April 2001 Archive

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[01] A Trick.  A young high school student took a walk one day with one of his teachers who was noted for his fairness in dealing with the young people in his classes. As the two walked along, they came across a pair of old shoes lying alongside the path. Seeing a laborer working in a nearby field, they assumed the shoes belonged to him. The man was just ending his day's work.

[02] Smart Answers.  Last week the president of Smart Communications, Napoleon Nazareno, was here to inaugurate the new Smart Wireless Center at the Landco-PDCP Business Centre in Bajada. During the cocktails after the formal ceremonies (with second district Rep. Manuel Garcia as guest of honor) I managed to slip in an interview with him (he was reluctant at first, even saying during his short message that he hoped the media would not interview him anymore because he was already overexposed).

[03] More Smart Answers.  I asked Smart Communications president Napoleon Nazareno about his company's introduction of GPRS (general packet radio service, nicknamed 2.5G because it is the intermediate step between second generation or 2G which most of us use and 3G, which promises internet connection and other services at breakneck speeds) last week. My interest was mainly in how much Smart will charge GPRS subscribers, and his answer was perhaps typical of him: he does not know yet. The most he would say is that it will be cheaper the wireless application protocol (WAP) because one is charged only when data is sent; just browsing the internet (yes, you can "surf" on a GPRS phone!) won't cost anything.

[04] Acronyms.  Maybe I just don't watch enough TV anymore, but the first time I heard the acronym VOT FOR D CHAMMP last week during the opening of One Internet Day last week. Luli Arroyo, daughter of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, couldn't resist making a pitch for the candidates of the People Power Coalition during her speech. She had apparently made a point of asking that she not be referred to as the "Presidential Daughter," preferring to be acknowledged on her own merits as director of the Foundation for Information Technology Education and Development, but come speech time she ended by promoting the 13 PPC candidates.

[05] Bye-bye, $12 million.  I knew it. After asking every person who might even remotely know anything about Microsoft chair Bill Gates' $12 million software contribution to Philippine public school and getting no answer I was finally able to ask Education Secretary Raul Roco himself about it. As a backgrounder, Gates made the pledge last year to then-President Joseph Estrada when the latter visited the US. Estrada had made a show of ignoring criticism that he appeared to be begging from the world's richest man, saying he didn't mind falling on his knees like a mendicant if it would mean helping Pinoy students get a better education through computers. Apparently pleased that a head of state had come crawling at his feet, Gates promised to give $12 million worth of software.

[06] Where.  My congratulations to the winners of the 1st Davao Web Awards, who were announced last Saturday during the culminating party of One Internet Day at Matina Town Square. Here's a list of the winners sent by the organizers...

[08] More Bloopers.  Bertha Belch, a missionary from Africa will be speaking tonight at Calvary Memorial Church in Racine. Come tonight and hear Bertha Belch all the way from Africa.

[09] Advisory?  On Saturday morning I found a faxed note on my desk. "MEDIA ADVISORY," it read. "TO ALL MEDIA OUTLETS: Please be warned about a series of rigged surveys that Mr... and partner Mr.... will release in a few days. Mr... and... are paid hacks of mayoralty aspirant Mr. Rodrigo Duterte and their surveys would tend to indicate a winning margin for Mr. Duterte. The two were behind the spurious Pulse Asia Survey this week which was published in the local papers and which was strongly disowned by a Pulse Asia executive. BE WARNED!!!" And printed in small letters at the tail end of the note was the word "Alyansa."

[10] Hacking.  Perhaps unwittingly the Alyansa opened a can of worms when it sent out a "media advisory" warning media outlets about the press releases churned out by alleged "paid hacks" working for mayoralty candidate Rep. Rodrigo Duterte. In reality perhaps no political candidate has ever campaigned without a "paid media hack" or two; anyone who wants to be voted into office has to have a pool of writers to dish out articles that put him/her in a good light. That's just reality. Of course just because it's a reality doesn't mean it's right.

[11] Smokin'!  Over the past weeks I have been noticing that more and more people are violating City Ordinance No. 8 or the ban on smoking in all public places. Last week alone practically all the jeepneys I took from Mintal where I live to the downtown area had at least one person smoking inside, often the drivers themselves; most of the time I was able to remind the smokers that it is against the law in Davao City to smoke in a public utility vehicle while in motion, but you can understand my hesitation when it is a burly man puffing away.

[12] Transfer  This Holy Week I want to share this "military correspondence" with you; it's particularly meaningful if you feel tired of the warfare of the Christian life.

[16] RP vs Europe!  There's a new movie out and it's something you and I understand completely: "Bridget Jones's Diary" stars Renee Zellweger and Hugh Grant and is about... text. Yes, the ubiquitous cell phone service (called in places other than the text capital as SMS or short message service) takes center stage in this based-on-the-book movie, and already thousands of fans in Europe are signing up for an SMS service that would send Bridget Jones' "cryptic diary notations" to their call phones. Can't wait to see this film, if only to see how other cultures do text.

