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“Texters” and “texting” are relatively new additions to the English language, and it’s Filipinos who seem to have contributed both. At least they’re newer than that exquisitely ironic term from the martial law period, “salvaging”. “Salvaging” has long found its way into the vocabulary of some foreign writers, among them the Canadian fictionist Margaret Atwood, whose novel The Handmaid’s Tale uses the word as the Philippine military and most Filipinos understand it.

As late as 2000, when Joseph Estrada was still president and only about to be ousted from office, the New York Times’ Wayne Arnold had noted how Filipinos had added a new verb to the English language—or at least to the variety of it common in these parts.

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The regime of mockery

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Let’s not exaggerate. Retired Armed Forces Chief of Staff Hermogenes Esperon is not really as Senator Consuelo “Jamby” Madrigal described him.

Senator Madrigal compared Esperon to Adolf Hitler and to Josef Stalin when she learned that Esperon had been appointed Presidential Peace Adviser. Esperon did have command of the Armed Forces. But he commanded no force as powerful as the Wehrmacht as Hitler did, or an army as vast as the Red Army Stalin used to defend Soviet soil.

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Truth in advertising

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The May 13 launch of a book on political ads by Newsbreak magazine has recalled, if only temporarily, attention to the role of political ads in Philippine elections. In the elections of 2007, as in 2004, it indeed seemed obvious enough: spend on the ads and win.

Releasing its study on media coverage of the May 2007 elections in August that year, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility recalled that since the 2001 lifting of the ban, political advertisements had been a major factor in winning elections. Manuel “Mar” Roxas’ case was the shining—or dim—example of how those with money to burn could make their political fortunes through paid ads, mostly in television.

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Burma on the edge

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A lethal combination of the worst natural disaster to ever afflict it and an inefficient, uncaring military government focused on staying in power is ravaging Burma. But the same mix could lead to the regime change that the ruling junta has managed to prevent since 1988.

Burma has been under military rule since 1962, after decades of British colonial rule. It is listed by the United Nations among the world’s least developed countries. Political turmoil has never abated in that country, with various factions of the military as well as political parties and guerilla groups vying for power.

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As if it mattered

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Covering her Tuesday visit to Camiguin, the media dutifully reported, as if it mattered, Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s decision to “revamp” her Cabinet.

Speaking in the collegiala language that she probably thinks would endear her to long suffering Filipinos, the putative president of the Philippines initially told the media people present that who’s going to go to what post was “secret.”

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