Friday, December 21, 2007

Historic $2.4B Aid Increase Passes House!

I thought the Christmas Greeting was going to be my last entry for the year but I guess this good news is something I cannot let pass without saying something about it.

Last night the US House voted to pass the Senate’s version of the fiscal year 2008 omnibus spending bill. The legislation includes a historic $2.4 billion increase for global poverty programs - money that will literally save thousands of lives.

This was something that organizations like ONE and World Vision have been lobbying for. Now another work begins....for the people to be vigilant and make sure the funds go to the people who should benefit most from it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

2007 Christmas Greeting....

My very best wishes to everyone this Holiday Season...



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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Start of the Aguinaldo Masses...

Tomorrow December 16, is the start of the Aguinaldo Mass. Last year I completed the 9 days of Aguinaldo Masses. I wish I could complete it the traditional way this time with early morning masses. But with the kids still going to school next week, I will have to attend the anticipated masses at night on the first week.


They say when you complete the 9 days, your wish comes true. Mine did last year. I'm hoping for something more but I guess I won't wish for that...I will leave to God the rest. He will know best. And what will be will be...


I'll just wish for something else...not for myself, but for the people I love.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I have a reason to smile...

I have a reason to smile more today. The Sector Head just announced promotions for the group. All the four people I recommended for my Division got promoted. That's more than the 5% alloted for the whole group of over 60 people in the plantilla.

No one from the other two divisions got promoted though they had recommendations. I'm aware of course that with the promotion of my people, there were others from the whole Sector that were taken off the list to meet the maximum quota. And of course not all of my people can be satisfied. There were others who expected to be promoted and I had to deal with that too. But all in all, things are good.

I thanked the Sector Head for his support and he replied, "they deserve it!" I forwarded that to the four who got promoted. My people are happy and that's good enough for me... :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Week's Meal...

Ironic that just the other day I posted a restaurant that serves very big servings of food. Today, I received an e-mail of how much different families spend in a week for food. It makes me think of how many blessings I should really be thankful for, especially that my family can enjoy a full meal three times a day, and even a bit more this Christmas...



SLIDE 1: Italy: The Manzo family of Sicily - Food expenditure for one week: 214.36 Euros or $260.11

SLIDE 2: Germany: The Melander family of Bargteheide - Food expenditure for one week: 375.39 Euros or $500.07

SLIDE 3: United States: The Revis family of North Carolina -Food expenditure for one week $341.98

SLIDE 4: Mexico: The Casales family of Cuernavaca - Food expenditure for one week: 1,862.78 Mexican Pesos or $189.09

SLIDE 5: Poland: The Sobczynscy family of Konstancin-Jeziorna - Food expenditure for one week: 582.48 Zlotys or $151.27

SLIDE 6: Egypt: The Ahmed family of Cairo - Food expenditure for one week: 387.85 Egyptian Pounds or $68.53

SLIDE 7: Ecuador: The Ayme family of Tingo - Food expenditure for one week: $31.55

SLIDE 8: Bhutan: The Namgay family of Shingkhey Village - Food expenditure for one week: 224.93 ngultrum or $5.03

SLIDE 9: Chad: The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp - Food expenditure for one week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.23





Sunday, December 09, 2007

People Really Eat Here???

This is a restaurant called Waldgeist in Hofheim. They will serve you the biggest Schnitzel you will ever see. The plates in the following pictures are huge! This all for very affordable prices. Every table has rolls of alu-foil, ready to be used. Those that have to use the alu-foil are considered cowards. Drinks are, unless otherwise ordered, served in 2-litre glasses and their bestseller is “Der Bembel des Todes” a 5-litre glass filled with Bacardi and Coke for only 35 Euros.

Hmmm, I can take the challenge on that coke...as long as it's Diet Coke




Saturday, December 08, 2007

Our Stories’ project: Children around the world share and connect online


On December 7 in New York, UNICEF, One Laptop per Child (OLPC) and Google announced the launch of ‘Our Stories website – an initiative that will collect, preserve and share stories from young people around the world.

Leading figures have already lent their voices to the project: Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, Queen of Jordan and UNICEF Eminent Advocate for Children, and Ishmael Beah, UNICEF Advocate for Children Affected by War and best-selling author of A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, have all recorded messages welcoming users to the site and encouraging them to share their stories.

The website was launched with stories from Brazil, Ghana, Pakistan, Tanzania, Uganda, Argentina, Ethiopia and Nigeria. And to widen the area of coverage and reach out to more youths, translations of the site into eight languages are underway and coming out soon.

