Hope in journalism

Faith in journalism ethics restored. Thanks to the young generation of journalists I met and spent three days of coverage here. Before I left, a young "friend" asked me to bring him/her a loot bag. I know, I know. Who doesn't want a loot bag? We all do. But you don't ask for it. I know that there are also some oldies who are only after the giveaway. And in the past, I've also met a couple of people who would ask where is the stuff they had to give to their editor. I'm not being a holier-than-thou person. There were times when I cringed with shame. I'm sorry if I sound too bitchy; to magaling; or whatever. I've been mulling for days if I should post this or not. I just have to get this out of my chest.


Jesse Robredo, a good man

I did not intend to write anything about the late Jesse Robredo. I don’t normally jump into an opportunity of becoming part of something just to be “in.” I don’t suddenly claim to be a fan just because it’s the in thing to do.

But I’m hungry for the best obituary or eulogy for this good man. I can’t seem to find something that I often read in The Economist. And I’m not attempting to write one now. I don’t know him personally. I didn’t even see him in the flesh. My encounters with him were the ambush interviews I watched on evening news. I didn’t even pay attention when he won the Ramon Magsaysay Award.

From what I read, watched, and heard, Jesse Robredo was a good man. I’m just wondering why some of these people didn’t tell him that when he was still alive. I’m just appalled that his squeaky clean track record didn’t even merit a confirmation from the Commission on Appointments. He’s been to Harvard; did a humongous makeover of Naga City; reformed all the agencies and organizations he’d been assigned to, and led a corrupt-free life. I don’t think I could ever understand how appointments work in the government.

Anyway, I think there is one man who also deserves some credit. President Noynoy Aquino decided to hand over one of the most powerful seats in the Cabinet to a man who not only knew, but lived the words “good governance.” (Disclaimer: I didn’t vote for the President in the last elections and I’m not a fan of Kris Aquino.) From his comfort zone in Bicol, the President put him in the national limelight. Whatever his reasons, I can only guess.

The list of what he had done is all over the Internet and I won’t repeat them here. In every eulogy I read, I learned something, and knew the life he lived. I have never admired a man since the late Raul Roco (also from Bicol). But Jesse Robredo had set a template in the government leadership too big to fill. He didn’t lose sight of his dreams for the country when he gave up that job in a corporation. Unlike those apprehended for DUI (drinking under the influence), he walked the test line not only straight but with clear vision because he never got drunk of power.

There is certain sadness in my heart when it was announced that his body was found. My question was, “Are we that bad to lose a good guy?”

It still astounds me how can we have overlooked all the good things he did for the country and for the people. And now people are scrambling in giving good words for a dead person.

I wish I’m living at the time when cloning is legal.

Jesse Robredo, may you rest in peace.



It was probably the most talkative I have ever become. Although at times, I say something in an impulse, most of the time I always try to think twice before hitting “enter.” But I can no longer handle the amount of information and emotions I get from social networking sites.

Don’t get me wrong. Facebook and Twitter are perhaps among the best things that ever happened to the Internet. If Facebook has been this active in 2008, I would’ve married my boyfriend of 8 years. He is based in the US and LDT (long-distance relationship) is costly in the pocket and in life.

FB and Twitter allow me to keep in touch with friends from abroad or friends I don’t get to see very often. In fact, they helped me become closer to them. I communicate to them more often than my friends here. The 3 people I consider my trusted friends are those I see maybe 5 or 6 times a year. These media helped me to really “get a life.” I’m more sociable when typing my responses more than speaking them. And I’m happy that there were times when my opinion mattered.

A few days ago, I deactivated my Twitter account. A friend aptly put it, “…masyado nang noisy (too noisy)?”

Many people blame Facebook and Twitter when something bad happens to those who don’t know how to use it. They go on mutiny when FB alters its privacy terms, etc. (When did you ever get any privacy in the Internet? Everything is traceable and coded.)

I believe that people found too much freedom on Twitter and Facebook. Too much to handle, actually. We have become more gullible than ever. We gang up on people who did wrong to others without really listening to the other side. This freedom has been abused.

I interviewed a marketing expert last week. She talked about social relationships. At one point, she said that Twitter is more for showoffs (I believe FB too). Although, I’m also guilty of it, I posted photos of these posh places I had the opportunity to go because my job allowed me to. I see really nothing wrong with that, if the intention is really just to share, not to brag.

I admire my friend who kept her community in FB really small (17 friends). And her posts are really meant to keep us posted on what she’s up to. No bragging, just sharing.

Some Twitter people have become too “intelligent” for me. It’s like, look what I’m reading, I’m following National Geographic because that’s what I read, or my new pair of shoes is this and that. It’s okay but sometimes flooding truly hurt my eyes. I grew tired of reading senseless posts (which at one point I was also guilty of).

