Showing posts with label pet peeves. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pet peeves. Show all posts

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Respect for our National Anthem

I have observed that a lot of people no longer stand or stop what they are doing whenever the Philippine National Anthem is played in public. This is the case whether indoors or outdoors with the obvious exceptions of flag ceremonies in offices and schools, and the formal openings of programs like conferences.

The anthem is usually played in public places like malls and parks. At malls, the anthem is commonly played prior to the establishments' opening their doors to customers. It is also played prior to the first screening of films at theaters or cinemas. In these situations, one will find that a lot of people now tend to not mind the anthem and just go about what they were doing. I would understand this if this were about the orasyon or the Angelus since many people are not Catholics. However, this is the national anthem here and it is not as if we hear this played all the time and much has been written about how it is to be sung or played. For the last, there is actually a law stating how the Lupang Hinirang was to be sung and played (i.e., it is a march and NOT a ballad, pop or rock song).

It is said that big things start with the smaller ones and how do we expect to make this country into a big-time thing if we couldn't even make ourselves stand to show respect to our own national anthem. We look at other countries and we always state or express how we envy the people of the likes of Germany, Japan or Thailand for being able to preserve their culture, customs and traditions. We say "mabuti pa sila" when we cannot even make ourselves follow simple instructions or honor the most basic aspects of our being Filipino.

I appreciate the parents I saw at a cinema who asked their children to stand while the anthem played. I believe they are teaching their children to become responsible citizens of this country. If only for their example, perhaps it is not yet too late for this country to realize it has to start with the basics if it wants to get to the big stage.


Sunday, August 21, 2011


Despite the effort of many local artists to compose new songs, there will always be a few who would attempt to simplify the process by lifting the tunes of foreign or older compositions. It's one thing to have a Tagalized or Filipinized version of songs like those made for Japanese and even US compositions that had quite popular localized versions. I believe those got permissions from the composers for the Filipino versions. In many cases, it was just a matter of translation and the original theme of the songs were not lost or replaced. It's entirely another matter when artists attempt to pass off plagiarized material as originals or worse, their own.

Two songs have caught my attention the past few years and it is disappointing that the band and the interpreter associated with the songs maintain they did not plagiarize the material. Here is the more recent one that is sadly also often used as a cheer or a celebratory song in sports events including the last time the country won the SEA Games. The original song is "Chandeliers" by The Change, classified as new wave and probably obscure to many, especially those of the younger generations. In fact, perhaps only the new wave aficionados were probably able to recognize the tune, which is quite catchy as evidenced by the success of the song by local band Orange and Lemons. The original song and the band is shown in the first part of the YouTube video below.

Another song that I myself noticed to be quite familiar the first time I heard it over the radio early last decade. It was quite new and for a country that was riding the wave of J-Pop before K-Pop came to town, I was expecting that more people could have noticed the rip-off immediately. The original song "First Love" is a top hit in Japan during the late 1990's and comes from a sensational album by Hikaru Utada that broke a lot of records and even grossed enough money that could probably could keep a small country afloat. The local artist's song is less obvious as a rip-off because some people even tried to defend it as a Tagalized version when they were running out of arguments. Toni Gonzaga, who delivered the interpretation seemed innocent enough in interviews where she maintained she was not aware of the original. The original is featured in another YouTube video below showing the original music video.

It is quite obvious and one cannot deny that the tunes were ripped off and the local artists continuing denial of such only worsens their cases in as much as my respect for them are concerned. Credit should be to the originals and not taken by a few whose objectives were clearly to make a buck here and there but at the expense of plagiarized material. For the latter song by Utada Hikaru, I was really disappointed because I am a fan of the artist and have her CDs from when I was studying in Japan. But I am disturbed by one major network's continuing use of the first song as an anthem of sorts for sports and other events that they sponsor or cover. I believe that a more appropriate theme for such purposes would be an original by Bamboo - "Noypi."

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Cinema ticket sales

I was in line to purchase a ticket to watch a film this morning and was refused, along with about a dozen other people, because the staff said it was too early and the cinemas weren't open yet. Of course, they were not open yet because we're all lined up for the first screenings of the movies we'd like to watch. Also, since there are staff assigned to the entrances to the cinemas, they may inform people if they could already enter the theaters. I really couldn't understand why the box office could not sell tickets earlier considering the films had schedules and they were also selling tickets in advance anyway, according to one poster at the box office.

