaps some of you have asked yourselves the same question that I had asked myself: "If everything in our country is doing ok, then what's our problem?"

GMA, period.

But hey, maybe there's hope. With elections in the horizon, the President actually hit the point with a hue of sincerity when she advised her critics to "stop saying bad words in public". It was like saying, "be more discreet and use the phone; just be sure the lines are not tapped... right, Garci?"

July 19, 2009

ASD: Episode V

[Episode IV here]

Happy Birthday to me!

Today is my second birthday. No, I am not turning two today. I meant today is my "other" birthday. Although, yes, indeed I am turning two today on this "other" birthday of mine. At about this time two years ago, I began feeling the first sensations of life once again after a warped journey into complete blankness. I began hearing voices: "Sir, gising na po kayo. Okey na po".

Earlier that morning at about 6:00 a.m., some hospital orderly wheeled me out of my room at PGH into the hospital's surgery room. Now I reckon that period was the time when I was at my most relaxed state in this whole story of my atrial septal defect. It helped that my doctors much earlier had oft-repeatedly described, albeit in general terms, what was going to happen once I get inside the operating room. My surgeon, in his usual jovial self, had likened the proceedings as "gagawin ka lang namang Christmas tree, sasabitan ng kung anu-ano". Most importantly it helped that by that time, I had already built my Faith at its sturdiest level (at least to my mortal mind and spirit) in the run up towards that nodal point of my life.

The experience inside the operating room was nothing short of the surreal. I now realize I have watched too many movies and TV. I expected the OR to be some shiny place like those in House or E.R. It turned out to be just a little up-step than St. Elsewhere. That did nothing to bother me nonetheless; I have always believed of the proof of the pudding being in the... cooking!

Indeed, doctors and aides (couldn't figure who's who since they all looked alike in their scrubs) began decorating me like Christmas tree: "Sir, tagilid ko lang kayo ng konti ha? Kabit lang natin 'to"... "Sir inject na po natin ang anesthesia, dito lang po sa I.V. natin idadaan..." The hustle went on for about 15 minutes. Then I opted to close my eyes lest I began seeing scythe-wielding hooded figures. Then came what would become the fastest 5-6 hours in my mortal existence, I was transported into a post-surgery scenario in less than a nanosecond. Everything went from "Sir, relax lang po idadaan lang po natin sa swero nyo yung anesthesia..." to "Sir, okey na po. Tapos na, gising na po kayo. Ililipat na po namin kayo sa recovery room..."

Five to six hours of deep dark slumber minus the dream. Five to six hours of life with virtually no record of it in any neuron; not a single byte. Five to six hours of... death; all contained in a split moment. If there was proof that everything runs fast in God's time, that was it.

Indeed it was for me a second birth (or probably a third as I have been trying to reconstruct a near-fatal accident I got into when I was still this small; but that would be another story). I had everything to thank for when I woke up about this time two years ago. Family, friends and kins; medicine and science; The Almighty.

[Episode VI coming soon]

July 2, 2009

Don't go around breaking young girls' hearts

Thank you Michael Joseph Jackson for sharing your
gift of music to the world!

video courtesy of jwcfree