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Showing posts from May, 2005

Oil pricing remains a mystery|Hiwaga sa presyo ng krudo/Death and taxes|Buwis at kamatayan (PJI editorials 20-21 May 2005)

Oil pricing remains a mystery

IT’S off the mark every time — the figures guessed at by consumer groups don’t ever tally with the numbers tabbed by oil players at the gas pumps, whether the price adjustment soars up or, by some major miracle, it goes down.

Thus, fuel pricing remains a mystery to all of us.

Taciturn executives of oil firms have been haled to congressional hearings over the past years to throw light on this mystery. Like gamblers out to out-hustle lawmakers, those oil fat cats hemmed and hawed while keeping their cards close to their chest. So to this day, the public remains in the dark as to how oil firms unleash pump figures that often cause commodity price spirals and shattered household budgets.

Transparency isn’t exactly a trait of oil companies, whether they’re upstarts or grizzled giants in the playing field. We need not be told: oil players do not want consumers to know the arithmetic of oil pricing.

For its silent partner part in this crime of sorts, the governm…

Wala nang toma, kulang sa tama

MABABA pa ang antigong bakod ng Malacañang nang dumalaw sa Pilipinas si then-incumbent US President Richard M. Nixon—at kabilang ako sa ilang daang musmos na sumalubong sa kanya, nagwawagayway ng inyong bandila sa harap ng Freedom Park, nasa isang panig iyon ng J.P. Laurel Avenue sa harapan ng Palasyo.

The Palace resident treated Nixon to a taste of basi, a suave brew from native sugar cane juice aged for 13 Fridays, sieved through silk and whipped out like a warm embrace for an honored guest.

Basi has kindled one of our nation’s initial uprisings against Spain—the colonial overseers wanted every drop of sugar cane grown in the country’s northern parts churned up as sugar for European tables and basi lovers balked at the bleak prospects of letting go of kindred spirits in a Spanish version of 17th century prohibition period. For want of a drink, the Basi Revolt broke out.

Such historical tidbit can show how much basi is cherished in these parts. Served chilled in goblets or drawn fro…

Death of a newspaper/Patay na Peryodiko|What we truly are/Ano na ba tayo? (PJI editorials 8-9 May 2005)

Death of a newspaper
BACK in the 1990s when P26.50 equaled a dollar, this publisher of a movie magazine was clearing a neat P40,000 a week.

It didn’t take him three years to buy himself a printing press plus the land it’s housed on, a few hectares of farmlands and two or three sweet young things to plug into—he plied out two more of such reading fare. He admits his product is a trashy no-brainer. Admittedly, trash sells like proverbial hotcakes.

He was quick to add that he wanted a put out a decent paper, something that wouldn’t pull wool over the eyes of the star-struck and dumb-struck. He also conceded that the readership for a decent paper for the low-income groups isn’t broad enough— it would be financial suicide to put out a paper like that.

So think about it. Either dwindling readership or acute lack of advertising placements finally killed the Pangasinan-based Sun*Star Dagupan. There’s no touch of irony: the paper’s death came after Dagupan City trotted out a long, long stretc…


IT dawns on me now there’s more to nilupak than meets a naïve city slicker’s eye.

Let us recall a recipe. Prize firm semi-ripe saba bananas, most of ‘em dark green with hardly any hint of yellow sheen on their skin— stuffed full of starch with fruity sweetness about to begin. Pounded to a creamy smoothness, semi-ripe saba would have the consistency of corn meal or whole wheat flour.

Saba bananas of such sort are boiled, peeled, cut up in chunks, plunked into an aching maw-hole of a mortar hewn out of a tamarind tree trunk. Ah, tamarind tree boles often turn up into such farm household items as mortar or chopping board—the fine-grained tough wood often ages into a honeyed dull cream color. Tamarind wood doesn’t impart either tartness or sour-sweetness of its sap to any item of food worked upon its honey-smooth surface. Besides, tamarind—salumagi, sampalok, ampil -- throbs with, as wizened rustics have it, a nurturing love.

Palpate for such sort of love with a fond gaze on a firm han…

Getting down to the naughty gritty/Putak-manok sa imahen (PJI editorial 5 May 2005)

ALLOW us to offer a truckload of thanks and tons of commiseration for one Journal Online reader— griped how she felt bad about a local TV teen-age couple after giggling pubescent male stole a snapshot at nubile female with mobile phone camera showing her taking a shower, rinsing her flower, and yelping at the naughty intrusion.

Reader also volunteered information that the audio-video sequence is being circulated in this neck of the woods. Probably that’s prima facie evidence of whatever sex scandal or show-and-tell value people can wrung off from that revealing footage.

With a view on the current water shortage that bedevils the metropolis, we can only hazard a guess this young couple set an example to audiences on an ingenious way to save water. It’s likely they took a shower together. They probably stumbled on a more innovative water saving scheme: young couple just exchanged bodily fluids.

We’re probably growing old such that the normal 20-20 vision we once had is being whacked ou…

Interesting times/Kakatwang panahon (PJI editorial 4 May 2005)

WE LIVE in interesting times. These are times in which popularity is conveniently construed as reliable measure of human worth. The trenchant mind-set is going with the flow, not exactly standing one’s ground.

So nearly everyone strives to cozy up to, maybe please the crowds to gain their approval to hoist up one’s approval ratings by a few rungs.

A drop in one’s approval ratings owing to a not-exactly perfect perception of a whimsical, ever-griping populace, that’s deemed as disaster or stigma on one’s person. Lose rapport with those yammering hordes? That’s seen as blight on one’s capacity to lead.

So the current leadership isn’t exactly likeable and most of the led including the misled are in furor at everything that gets their goat—runaway increases in costs of fuel, water, and electricity; racked up cost of education; unabated graft and corrupt practices in government; chaotic traffic and idiotic television viewing fare… The litany of woes could go on and on. As if it were a fea…