I casually asked the staff who would give the go signal for her to start selling tickets and she replied that the ones in-charge of each cinema will be telling her if they were ready. I thought this was a lame excuse for a policy (if ever that was a policy) given again that they could have simply blocked the entrance to the theater if they weren't ready to allow people to get in. That was the logical thing to do rather than advise people to wait for the time when they could buy tickets while the staff stood idle at the box office. In fact, when they did start selling tickets a few minutes before the screening time of the earliest film to be shown, the staff couldn't handle the queue quite efficiently because they also took time processing transactions made by the senior citizens in the line. For the uninformed, senior citizens in the Philippines are given discounts provided they present their IDs and sign forms to avail of the discounts.

A word of advice to the different malls' managements - sell the tickets as soon as you have your staff manning the box office ready. There's no sense at all not to do so early considering people get to choose the screening schedules and it takes time to process purchases especially when seats are selected or when senior citizens are involved. You have staff assigned at the respective cinema entrances. They have and should do their jobs of letting people in according to the schedules on their tickets. Unless of course your cinema box offices still employ primitive ticketing where it may be difficult to determine the time when a customer is supposed to enter the theater. In that case, it's time you realize that you need to modernize your ticketing. It will be good for business.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Turistang pasaway

Among my top pet peeves pertain to airline passengers who do not listen to instructions and announcements made by the airline staff. You know who these are:
a) Those who continue to use their cell phones or other electronic gadgets even when the plane is about to take off or land;
b) Those who put down their trays or window shades during take-offs and landings;
c) Those who stand up and attempt to open the overhead hatches to get their luggage immediately upon landing or while the plane is taxiing; and
d) Those who race towards the exit as if they will be left off the plane if they didn't do so or maybe they thought they were very important people.

Add to this list under the said category are people who have already been advised not to take photos while walking at the tarmac of the airport. Such instructions are regularly given prior to landing at Changi with the staff citing high volume of activities at the airport (which is true) and Singapore airport security policies. Almost always, only a few listen and heed such instructions giving way to the common observation and perception that Filipinos are hard-headed and don't know how to follow simple instructions.

Perhaps for some this is an expression of their freedom. I would like to correct this claim and tag it more appropriately as stubbornness and something that is unnecessary even for the neophyte traveler. Is this how we make statements of our freedoms? Or is this how we show others that we don't care and that we aren't at all sophisticated in the sense that we cannot even follow simple rules even when security and efficiency are legitimate concerns.

So it is that a guilty pleasure of mine is when I see these people being admonished by airline staff, by the ground crew or, best of all, by Changi security people, for doing what they were told not to do in the first place. Still, I see a lot of people continuing to do so as if their vacations won't be complete without taking photos without concern about airport operations and security. They continue to be an embarrassment to those who do follow the rules and those who have learned to become more civilized and more disciplined. Believe me, it doesn't hurt and it does one more good than bad to listen and follow instructions.

Friday, June 17, 2011

School traffic

One thing I will miss about summers is the relatively light traffic along Katipunan Avenue, which is where I pass through almost everyday between my home and workplace. There is still some congestion during the mid-day and the afternoons but these are typically due to truck traffic as Circumferential Road 5 (C5) is a truck route. During the rest of the year, however, with the exception of most weekends and holidays, severe congestion is experienced along Katipunan during the peak periods, particularly in the mornings between 6:30 AM and 7:30 AM. This is due primarily to the traffic generated by schools along Katipunan Avenue, most notably the Ateneo De Manila University and Miriam College. The following photos show typical traffic conditions along C5 during the peak periods.

Slow-moving vehicles along the northbound side of Katipunan Avenue

Congestion along the northbound direction of Katipunan atop the Aurora Blvd. overpass

Congestion along the Katipunan southbound service road leading to the U-turn slot underneath the Aurora Blvd. overpass

Traffic along the southbound service road leads to a U-turn slot under the overpass where many vehicles turn, heading in the general direction of Ateneo. Most turn here in order to enter the university via its Gate 1, which is the main access to the Grade School. On most times, congestion is caused by these vehicles turning right at Gate 1 as they effectively occupy the two lanes of the northbound service road and block all other traffic. This is shown in the following photo where it is clear that vehicles bound for Ateneo and turning at Gate 1 are the main cause of congestion. Beyond Gate 1, the traffic lanes are practically free of congestion.