Quite soon, ‘Our Stories’ website will also have the functionality for recording stories on mobile phones and land lines. This is indeed good news...more youth will be able to participate and get connected with other young voices worldwide.

As former child soldier Ishmael Beah put it, "One of the most significant changes in my life has been the ability to tell my story for the benefit of others.”

” Our Stories" website is a great avenue for sharing the youth's life experiences.

Friday, December 07, 2007

What???

I never thought I'd lose my temper and get quite loud at the office last Thursday. But knowing that such a report reaches the Sector Head and after reading the status report that I had one of my unit heads handle and monitor, I just couldn't help it. I was far from smiling when I got to read the details. More so when I asked if he'd send that to the Sector Head and he gave a confident yes answer.

The report is supposed to indicate the issues, action taken and target completion date. It was simple. What I read in the Issues and Action Taken columns were excerpts from e-mail exchanges and the report appeared like people were talking to each other...just like in the e-mail. He said that was how he tracked the status. That really threw me off. It was far from what I expected from a Senior Manager's work output. I expected him to summarize the action taken and not copy paste the e-mail exchanges to the status report.

I'm letting off steam here but maybe portions from the "status report" will explain why:

Action Taken:

* "Email of xxxxx: May we refer to you attached screenshots....Per SOA the bal. of account is not OD but during printing the balance printed is OD.Pls. check."

* next line: " Email of xxxxxx to xxxxxx: The issue was fixed on july 18. We have corrected the bal for the ff: accnts.(listed in the email.)"

* next line: "Pls. monitor the new updates and let us know immediately, if the problem recurs. Also, pls. confirm the formatting issue."

Oh this one beats them all:

* "Now you just told me right here in your e-mail that we can do it via GLM01. Thank you. Now I would just like to ask if this procedure can only be done because of our adjustments now, or we can always do this..."

Looking back now though, I can agree with my friend that it was funny and even quite comic when you read it...but certainly not at the time when I first got to read it.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Year of Sanitation 2008...

This last week, two UNICEF-sponsored events took place in several nations: the 18th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), and the launching of the International Year of Sanitation 2008.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child was celebrated in several countries. InGermany, UNICEF representatives and children from the Berlin International School celebrated the 18th birthday of the CRC. A huge blue banner which read ‘A Call from Berlin: Children First – Kinder haben Rechte’ (Children have Rights) covered the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin's landmark to the end of the Cold War. The ‘Children First’ banner served as a reminder to Germany of its obligations 15 years after the country’s ratification of the Convention. To this day, Germany has yet to ratify the CRC treaty’s Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and pornography.

In New York, the CRC was celebrated with UNICEF appointing its first Advocate for Children Affected by War, Ishmael Beah, a child soldier survivor from Sierra Leone. With his appoitment, Beah becomes a symbol of hope for children who have suffered violence and deprivation of their rights as children.

A website called CRC@18 was also launched by UNICEF to help protect the fundamental rights of every child, raise awareness and involve young people in advocating for their rights.
Also in the UN's headquarters in New York, the International Year of Sanitation 2008 was launched and spearheaded by His Royal Highness Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. The project promotes making water adequate and sanitation available to everyone. It aims to focus the world’s attention on cutting in half the proportion of people without access to safe water and basic sanitation by 2015.

In her speech, UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman said that “Children are the most vulnerable, and they are the ones who continue to pay the highest price in terms of lives and futures lost.” Worldwide, lack of access to proper sanitation is linked to the deaths of 1.5 million children each year.

It may take years to resolve all these problems on poverty and rights of children but the efforts have already started and hopefully they soon will bear fruit for the most needy and the world to benefit from.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Autistic Mind...Musical Genius


Months back, I wrote about Amanda,an autistic girl who learned to survive and deal with her autism. Her condition opened the eyes of many and made them understand that autism isn't a hopeless case and that these special people can communicate with others only in a different way. It was touching to read about her story. Now a similar story was featured in Yahoo News about a young boy who also has autism but with such great talent in the field of music.

Maybe these people touch my heart and make me quite emotional because I have a son who has learning difficulty. And though my son has always been diagnosed as mentally normal and goes to regular classes, I still always consider him somewhat special and needing more attention than his siblings. I know I shouldn't be doing this because it would only make him dependent on us and less able to take care of himself but I guess it's the protective mother in me that comes out first. I suppose I'll always be this way with him. And the fear of what can happen to his future should anything happen to me always scares me so much...

I'm sharing this story of Rex, an autistic child born blind....and a musical genius.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

My Amateurish Pictures of London...

I had to work mostly, but the little time I could grab in my almost 8 days' stay still made me feel glad that I had this chance to visit London. The establishments have such early closing hours. We often left the office at 8pm and most stores were closed by then except for the restaurants and internet cafes.

