Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dental Appointments

I used to dread going to the dentist. I've been to many dentists including a family friend (my father's, actually), a company dentist (again from my father's), dentists designated by HMOs, dentists at the University, and dentists referred to by friends.

I've been traumatized by a very unpleasant extraction back in my grade school days (I was probably Grade 3 at the time and the anesthesia technology was probably quite primitive still.). Since then, whether its a simple cleaning or a routine filling, I've always been stressed up just thinking of the "ordeal" that I would have to go through. The smell of tooth being grinded or drilled, and the sound of the drill adds to the anxiety felt in a typical visit.

All that changed in the recent months as I finally found the dentist that made all the fear go away, as if exorcising me from the nightmares of past dental appointments. Indeed, my new dentist is a very good one. Magaan ang kamay, as is the common description by patients who are happy with their dentists, especially after they have a tooth or teeth extracted.

Truth to tell, I had a worn out wisdom tooth extracted to start the New Year. This was no mere tooth, but something that has become quite notorious for me procrastinating about its fate. It had a long history as I monitored its deterioration since 1997 when decay set in, most probably the product of too many grape-flavored Mentos I used to consume during my regular walks to and from the University.

I felt nothing as I became acquainted with modern dental anesthesia. But credit really must go to the dentist, my dentist if you allow me, for doing the best extraction in my not so pleasant dental history so far. I now look forward to my next visit - for a filling or two. Braces? That I may have to think about...and maybe soon.

And oh, before I forget, the contact information for my dentist:

my dental space
17 Barcelona Tower, Marquinton Residences,
Sumulong Highway, Marikina City
(Tel) 02-933-1717

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Compromising EST

I, together with my colleagues at the University of the Philippines, have been advocating for environmentally sustainable transport (EST) in the Philippines. In one of our more recent workshops with representative of various government agencies, some participants insisted on identifying targets that we attainable based on agencies' present capacities. That was obviously premised on these same agencies not making any significant effort to improve themselves through capacity building or enhancement. As such, it was to me a resignation, an act of compromising when the stakes are high and there are no clear terms being offered by the enemy, which is environmental degradation due to transportation.

The results were tell-tale and indicative of how government has engaged the challenges brought about by unsustainable transport systems. Strategies convenient with respect to the status quo were stated, and any real effort to come up with more aggressive (and challenging) targets, such as those critical in effecting EST, were not achieved.

I believe that our role is to influence these people and, if necessary, take them by the hand and guide them like a another leads a blind person, so that they may realize the urgency of the situation. That same urgency is inherent in the inconvenient truth that Al Gore and other advocates for the environment, for the survival of our future, our descendants, have bravely presented for all to reflect and act on. We should and must formulate and implement inconvenient strategies. Strategies that will translate into meaningful programs and projects that will stave off the detrimental impacts of our present activities, if only to preserve this world for the next generations.

The advocacy for the environment and EST requires sacrifice. Indifference and resignation to our current lot will get us nowhere and ultimately dooms us as well as our world. It is not too late to try and it would certainly help if we do our part and make a genuine, honest effort to keep our earth alive.

Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

I learned this prayer from school and it has been a great guide for me. I start my day with this prayer and it has set the tone for me as I continue my journey that is life.

Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to life eternal


Try it yourself and I can assure you that it will help you begin the day with a light, calm heart that will surely get you through any challenge or obstacle you might encounter.

Happy Holidays!

I have been aching to blog since the holiday break started. Unfortunately, I've successfully fought the urge and have gone online only to check on my e-mail as well as my Facebook account. I still believe though that holidays are best spent with loved ones and to recharge batteries so that I can be energized in preparation for the new year.

There was indeed a lot to be thankful for in the past year. 2008 has been a very good year. I wouldn't want to call it luck. All the blessings were graces that were the result of genuine hard, honest work guided by the Lord. There are a lot of people I am also thankful to and thankful for. Without them, a lot of the good things and results wouldn't have been possible if not for their inputs and cooperation.

I look forward to 2009 and am hopeful for a peaceful and prosperous year tempered by the experiences, the wisdom gained from 2008 and the years past.