Vehicles turning right to Ateneo's Gate 1 blocking traffic along the Katipunan northbound service road

The afternoon peak is exacerbated by traffic generated by these schools that lead to longer periods of congestion as the number of private vehicle traffic dramatically increases when there are classes between June and April. Meanwhile, there is a noticeable decrease in traffic during the weekends and holidays. Such phenomenon is mostly attributable to the trip generation characteristics of schools, and especially those that tend towards the generation of much private vehicles. Ateneo and Miriam along Katipunan are just two examples. The traffic they generate and the consequential congestion is replicated in other places as well, giving headaches to motorists and commuters passing along major roads affected by these schools. Ortigas Avenue, for example, is usually congested during the weekdays because of traffic generated by LaSalle Greenhills, and ADB Avenue at the Ortigas Center is usually congested due to traffic attributed to Poveda.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

End of the world?

It is May 21, 2011 and it is supposed to be the end of the world. News programs have featured people in the US professing to their knowing May 21 to be the end of the world that will start with the occurrence of a powerful earthquake. But then again, this is one phenomenon that we still couldn't predict when one will exactly occur even given the best equipment that public and private funds could buy. Japan was not able to determine that a big one would happen in March 2011 and that it would be off the coast of Tohoku and that it would generate the terrible tsunami that would go on to kill thousands in a country that was supposed to be prepared for The Big One.

End of the world? Perhaps we should check again when 2012 comes around in less than 8 months time. Probably we can even get to compare it with the visuals in the movie that carried the same title. And for those who can't get it yet perhaps we should just live our lives as if it is going to be the end of the world tomorrow.

I am not suggesting that people should go out and be wild and careless and reckless. Perhaps we should be mindful of the most important people and things in our lives. These people are the ones whom we love and should be with and pay attention to. Perhaps we should be thankful that there is a brand new day each time we wake up in the morning and be appreciative of the littlest things. And perhaps we shouldn't preoccupy ourselves with doomsday pronouncements so much as we should be worried about whether we are contributing to making this world a better place for our fellowman.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Name Game

I just hate it when people misspell or mispronounce names in communications. I believe the only times these may be excused would be for exotic cases like when dealing with names of people from other countries especially those from countries like Thailand, France, China or those from Africa or Eastern Europe. Still, I would expect that many educated or well-traveled people should be able to at least have a good enough attempt to pronunciation. This, of course, assumes that the person has been exposed enough and gives a decent effort in learning how to pronounce names. A case in point would be flight attendants announcing arrival at Bangkok's new international airport, Suvarnabhumi, which, in the correct pronunciations sounds like "suwanapum."

In my case, I was engrossed with chess and its players during my younger days. This hobby led me to an honest effort to determine the correct pronunciations for Russian and Eastern European names. Simply, I found that "v's" were pronounced as "f''s" such that Kasparov would be Kasparoff and Sokolov would be Sokoloff. The use of "j" would be similar to "y" and names ending in "c" were pronounced as "ch." Thus, Ljubojevic is pronounced "lyuboyevich." I think French names are also quite challenging to pronounce particularly due to the their tongue twisting or unconventional characteristics.

The problem is when names are not along the lines of the above examples. It is not uncommon for me to receive letters that incorrectly spells my first and last names despite my staff providing such correctly and these appearing in official websites. Even during roll calls in occasions such as seminars and workshops, I often hear my name savaged into something else. Misspelled or mispronounced names in such cases show me that the person or agency in-charge does not care or cares less about whoever he or she is communicating to.

In most cases, we are gracious and kind enough to correct these mistakes even going to the extent of calling the attention of the offender. In some cases, like when the offense has been repeated once too many, we don't respond to the letter or to the call; even stating that there is no one in the office by the name they wrote or stated. In the latter case, it is a tough way to respond (or snub) if only to teach a lesson that is probably not learned or taken well enough. This is especially true for people who do not care or are insensitive about these things. And that is the tragedy in this situation.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Corruption in our midst

I finally got DSL connection today after what seemed like decades of not being able to get the service despite so many applications and follow-up efforts. The solution apparently involved doing away with the old line and having a new one that was compatible with DSL. The explanations before were either our line was not compatible to DSL or that there were no available capacity for DSL in our area. This afternoon, the technician explained that the service provider increased capacity in our area, recognizing the demand that was unmet.