Well I didn't miss tasting the famous fish'n chips :). I had it three times when I was there and the Sherlock Holmes Restaurant served the best, biggest and freshest from the three I've tasted...and ohhh...the cheapest cost and fastest service. It was just 3 pounds. The rest were at 6 or 7 pounds. It was an add-on you can order from the tour around the city.

I wish I had enough time to see the inside of the Tower of London and Madam Thessaud(?). Well, maybe next time....


Thursday, November 08, 2007

ONE's "ON THE RECORD" Drive

OnTheRecord


ONE is launching a petition asking all U.S. presidential candidates to go "On The Record," by submitting in writing to ONE, their plans on the following five issues:

* Eradicating malaria;
* Improving child and maternal health;
* Reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis;
* Achieving universal primary education; and
* Providing access to food and clean water for all.

This will put on record, the candidates' presidential agenda on critical issues many organizations like ONE are advocating for. This hopefully helps put these issues among the candidates' priority list and serves as a reminder for them to address these global concerns.

Monday, November 05, 2007

GAP AND CHILD LABOR...AND POVERTY

When I saw the news on children in India being made to work long hours for the famous Gap company, it made me wonder if the main office overseas is even aware that children were being used to make their clothes. From the BBC news, it seems they don't. The important thing is, something is and should be done about it.




There are many forms of child abuse and child labor is just one of them. Unfortunately, as long as there are takers, child labor or any form of child abuse will never be eradicated.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Such a Sensless Act...



Late yesterday afternoon, Management had given instruction to quietly notify employees to go home. No announcement was made over the speakers. The instruction came just minutes after pictures of the afternoon bombing at a big and busy mall started spreading in the e-mails.

Apparently, someone had received an anonymous call of a bomb in our building. Since we already had bomb sniffing dogs regularly making the rounds in the premises, they were much busier that afternoon. I left the building over an hour later. There was no news whether a bomb was indeed found or not.

Eight people died in the bombing at the mall and over a hundred were wounded including a one-year old baby. I can never rationalize this senseless and terroristic act of bombing establishments and killing innocent people. And so much more that such act can actually get support from others...and for what??? The only reason I can think of aside from that these people who planned the bombing are lunatics, is that they want to destabilize the economy so others can gain control over the present administration.

It's sad but real and really scary. But it's something we all have to live with and try to be more conscious about to protect ourselves. And these establisments will just have to be stricter and more diligent in the security measures they implement to protect the public. Security always slackens after a while and that should never be the case. After all, they have an obligation to protect their customers while inside the premises.

And now I have to go shopping to prepare for my trip...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Parenting...a little fern reminded me...


I cried while driving on my way to work Monday morning. I felt bad for raising my voice on my eldest son. He asked a few days ago that he needed a fern plant for school. I assumed it was just a leaf for a science experiment and that his father would ask his friends who had gardens.

Monday morning as we were leaving, my son mentioned the fern again. It was due that day. I ended up speeding angrily away when I reminded my son's father about the fern and it was obvious that he didn't remember it either.

I scolded my son in the car for not reminding us earlier and not clearly explaining what he wanted the fern for. He quietly said he did and didn't say anymore. I saw his nose slightly turn red and I knew he was fighting back his tears. He pretended cleaning his glasses and I felt so bad then but didn't say anything. Maybe I should have said sorry but I was fighting back my tears too.

After dropping him off at school, I cried all the way to work. Well, there were other reasons, too and I hope one day I stop crying for those other reasons.

When I got to the office parking lot, I sent a text message to his father to buy the fern and that we've often been neglecting our son's needs. When I got to my office, I got a call from his father saying he would buy the fern and bring it to school. Idon't know what my son's reaction was when his father brought the fern to school but I'm sure he must have been happy. He was already asleep when I got home in the evening. I bet if I ask him in the morning, he'd say he was supposed to plant it and not buy it complete with a flower pot :)

Sometimes I could really be so self-centered and not realize I'm neglecting others around me. Though I often feel that I work more than I should for everyone else and not myself, it doesn't give me an excuse for not doing my duty as a parent or assume their father would do it.

I should remind myself that it isn't all just about earning money and providing my family with material things. It's so much more about being there when the children need their parents.

So now I'm alone here at the living room and cying so much again, hardly able to see the keys as I type. Well, I can be emotional at times.... but that's me.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Jubillee Act H.R. 2634

I decided to do some reading on the Jubilee Act after receiving Josh Peck's e-mail. The summary he gave made me recall the video I posted months back on Fair Trade and the plight of many poor nations struggling to meet the basic necessities in life such as food, clothing, shelter and water.

