Tuesday, November 23, 2010

'Ignorance is boring'

Girl Reading by Charles Edward Perugini

The title of this post is a T-shirt design slogan for one of the National Geographic Tees that local clothing brand Regatta is selling. Recently, the slogan has come to mean a new thing thanks to my friend Sunnyday, who says that we must really study and understand issues so that we can make sound conclusions. With these, we can help other people by explaining the issue well to help them understand too.

Regarding the big issue surrounding Pope Benedict XVI's comments on condoms in Peter Seewald's now (in)famous book Light of the World, it pays to know the whole story. What local media--slamming us with headlines like "Pope: Condom Use OK in AIDS Fight" or "Condom Use Acceptable in Certain Cases-Pope"--did was make noise over a portion of a quote taken out context and package it as The Greatest and Latest Church Teaching Ever.

For a clear analysis of what the Pope really said, go to Jimmy Akin's site. But here I'll aslo try to explain with my limited theological knowledge. Wehehe!

Yesterday, I was at a media forum listening to Fr. Joel Jason, a moral theologian in the San Carlos Seminary, explain that bit on condoms being the "first step to moralization." According to Fr. Jason, what the Holy Father meant by that was a consciousness and a concern on the part of the male prostitute (in his example) to wish that no harm comes to other people by his doing his "job." A male prostitute who is concerned about not infecting others with AIDS (and uses a condom to achieve it) is possibly taking the first step of assuming responsibility.

Fr. Jason continues: "With this first step, [Pope Benedict means that] hopefully, [this grain of responsibility] matures and grows into the other direction--that of the humanization of sexuality." The last means that sexuality is regarded as a positive, wholesome, and procreative gift to be shared in marriage--and not a drug that you can get high with just because "you have the right."

To this, Archbishop-Emeritus Oscar Cruz (who was also speaking at the forum) adds: "Ang karapatan at obligasyon, magkasama yan. Kapag condom ang pinag-uusapan, palagi na lang 'karapatan, karapatan!' Kinalimutan ang obligasyon." ("Rights and obligation go together. When it comes to condoms, all they shout for is 'rights, rights!' They've forgotten the obligation.")

Besides, why work harder on the aspect of showering the whole country with condoms when it's so obvious that condom use does not eliminate AIDS? Because if it's really, truly, infallibly potent at getting rid of AIDS, why is it that condom promotion comes hand in hand with rising HIV/AIDS cases?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Barya barya

(Image for illustration purposes only. Peace!)

Have you ever been asked for change in a huge commercial establishment, the type that you generally should not expect to ask you for "barya" because of their apparent money magnanimity? This is one thing I find very amusing and frustrating at the same time--frustrating because you're checking out your purchases already and are forced suddenly to dig in your purse for an errant 25 centavos, and amusing because it happens so often you can guess that the lady at the cashier would ask it... it's just the matter of her phrasing that you have to get right in your head.

Speaking of phrasing, there's a different tact that some cashier personnel have come to use: instead of asking for exact payments, they ask if it's okay with you if you receive insufficient change! Why, imagine how much money that would sum up to if everyone who bought something received 25 centavos less or a peso less in their due change!

I'm really in need of a little more spunk in this aspect, so I'm quite thankful this particular tactic hasn't been tried on me yet. But should it happen to you, here are two comebacks you may want to use, courtesy of my sister Isis, who has encountered such impudence more than once already:

Cashier: "Ma'am kulang lang po ng 25 centavos." (While handing over the insufficient change.)
You: "Tatanggapin mo ba ang bayad ko kung kulang?"


Cashier: "Ma'am okay lang po ba kung kulang?"
You: "Ok kung sobra."

Say it lightly and don't pick a fight! Most of the time, cashier personnel do this because they're too lazy to look for change not very well-prepared and feel that looking around will hold up the line. This is a chance for you to help them do better in their job, so they can be more prudent and helpful next time. Don't forget to say thank you when you get the right change!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Do the math, listen to the heart

Sorry, guys, I have been a delinquent blogger. Has it been a month already!? No fear, I'm getting back on track... lots of interesting stuff at work ;-)

Last Tuesday I attended the CBCP-CMN Tuesday Breakfast Forum in Ilustrado Restaurant, Intramuros, and Paranaque Rep. Roilo Golez was there to talk about the issue on the value of human life, which the RH bill is bent on putting down. This congressman really talks sense into the whole matter--and from an economic point of view too.

What he explained was: let's say a Pill costs 10 pesos, and that at present there are 10 million women of reproductive age.

10 x 10,000,000 = 100,000,000

And there are 365 days a year.

100,000,000 x 365 = 36,500,000,000

That's right, folks! 36.5B a year on the Pill alone! How many schools will that put up? How many workers can that train to be competent in their jobs? How many... well you can figure it out.

The comment I appreciated the most from Rep. Golez had nothing to do with math, budget or economics, though... it's the comment he said as a father. In the forum, he pointed out that it has become "normal" (or worse, "safe") nowadays to bring a condom to a gimik, just "for goodtime." But he adds:

"Paano kung yung daughter mo ang mag-goodtime?"

Bam! Paano nga ba?

I don't have a daughter, but as a daughter myself, I can imagine the adamant NO coming out of my parents' lips. It's not just about getting pregnant (which the condom "fixes") that I think bothers parents when their kids, specifically daughters, um, run rampant, but rather it's the respect she loses, the values she throws out, and the reputation she builds, and ultimately the person she becomes, that make Mom and Dad--especially Dad--become protective.

Call me conservative or old-fashioned, but I think I'm not alone in the belief that there's nothing unjust in the fact that women give birth and men don't. Give it up already. Women can't be men and men can't be women.

What is it that "feminists" are so envious of men about? The fact that they can sleep around? Who says they can do that anyway? (And why would you want to do that?!) Sure, men technically can sleep around without suffering evident consequences, but how does it corrupt them inside? It shifts their priorities, befuddles them about whether they really love or just lust after someone. Where is true happiness in that?

It can't be stressed enough that the family is the basic unit of society. If we allow ourselves to be corrupted--our mindset, our values--in the heart of our home, paano tayo pupunta sa matuwid na daan?