I am not really writing about our new DSL connection nor the journey towards having the service in the first place. I am actually writing about a pet peeve, and one that is so pervasive in our society that I just had to write about it while it was still a fresh experience. The technician, you see, unabashedly offered to double the speed of my DSL service. This offer came up when I was asking whether the speed of the service I was getting was according to my request - up to 1Mbps. His reply was somewhat indirect, resorting to telling me about the range I would typically get with this subscription and also saying that during peak periods, I might not get the top speeds as listed by his employer. It was kind of funny considering I was quite knowledgeable in these things being previously the head of our office's computer division and having similar services at my parents' home in Cainta, my in-laws in Novaliches and our home in Singapore.

Then he dropped the offer, casually mentioning that he had not yet finalized the installation and that there was time to make some changes. He claimed that he had a friend in their company who can double the speed of my connection and that he can make it happen without the additional fee for my current plan. Only, he hinted about a one-time payment. He didn't mention the exact amount and I already cut his sales talk by calmly saying that the speed with the plan I was getting was sufficient for my purposes. I just laughed it off when he repeated the offer and countered by offering him a glass of softdrink to change the topic.

My initial reaction was disgust but I managed to hide any reaction and proceeded with the business at hand until the technician finally left, unsuccessful with his attempt to cash in. I can only wonder how many offers he had made that day and how many took the offer to be able to get high speed internet service at a price lower than what they had to pay. Certainly the service provider loses a lot from these kinds of activities by their employees. And though I also believe that the service can be cheaper, I couldn't put myself in a position where I would have to contend with my principles and my conscience.

I'm sure there will be other temptations like this, maybe when I pursue again cable TV service some time in the future. But I am sure that I will have the same response and that I will maintain my integrity and my principles intact. I will continue to sustain this effort against the very basic things I abhor and those are the very things pervasive in our society that continue to erode whatever good we attempt to establish.

Corruption is clearly in our midst. It is everywhere and can be found at different levels and different aspects. We encounter it everyday and experience its impact on our lives. I believe we should make a stand in whatever way we could. For it could very well be our last stand and we should treat it that way.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


I read a news article about a candidate for vice mayor in a large city in Metro Manila who descended, along with the candidate's henchmen, on a group of MMDA personnel who were just doing their duty removing campaign materials from light posts and railings. The candidate allegedly accused the MMDA personnel of singling out the former's posters and proceeded to bully the personnel. According to the article, if not for the timely arrival of a police vehicle, the MMDA personnel would have been roughed up by the henchmen.

I guess the subject of the article represents many, but I hope not most, of those presenting themselves to be voted for public office this coming May 10. One word seems most appropriate for these people - abusive. If they are already abusive and act as if they are above the law while campaigning, what can we expect from these people when they do get voted into office?

Among my pet peeves are motorists using sirens (aptly referred to as "wang-wang" in Pinoy onomatopoeia) to get ahead of others in traffic. Then there are those who do not use their signal lights to indicate their intention to change lanes. These days, I've observed that many of these vehicles are those of candidates and their supporters. I am usually incensed that they do not have any regard for other people time and property and I've seen many incumbents running for reelection (or have their kin running in their stead) using government vehicles and police escorts to their advantage.

Transportation and traffic being an important part of what I am (I make a living in this field.), I can strongly conclude that one reason we do not have good transportation systems in this country is because our elected leaders do not have to contend with traffic congestion and the specter of being involved in a traffic accident. They get special treatment at airports and do not get to experience first-hand the inconvenience of queuing at immigration and waiting for your flight in sweaty departure areas. They don't experience the sardine-like conditions in trains and the mediocre services of our jeepneys, buses and tricycles.

It is sad that despite his claims to know what to do about traffic, a former MMDA Chair in fact rode a motorcycle escorted vehicle together with a convoy of about 6 to 8 vehicles and never got caught in traffic like most of us voters do. I know, because I've experienced being waved away from the convoy's path. Then there are those sporting the all too familiar license plates declaring they were senators and congressmen who seem always in a hurry for something.

I do salute public servants I know who are doing their darn best to improving traffic and transport and seem to have too little time to do their thing. Many of them remain nameless even after assuming positions of influence. But there are a few who have made a name for themselves for being mavericks in their own ways. Sadly, these people might be out of their jobs once a new administration is elected this May. I do hope they remain in their offices and am crossing my fingers that we do not have abusive people replacing them.