Many areas in my own country suffer as much and I have seen tv documentaries of people illegally selling their vital organs to hospitals and patients needing transplants just to feed their families.

It's quite ironic and so pathetic that while so many of the poorest nations struggle for the basic necessities in life, much of their countries' money goes to paying their external debts to rich nations and international financial institutions. I have for years heard many economists here say that our unborn grandchildren's grandchildren will continue to pay our external debts. This is what the Jubilee Act focuses on...providing debt relief to the poorest nations and ensuring that the money is used in worthwhile projects that address poverty.

In summary, the Jubilee Act, which was sponsored by Rep. Maxine Waters with other Co-sponsors, provides for greater responsibility in lending and expanded cancellation of debts owed to the United States and other international financial institutions by the poorest countries. It basically qualifies 67 of the poorest nations in the world for debt cancellation and ensures that the debt cancellation funds go to poverty reduction projects.

A Frequently Asked Questions article on the Jubilee Act is available. It gives information on what countries qualify for debt cancellation, how the Act will ensure that debt cancellation funds go to poverty reduction projects such as education, school infrastructure and other anti-poverty projects, including ways on how these poor countries will be protected from illegitimate debts, among others.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Meme Book

Oooookkk...The book Meme

Since I have such a bad memory for names and titles and don't really collect things, including books, this one will be less than half as interesting as Matt's...but here it goes:

Total number of books: I've never counted them. I keep them where there's space to keep then once I've read them, give them away when I can (usually after a few years). Since my mom was an English Literature Professor, I read lots of books from her library.

Last book read: The Little Prince ( must be the third time I read it)...still reading Bourne Supremacy by Robert Ludlum.

Last Book I bought: Harry Potter ( book 5?? can't remember:P)

Meaningful books: (ohhhh great....my memory)

1) Breach Of Faith: by Theodore White
2) Noli Me Tangere: by Jose Rizal
3) Ann Frank's Diary
4) From Under the Rubble: by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
5) Roots: by Alex Hailey

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Legal and Moral Issue of It...

I have two bachelor friends who I had discussions with on married women. I respect their beliefs and in both cases, I think my reaction would be the same.

One friend said, a woman who isn't living with the spouse in the true sense of the word, meaning not having a good intimate physical and emotional/spiritual relationship with the partner isn't married but single, and therefore free to have other relationships or partners. The woman being married is no issue to him and he's open-minded to a relationship with one.

Another friend said, getting involved with a married woman is taboo for him. I took that to be whether the woman was separated or not. I wouldn't have expected anything less from him. It was something I wasn't surprised about when he said it. It showed in our conversations. He was always careful not to insinuate or imply anything romantic in our talks. I guess that's why the friendship lasted this long and our past conversations were often long and friendly but caring.

To the first, even if I turn out to have a really bad marriage, I personally cannot see myself as single and getting involved so casually without considering others who may get affected and all the other possible consequences. There are always legal and moral considerations and so-called double standard in society. Our conversation last night ended with me saying that as long as I'm married or not separated, I can't see myself getting involved with anyone and complicating other people's lives.

The talk continued again this morning with a sudden, "so if u have sex outside a dead marriage - the sky will fall.:-l" Lol, gosh, he said I sounded like that. He said we weren't talking about society nor reforming it and to either rekindle the marriage or leave...Oh well, to cut things short, we still disagreed on things. We often did when it came to relationships with women though I agreed with his statement about either rekindling the marriage or leaving.

To the second, it wouldn't really be any different if I found myself falling for someone while being married. Like I said, the last thing I'd want is to complicate other people's lives, especially if I care so much for them. I'd protect his reputation and career first over my own personal happiness. So there's no question about getting myself involved with someone while being married or not separated...he deserves more and better than a complicated life with a married woman. He's right about not wanting to get involved with one and it makes me respect him more for it.

I remember both of them say something common or similar though. The children will be happier and better off if they see their mother smile more often...

I'm sure they'll both meet the right woman one day and be swept off their feet. I hope they remember to woo and court her to win her love and respect because some just won't come running to them with open arms...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Ger...and Mobile Schooling


It takes determination to achieve one's goal. In Mongolia, pre-school children were given the opportunity to be educated in a "ger", a so-called "travelling pre-school." The ger is a white felt tent where Mongolian pre-schoolers are taught. It travels seven to eight times each year, bringing education within the reach of families far from town.

UNICEF's efforts to improve children’s access to early education through this innovative means of education is very laudable. It addresses the nomadic nature of the people in Mongolia where nomadic families migrate with their herds several times each year.