[17] Judas  How quickly the campaign has degenerated to the level of the dirty and disgusting! The two-day Holy Week ban on campaigning imposed by the Commission on Elections had hardly ended when the two top candidates for mayor - incumbent Benjamin de Guzman and Rep. Rodrigo Duterte - began hurling rather nasty accusations against each other. First up was Duterte, who seized the Holy Week theme and called de Guzman "Judas" who has "betrayed not just my trust and confidence but that of the entire people of Davao."

[18] Networking  I had a chat yesterday with two of 3Com's top men in the Philippines, senior network consultant Gilbert Virtucio and account manager Jermyn "Wowie" Wong, who are in Davao City to hold a series of trainings on 3Com's new offerings. I commented that it seems surprising that 3Com would actually present new products and services - totaling 117! - at a time when the technology sector is suffering serious setbacks (and bringing the world market down along with it). Gilbert candidly admitted that even 3Com is being affected by the bug, but that doesn't stop the network leader from pushing through with its product development.

[19] Bizarre  This really happened to a friend of mine, who's an American missionary working among the urban poor in Davao City. He had just been blessed with a new truck (what we Pinoys call a pick-up, actually) through his home church in the US, and he was driving it along Cabaguio Avenue two weeks ago when he saw an old and apparently homeless man walking along the sidewalk. The man was all bent and walked with a cane, and looked like he hadn't eaten in days. My friend couldn't decide if he should stop and give the man something: his heart said he should, but his mind said he should keep moving because he had things to do.

[20] Man  I have been priding myself in having my life ironed out ever since I got my Palm IIIxe a few months ago. With a scheduler that can hold thousands of appointments I tell people that I no longer miss appointments or forget stuff I need to do. Indeed, over the past months I have not stood up anyone: my Palm reminds me with a nice beep that I have a meeting with this or that person, or that a press conference is scheduled at this and that time and place. So when my wife left for a trip early this week I was sure I could handle things smoothly since my Palm would be my, well, personal digital assistant.

[22] Survivor  The date is June 24, 1859. Suddenly, there he is, atop a hill over-looking the plain of Solferino. Napoleon's troops prepare for battle with the Austrians below, and Henri Dunant has a box seat view from his place on the hill.

[23] Missing Earth Day - again   With less than a month to go before the elections the volume of propaganda of political candidates is reaching the critical point. These days it's hard to breathe as we are overwhelmed by news after news of this candidate hitting that candidate for wrongdoings, and that candidate hitting back at this candidate for worse wrongdoings. Sometimes I actually hate opening my email because I know I will be bombarded by press / praise / hate releases from different camps wanting to bring the other down. So when good news arrives it is like a breath of fresh air.

[24] Swing Vote   Out of the blue comes a suggestion from a Zamboanga City Council aspirant for the millions of youths unable to register to make their voices heard - albeit unofficially - by "voting" through the internet. VP Elago (no indication on what the initials stand for) said registering a vote in cyberspace will let the country hear their collective voice. Elago says he is a member of this "disenfranchised" sector himself and thus knows both what the youth feel at not being able to vote and what the possibilities are through cyberspace.

[25] Pros and Cons   Yesterday's business pages carried three interesting news items: two on how information technology can benefit small businesses and farmers, and one on how it can be used to dupe unsuspecting people. First, the Department of Science and Technology affirmed its support for small- and medium-scale enterprises by saying it has been conducting IT training for SMEs in Southern Mindanao. DOST regional director Madel Morados told reporters during Monday's Kapehan sa Dabaw that the trainings were done to "help boost the SMEs and prepare them for globalization."

[26] Pros and Cons 2   While the internet has a lot of potential for good, it is also fraught with danger. Recently the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Central Visayas was reported to have issued a cease and desist order against a dot-com firm allegedly soliciting investments from the public without registration from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The offending dot-com is www.prosperity.com, which the DTI says is "engaged in the selling of computer software and services, including but not limited to selling and hosting of web sites without engaging in the Internet service provider."

[28] Star-struck at Elizabeth Ramsey  Yesterday I had the chance to interview Jaya (yes, the diva) at The Marco Polo, Davao and was blown away by her simplicity and down-to-earthness. My first reaction when I saw her was, "She's so small!" because she stood only about five feet tall. You couldn't tell from her pictures and television appearances that she is such a diminutive lady, and from her voice you would think she'd be a statuesque lady to be able to belt out her songs. But there she was, in the flesh, all five-feet-tall of her, and she was winning me over because of her easy charm.

[29] Never  He Never Came Dressed That Way Again (Author unknown.)  I saw him in the church building for the first time last Wednesday. He was in his mid 70's with silver hair and a neat brown suit. Many times in the past I had invited him to come. Several friends had talked to him about the Lord and had tried to share the Good News with him. He was a well-respected, honest man with so many characteristics a Christian should have, but he had never put on Christ.

[30] Chichiria   A few days ago my wife and I sent our son to buy some vinegar from the neighborhood store, but we told him he was not allowed to buy chichiria. Sure enough, when he got back he not only had a bottle of suka but also a small bag of chichiria. We were about to scold him when he announced that the snack had been given to him by a playmate, and when we looked at it we saw that he was telling the truth: the bag, which contained what looked like cheese curls, had the words "RODY pagka-Mayor" emblazoned on it.

2001 Jon Joaquin. All rights reserved.