Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Day After Christmas

Christmas was a wonderful occasion this year. Here are just a few of my observations; no matter the poor economy, everyone had a wonderful time and enjoyed being with friends and loved ones. We spent Christmas Eve night and the first few hours of Christmas morning with the family in Saint Christine. I felt a little ashamed remembering the many Christmas's I've spent having much more in the way of presents to offer my family, and having much more food on the table, but my family understood.
Christmas is a time of hope for our family; we hope for better days, we hope for peace in the world around us, and especially here in the Philippines.
As an American, I guess I'm accustomed to the commercialism that accompanies Christmas in the US. When I see the small gifts that people here exchange my heart is heavy that especially the children might be missing the presents that they see others receive. Over the years in the US I’ve thought that we focus too much on gift giving during Christmas and not on the true meaning of the occasion. But I really think that there is a balance to things and that some gift giving especially for the children is a good thing. I hope that next Christmas I can do a much better job of providing for our family.
Wishing all of you the Very Happiest of times this Christmas season and a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Have Mercy on my Derrière

Please in the name of all that is Holy, someone have mercy on me and fix the roads near Lianga. Coming from a rural part of the US, gravel roads did not really bother me much when I first came to the Philippines. But apparently when I first came here someone had thankfully put some rock on the road. To call the roads here gravel right now is a real stretch of the imagination.
The wife and I had to take a trip to San Francisco, Agusan del Sur today, and then over to her families home in St. Christine. I swear there are no rocks left on the supposedly gravel sections of the road. Dirt, pot holes, and mud puddles is all that remains. Surly to God if the government can’t afford pavement they could at least give us a little gravel to drive on. I’m sure that since Bachelor Lines has so many buses that make a mess of the road, if someone asked real nice they might fork over a few bucks to buy some gravel. Come on people, don’t you understand that the worse you let the roads get, the more it will take to get them back to something that can be traversed with a modicum of safety. Two places between Lianga and Barobo I had a deep fear that we were not going to make it. With the wife expecting I really don’t want to take the chance that we will have a crash, so please, may the power that be, fix the damn roads.
I did make note of another obstacle when traveling the roads here in the Philippines that you just don’t see in the US. Dogs here think they own the road, and must have a deep seated belief that they are indestructible. I almost taught one, that he indeed was not, scared the bejesus out of him and us.

The universe never did make sense; I suspect it was built on government contract. Robert A. Heinlein

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Good News for the Evacuees

In a bold and courageous move by the government of the Philippines, a cease fire has been ordered for the Christmas Season. Govt declares holiday truce with NPA This is great news and I believe a step in the right direction. So much has been in the news lately about the dire situation of the evacuees, just the thought of the kids being away from home for Christmas is heart wrenching. Manobo kids want halt to military operations in Surigao Sur Hopefully, both sides will take the needs of the people in mind during any negotiations.
Unfortunately as long as the finger pointing continues, I see little chance of meaningful resolution to the problems.
NPA behind continuous evacuation in Surigao: military, Leftists want Angelina Jolie's help to save displaced farmers in RP Each story I read points the finger of blame at either the government or the NPA. I believe all of us should point the finger squarely at ourselves for letting this continue. It’s time for the residents to stand up and be counted and send a clear message that this can not continue. Too much has been lost over the years; the area has been left behind for much too long. There is so much potential in this area, but nothing can be accomplished when there is continual fighting going on keeping the tourists away from this area. All the Embassies continually issue warnings to their citizens to avoid this area. How can the economy get any better if we can’t get people coming here to bask in the wonderful climate, walk on the calm beaches, and swim the clear beautiful rivers? This area is a paradise that should be shared with the rest of the world; we need it safe for people to visit.
Regrettably I really don’t know much about the politics of the conflict, but from what I read, I know that there is no form of communism that can be acceptable. No matter how much corruption takes place, communism is not the answer. Communism is the ultimate form of corruption, whereby only the leaders achieve any status, everyone else works to provide them with the status symbols they so cherish. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure that out, take a look at the communist countries in the world today. Korea, China, and Cuba have the worst living conditions for their people of the entire world. Yes China has been improving, but if they want to achieve greatness they will need to abolish communism to do it. So why would anyone want to spoil paradise by wanting communism? Please post your comment and let me know.

“Communism is the death of the soul. It is the organization of total conformity - in short, of tyranny - and it is committed to making tyranny universal.” Adlai E. Stevenson (American Politician. Governor of Illinois (1949-53) and Ambassador to the United Nations (1961-65)

“Communism is not love. Communism is a hammer which we use to crush the enemy.” Mao Tse-Tung quotes (Chinese statesman, the key figure in China in the 20th century, 1893-1976)

"The streets of our country are in turmoil. The universities are filled with students rebelling and rioting. Communists are seeking to destroy our country. Russia is threatening us with her might, and the Republic is in danger. Yes - danger from within and without. We need law and order! Without it our nation cannot survive." –Adolf Hitler