With only 54% of children there receiving any form of childhood education, the "ger" has lessened this limitation by bringing the mobile school to these children.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Drawing the Line...

One of the many social concerns that affect me a lot is the inequality on women. Receiving this ONE e-mail from Shade Bembatoum-Young today triggered a strong reaction from me at how even laws can deprive women of their basic rights.

When the Family Code was implemented here years ago, it was good to know that spouses are now both required to sign on legal documents for financial transactions where the spouse can be legally bound to answer for any obligations the other enters into. It's an improvement, though many institutions still don't strictly follow this requirement. It leaves room for both parties to contest any questionable financial transactions that may have been entered into by their spouse without the other's knowledge and consent.

Shade Bembatoum-Young's e-mail speaks of a similar flaw in her country's legal system. I have posted her e-mail to ONE members. I hope we can all support her fight on this in our own way....

================
Dear ONE Member,

One line on a property deed can be the difference between poverty and hope for a woman and her family.

I know, because for years I have worked to help women in my country, Nigeria, build businesses so they can feed their children and give them the education they deserve. But there are many things standing in these women's way.

For example, in some places in the developing world, there is only one line for one name on property ownership forms. This one line may not seem like a big deal, but it works to systematically deny a woman property rights, blocks her from getting the credit she needs to build a business, and forces her to fight for her home if her husband dies—because that one line is for a man's name.

The solution is as simple as adding another line so that a husband and wife may both own their family's land.

Right now the Global Resources and Opportunities for Women to Thrive Act (GROWTH Act) is moving through Congress. This crucial bill will change the way the United States gives aid to help draw that line and give women the resources they need to provide for their families.

Send your letter now and give women the power to lift their families up out of poverty permanently. http://www.one.org/growthact/?id=52-3183075-r1coFT&t=2

The story of the GROWTH Act is a story of the power of ONE. Earlier this year, the bill didn't have the congressional leadership that it needed to move forward. So ONE members started taking action.

In April, ONE members and partners teamed up to deliver hundreds of letters to Representative Ros-Lehtinen in Florida. Then in May, a Texas ONE member visiting Washington, D.C., delivered thousands of letters to Senator Hutchison. After ONE members voiced their support they both agreed to be lead sponsors of the bill.

I want to send my thanks to Senators Durbin and Hutchison and Representatives Lowey and Ros-Lehtinen for their strong support of millions of women like me in the developing world. We need champions like them, and like the members of the ONE Campaign.

Please help convince the rest of Congress to join these leaders by sending them a letter on just how important this bill is.

Sometimes even well-meaning programs do not reach women as they should because they do not take women's needs into account. The GROWTH Act is important because it listens to women, who are our best hope for ending world poverty. Please listen to our needs and take action today.

Thank you,

Shade Bembatoum-Young,
Member, Women's Edge Coalition
Executive Director of ASSEED
Lagos, Nigeria

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I Shouldn't Forget My Blessings....


As I walked to church this afternoon, I passed by a little boy seated inside a small corner of a wooden cart like the picture above. He was waiting quietly as his parents probably went around looking for scraps they can sell. Recyclable items, metals and plastics collected from garbage surrounded him. He looked at me wide-eyed for a second as I passed him. He had this "alone" look but was trying to be brave knowing his parents are just nearby. It made me want to touch his little head as I smiled at him and moved on.

My pace didn't slow down as I walked closer to church but it flashed in my mind that I should give the little boy some money....I should have but didn't. I felt bad and guilty. Though I often avoided giving money when streetchildren come to me to ask money, this child didn't. He was just waiting for his parents who were trying to earn money from scrap materials. His parents didn't even let him move around to ask people for money like parents of other kids like him do. It's garbage day tomorrow. They'll probably be there again. I hope I can share a little this time.

Sometimes I'm just so busy about things going on in my own life that I forget I'm so much more fortunate and blessed than others.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Monday, September 03, 2007

The FIFA-UNICEF Campaign...


This is wonderful news. At the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup in China in September, UNICEF and partner FIFA will launch a campaign highlighting the key role that sport and child-friendly schools play in helping girls overcome social barriers and transform their lives.

The FIFA-UNICEF campaign in the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup is just the first of a series of stories to help promote basic education, gender equality and girl's rights around the world.

Other initiatives have also been launched to help promote the same cause. The United Nations Girls' Education Initiative (UNGEI) for instance, was launched by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2000 to narrow the gender gap in primary and secondary education and to ensure that by 2015, all children complete primary schooling, with girls and boys having equal access to all levels of education.