Friday, August 8, 2008

If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

Was caught in particularly heavy traffic this morning. Sad to say, but it took a traffic jam along my route to work to make me write a post here.

Katipunan Avenue was again clogged and it took me an hour and a half to cover 2 kilometers. What can be more frustrating than burning liters of fuel while sitting in a traffic jam when there should be none at all? The culprit? We can all blame (yes, there is no other word more appropriate) it on the MMDA. I'm not even sure if orders came from the Chair himself, knowing that most of his people are actually spineless beings unable to make their own decisions. Wait, maybe they've evolved into creatures with little spines and a little brains (I trust the dinosaurs had larger ones.) because they just f*$#ed up Katipunan traffic.

I was quite amused when a crowd from the informal settlement across Miriam College gathered on the pedestrian overpass to cheer regular people, parents taking their children to school, getting out of their cars and engaging MMDA personnel who were helpless in (mis)managing the traffic. My applause though was reserved to Miriam College guards who safely guided children across Katipunan so they can make their classes rather than sit helplessly in their vehicles and maybe hear their parents, guardians or drivers cuss to kingdom come.

Traffic along Katipunan has alwasy been predictable, before and after the U-turn scheme was implemented. The peak periods are easily associated with the school schedules. Katipunan after all, is shared by three major institutions in University of the Philippines Diliman, Ateneo de Manila University, and Miriam College. Elementary trip generation will tell you (and most people using Katipunan know this), for example, that the critical hour in the morning is 6:30 - 7:30 AM. Before that and after that, Katipunan is manageable if not free flowing. But even during that period, traffic is and has always been tolerable, unless of course you happen to be one who doesn't plan your trips and blame everyone else for the traffic but yourself. But that's another story.

Experimenting with the U-turns in Katipunan the way its been done by the MMDA will always cause undeserved inconvenience, stress and fuel consumption to users of that road. There is actually nothing wrong with the traffic and congestion is a normal thing. Any attempts to fix something that isn't broken will only make matters worse. Another lesson learned from the awful experience today but only for us who actually care or give a damn in learning and improving. Unfortunately, this doesn't apply to the folks at the MMDA.

Monday, July 14, 2008


Obviously, this is not the follow-up to the previous post on mall parking. While discussions on that topic are continuing at home or in the car, I figured I can postpone the follow-up until I've had good material for at least a quarter of the malls I mentioned in that post.

What triggered today's post was a sticker I saw while riding a jeepney to work. The Clairvoyant dropped me off on the way to her office as I didn't have my car and I had to take two jeepneys to my office. In the second jeepney, I happened to sit behind the driver and couldn't help but see the back of an LTFRB sticker where, as usual, one person's name indicated what could have been his most prized accomplishment - Gen (ret). Thus, he probably couldn't really resist including his title to his name. The other two persons' names were printed quite simply - without even a Mr or a Ms to them. Yet I know them to be an Engr and an Atty.

It suddenly reminded me of what my calculus teacher told us back in college. We were sophomores then and we called our instructor's attention to the fact that he had a PhD and yet didn't bother putting Dr before his Romeo Manlapaz. He quickly joked that he wasn't insecure like those other people who revelled in appending those titles like they really mattered if the person is mediocre in reality.

What's in a title? I remember an uncle telling us that in the time of our grandparents the only titles that mattered were Fr. and Dr. The exception was the military and police who had various ranks and it was relevant to state the rank with the person. My uncle, a Korean War vet was quick to add that it was acceptable for professionals to add titles and rattled off a few the more commonly used titles - Atty, Arch and Engr.

Well, I guess this was okay as long as there is some consistency in the statement of names and if the names are indicated in signs, letters, or whatever material or instrument that made it a necessary thing. I would appreciate the specialty indicated after a medical doctor's name like the FACC, FPCC (indicating affiliation in cardiology) or FPOGS (indicating affiliation in OB-Gynecology). I also would understand that in the academe, people indicate PhD or MA or DrEng. In the corporate world, acceptable would be an MBA or CPA. In legal circles, Atty or Esq would be the norm. But appending all of BS, MS and PhD to your name would really be OA. After all, wouldn't this be mistaken for "Bull Shit," "More Shit," and "Piled higher and Deeper"?