Whatever happened to courtesy? I lost that too.

Have we ever thought that one post could hurt someone? I went into the introspective state when I ranted about this restaurant in Ayala Triangle. The chef politely replied and asked me what the problem is? I felt embarrassed but I decided to just stand by what I had started. These things really make me feel bad. I know I can always delete a post but as long as I have a Twitter account I will always have the impulse to post something that comes to my mind.

Social networking sites are now overpopulated and it’s getting stinkier every day. Imagine a world full of garbage.

I’ve been “sober” for a couple of days now. I only peek on FB when I want to get updates from the pages I liked. My profile and posts is visible to only 4 people I listed as Close Friends which they really are.

Surprisingly, I don’t feel the urge to reactivate or create a new account. I’ll be back on Twitter but not in the near future. I’m still enjoying my quite virtual life and I’m more productive now. I just need to detoxify. (Besides, I haven’t played Farmville and I think I’m getting sick.)

A vice is caused by people not the object of fixation.


Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Depressing. Unsettling. Sad. Sad. Sad.

But, I love this book to core. I always have this "practice" of kissing a book that touched me right after I turned the last page. With this, I kissed it, hugged it tight, and let the tears flow freely. I wept.

No author has ever made me feel this sad but still love his book. I felt some sense of attachment to Ishiguro's characters. It's like as if I am this constant spectator recording their lives. I was with Kath, Tommy, and Ruth since they were kids until they learned the truth about their so-called life. I kept hoping for them; that there would be a good thing at the end of the tunnel. But Ishiguro is not a cliche author.

Many people hate Ishiguro's books because they are not easy to read not only because of his elegant prose but also because he makes simple things a lot complicated. But, unlike the others, I simply love his style. He'll make you wait; he'll make you want for more. He'll starve you with details. You have to get to Chapter 21 to know what the book is all about.

I repeat, Never Let Me Go is the saddest book I've ever read so far. But it now occupies the top spot of my most favorite far.


An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor

An Irish Country DoctorAn Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked this book out of my curiosity with anything Irish. I just went to Booksale in Alphaland and within minutes, this book popped just like that. When I saw the word “Irish” on the title, I picked it up and went straight to the cashier. The front cover by Gergory Manchess also won me over.

Okay, so I had no idea whatsoever about the book. I didn’t know what to expect so I just read along.

“An Irish Country Doctor” by Patrick Taylor is a typical story about a young doctor who still doesn’t know what to do with his life. Should he go to general practice or have a specialized discipline?

Nothing exciting, right? Yes. But wait, while the plot doesn’t seem exciting, the manner it was written is.

Dr. Barry Laverty applied for a job in a rural town of Ballybucklebo (There’s an explanation in the book for the queer name but I won’t tell.) in the hopes of finding himself. He’s young and there’s really no pressure to expedite any career plans.

He was immediately employed by the only doctor in the town: Dr. Fingal O’Reilly. At first, it seems like there’s nothing to like about the place and the new employer. Everything seems to go wrong for Barry. But as days turn into weeks, the young doctor is adapting to the life in Ballybucklebo. He got used to the Fingal’s collie called Arthur Guinness who sees his legs as a bitch to hump on. The elder doctor has his own peculiar way of teaching Barry the ropes of rural general practice. Fingal is a big guy with an enormous heart for his patients.

The characters and situations have already been written by other authors before. Honestly, there’s nothing new in the book. Even the ending is anti-climactic. Taylor gave the spotlight to supporting characters in the ending. Except for Barry finding again a love lost, there really is nothing explosive or surprising.

Still, I had a hilarious time reading it. While it took me eight days to finish it, I still had a great time exploring the scenery of Northern Ireland which Taylor has vividly described. I was transported to the world of Ballybucklebo. I also love that it has many conversations which I believe contributed to why this book is fast-paced. He did not scrimp on funny descriptions with Irish terms (He provided a glossary, so it helped.) I hail Taylor for knowing what many readers want. Even if the plot has been used a thousand times, I’m still sold with it.

Taylor satisfied my hunger for Irish customs and traditions, peculiarities, and way of life. I felt like an Irish for a time.

So, if I love this so much why I gave it 4 starts instead of 5? There were moments in the book where I ask, where is the story going? Where is Barry heading? What is the relevance of all these situations in the plot? I think that there is no real path as to what Taylor wanted to say.

Maybe if I read Taylor’s other books on Northern Ireland, I will get used to it and forget about these little misses. The book perfectly fits my longing to learn many things about Ireland.

It’s a book for people who want an easy read.
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