I have read stories about women and young girls being deprived of education because they were considered the weaker sex and less important in society. And even stories of women not being allowed to join religious rites because of their gender (I had a violent reaction to this news in an old blog entry). It's sad and disappointing that these exist in our scoiety. It will be a long process of change ....

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Waiting...

My molar operation went well...much better than I expected. I'm recovering fast.

I have to go back next Saturday for the sutures to be taken out and to get the test results from my mammogram and ultrasound. Things will be fine though.

I can't believe I have to see 3 doctors on that day, lol....my OB, derma, and dentist Well, that's what I get for postponing my check-ups...I just hate hospitals.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

World Vision and UNICEF Help Quake Victims in Peru...


When I read about the UNICEF and World Vision efforts to help earthquake victims in Peru, it made me recall the intensity 8 quake that rocked my parents' place back home in 1990. Two well-known hotels in the area collapsed then. People we personally knew perished.

The whole city was totally cut off from any means of contact with the outside world for weeks. My brother was in a nearby town and was also cut off from any means of transportation to get back home. The roads were gone. The transportation available could only take him to a nearby town that was 3 hours away by ride from where my parents lived. He had to walk for several hours through the mountainous path amidst continuous rains and aftershocks that caused landslides. We had no news about them for about 2 weeks.

The emotional and psychological trauma are at times more difficult to cope with than the environmental devastation. Hundreds of quake victims in Peru must be going through the same or worse emotional and physical turmoil that my parents and similar earthquake victims have gone through.

For the moment though, the biggest priority is to aid the Peru quake survivors with the basic necessities such as food shelter and clothing...many of the victims still live on the streets. Many of them were among the poorest in the area.

World Vision and UNICEF have responded by providing clean water in the area, medicical supplies, clothing and other basic necessities. Both are coordinating with the Peru government for the long term plan to help the quake victims.

The quake survivors will now have to start the process of rebuilding their lives...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

On Parenting...

I'm probably just sentimental and restless the last few days. But today made me think about how good or bad I am as a parent.

I was out on Saturday to watch a movie with a friend who I know had been troubled and problematic lately. My kids stayed home. I can't recall when the last time we watched a movie in a theater as a family. It must have happened only once or twice and years ago when they were much younger.

Today, the kids' father went out with his friends to go to a party. Though he came home early, the kids and I stayed home. I brought them food from a good Chinese Restaurant after I went to church alone and we ate together. I somehow envy one of my Unit Heads at the office whenever she talks about going out every weekend for a family activity. It has been some time since we've done the same thing as a family.

We haven't been going to church together for some time either and to me that isn't such a good sign. My daughter especially only goes to church when she's in the mood for it, and usually when she knows we'd go to the mall afterwards.

We didn't get to go to the yearly family outing with relatives from the kids' paternal side, which is about the only family activity we get to have. There was supposed to be a system conversion for one of our overseas branches that weekend and I couldn't go. Though I told them to go without me, my daughter didn't want to unless we all went. So everyone stayed home.

These family outings are not what I've ever particularly enjoyed but the kids do, so I just quietly join in their fun until it's over. Except for one occasion, all these family outing activities somehow always tired me and made me uncomfortable. I wanted a real quiet family vacation where I didnt have to worry about cooking for more than 20 people or having to share a bed with several others in a room.

I have not been very expressive to my kids, neither is their father. I somehow lost that over the years and I can see how it has affected them. They are not expressive either. Though my daughter can be sweet at times when she wants to be, I can also see how hard and tough she can be...even tougher than her brothers.

My eldest is a bit aloof, but maybe more because of his learning difficulty which fortunately has improved and he now attends regular classes. His mouth quirks on the rare times I ask him for a kiss and I never get one.

My second son is the sweetest, but oh how he can test and challenge one's patience before he finally does what you tell him. I would think that the successive "whys" would be for kids 5 to 10, but nooo, at 15, he still does it and with all the reasons he can think of to question what you tell him. It's amusing at times though, but mostly not.

I know things are far from perfect, I am certainly no ideal parent that I've always imagined one to be. And I'm hoping that any decisions I make soon will somehow be for the better...

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A Call for Help...



Months back I wrote about a woman who I saw sitting at the pavement of the Main Highway's flyover that I pass through everyday. Yesterday, I saw a man doing this again...waiting for cars to stop to give him some food or money. Less than 50 meters away, another woman also was doing the same thing. She looked like the woman I saw months back. The black and gray checkered skirt she wore looked familiar.

There was a typhoon and there were strong intermittent winds and rains throughout the day. It again made me wonder why they were begging there and if people really stopped on the highway to help them. It stressed me that they risked getting ran over by vehicles for a few coins. I didn't see any vehicle stop to help them. I asked myself how they got there without any wheelchair or any support they can use to get them there. They could have gone to a shelter instead. They could get help there, maybe even be taught how to earn income and support themselves without begging.

The strong typhoon displaced so many people in low-lying areas. The World Vision has been soliciting help from donors for many flood victims in Asia. Some 30 million in South Asia have been affected by the floods from monsoon rains and typhoons. There's now a danger of epidemics starting due to lack of clean and potable water and poor sanitation.

The Charity Navigator has tips on how to give donations. Please check it out. Every little bit helps....even prayers.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

On Relationships...

I guess I stirred a lot of female friends' emotions a bit when I wrote about this. But I wanted to write about it because it too affected me somehow.

It was a bit surprising,even shocking to find out a male friend's view on love when we talked about his relationships with women.

He can love them all to the same degree??? but still not be committed enough to them...universal love he said. It's hard to describe, but the thought always disturbs me, especially when there are women who can actually settle for such an arrangement... going out with the same man, knowingly aware that they are "sharing" him in everything. But apparently, there are such women. At least he is forthright and honest in letting the women know he was seeing them all and having a relationship with them, all at the same time.

It makes me wonder though what kind of upbringing or environmental exposure he had to have such an attitude about relationships. To me it's a sign of the man playing safe...the more women you have, the less emotionally involved you are with them. And if there are women who can accept things that way, I guess most men wouldn't even turn that arrangement down at all.

I'm sure he's still just enjoying his bachelor days. But as I've more than once told him, when he meets the right one one day, he will have to fight for her...because she may totally not share in his beliefs. And I think he knows that only too well. That will all change when he finally meets the woman he wants to share his life with.

He's my friend and I'll always wish him the best, however warped or maybe unemotional his actions on women are. In the first place, it's the woman's choice to accept such an arrangement.

I can't imagine myself ever compromising that way. I'm a woman. I know how the other women will feel. Where emotional and physical intimacy come into play, to me there always has to be a level of commitment. I am just too emotional and sentimental not to get hurt in such a relationship.

Unfortunately, even with commitment, relationships still don't always work out. Sometimes we just have to move on, and it's always the first step that's so hard to take...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Challenge of our Time...


Today I read about child prostitution when I visited Matt's Blog. Human exploitation has always affected me. I have written a few about them myself in this blog. I still can't fathom how people can be so inhuman and treat others without compassion or regard of human feelings or their well-being.

An international Christian organization called ZOE Children’s Homes was launched to proactively rescue children who are at risk of being sold into human slavery and/or child prostitution. Their first goal is to provide a loving and safe atmosphere. They then educate, motivate and model servant leader principles.

We can do our share to help stop human exploitation. For details, please read Matt's blog on Challenge of our Time. There are several other great topics you can read over at his blog.

Another Super Typhoon

There's a 170kph-strong super typhoon coming by tomorrow. But this morning the rains were already strong and several areas were flooded. The kids were sent home.

By afternoon I was worried. They said the main highway is flooded so I decided to just stay late at the office until the rains stopped and the flood subsided. By 8pm I was told to rush home while there was a lull. I was home earlier than usual.

Tomorrow will be worse. The typhoon is expected to be here. Classes in all levels have already been suspended but I have to go to work. I hope it won't be another storm like last year where small branches from trees hit my car windows and sacks of garbage from dunp trucks were strewn all over the highway.

The cool weather is nice though...

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Free Hugs Anyone?

This is a wonderful story of how the Free Hugs Campaign all started. If everyone does this, there may not be much fighting around us....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vr3x_RRJdd4

Friday, July 27, 2007

It Wasn't As Bad...

Yesterday at noon, one of my unit heads sent a text message asking that I talk to his staff before the meeting on the promotion. He suspected that she already knew her promotion didn't get through.

After I came back from lunchbreak, another unit head said that another staff who was recommended for promotion approached her almost crying that she was able to verify from a source that her promotion didn't get through.

So I decided to send a message to my boss if we could have the meeting a day earlier as scheduled. Before the meeting, I started talking privately to those who didn't make the promotion.

The first one cried. This was the third time her promotion didnt get through. She's one of those transferred to me from a disbanded division. And for HR to tell her that her paper got lost the last time didn't help. With the 5% quota requirement, she knew it was going to be tough to get the next promotion. What made her feel really bad is that she was among the last batch from the disbanded group due for promotion. Almost all the others with the same rank as hers got promoted.

The second one handled it pretty well. She knew we tried our best. Her paper got through up to the Committee level and was deliberated on. For some reason it still got rejected. Since the memo only said "not at this time," we had to verify the elimination process that was done. We suspected that her 3-level jump from Staff to Officer was a reason. Nothing was officially confirmed by HR. But then again, the fact that her paper was processed up to Committee level meant such kind of promotion was possible. It was in the policy. The Officer position she had been occupying for a year should have justified it. Anyway, she handled and accepted the news well. I saw her working as she did before I told her the news. That relieved me.

The third one also reacted well. He said he waited longer before for his first promotion, so he saw no reason to be griping now. Ohh and guess what, his source that his paper didn't get through was from the Office of the President!!! Now how confidential can that be??? Oh well, I guess he has the "right" friends.

The last and most difficult one I didn't get the chance to talk to. My boss was back and we had the group meeting. I was looking at the guy's reaction as my boss announced the names of those promoted. Two of those promoted were from his batch. I've been trying to justify his promotion, but I guess it just wasn't enough. And I certainly couldn't give him a higher rating than those who performed better than he did. Soooo, he has to work harder for it. But I still want to talk to him about his promotion. I'll do that today....

Breaking the News...

Today, the Global Operations Sector Head went around to announce promotions. I was supposed to have 8 people due for promotion, 2 were from another division which I absorbed after it was disbanded last May. The announcement at my division didn't push through since almost everyone attended aTraining session on enhancements of the new system.

The 5% per group quota was strictly imposed this time. This meant that from our group of about 60 people, only 3 will get promoted. 2 of the 3 who made it were from my division and both are officer-level. A third one was an exception since she completed the Junior Executive Development Program training which automatically qualified her for officer level.

Now the hard part....telling the others who didn't make it. My boss and I agreed to hold a group meeting this Friday to make the announcement before talking individually to those who didn't make it. My people had been working doubly hard since the acquisition of the new system. They went beyond their regular functions. But it seems these weren't enough to get them promoted. The 5% quota had to be followed and they were eliminated by ranking, rating and whatever criteria that trimmed their number down to the 5% quota. It doesn't seem fair but it's the way it is.

An even harder part is that I now have a backlog of people due for promotion. There were 2 or 3 other people lined up for the next batch. Now I have to do a process of elimination..only the best of the best.

I can only hope that the news won't dampen the spirits of those who weren't promoted nor affect their performance. But I guess that's expected....

Friday, July 20, 2007

Lack of Blogging....

I've been so busy lately with our system conversion so I won't be able to blog regularly for quite a while.

I'm missing you guys though...will be back soon (I hope).

Monday, July 02, 2007

They're Off...

They're off... 2 of my staff left for Singapore and Hongkong yesterday for at least a month's stay to train and assist our overseas people convert to the new Corebanking system. It was 2 weeks of stressful preparations. Passport and visa applications, presentation materials, etc.

As an added stress to my staff who's in Hongkong, our Executive Vice President for Global Operations is also in Hongkong until Monday and wanted to meet with my staff and the employees there today, SUNDAY. Knowing him, he'll be very inquisitve and will want to know details of the training and all. That's understandable. In his place I'd want to do the same just as I had wanted to see my staff rehearse their presentation before leaving, but there just wasn't enough time.

They're good. They topped the test for the overseas project and they were always in the middle of all the conversions since the first overseas office was converted last April. They'll do well.

It gets doubly hard though when you have other people and units wishing you or your group to fail in what is supposed be a company project just because their group is not taking the lead in it.

I've always been aware of the corporate jungle. I was just not high enough then to feel it nor give a damn about it. But now I'm in the middle management with at least 26 people to manage and the whole company to support when it comes to setting up the system's global parameters and using the new system. I can feel the pressure from all sides, resistance from some to help facilitate things. At times I have to go to the group head to get things done FAST...that's fine if they want to play it that way.

Being technically a newbie in the company doesn't help...just under 5 years...and that matters to a lot of oldies here. Many old timers probably feel they should be in my place. That also explains why there's a lot of resistance to change. They've been so used to the old ways and taking their time to do things. That's not my style nor my boss', nor most of those in his level now. For me an e-mail is approval enough coming from the right authority. To some, only the hard copy will do, ugh...and for an IT person to require that... tsk tsk.

At this point, I don't really care what they think. As long as things get done, they can think and say what they want. They don't move..I elevate to the next superior...that simple....that's how it goes. Things WILL get done no matter how much delay or pinpointing happens....Change is inevitable.

My other staff will be leaving for New York in mid-July. She still has to get her visa. Maybe I will follow in August...but it all depends on the status of events on the two overseas offices' conversion and finalization of the requirements for domestic conversion which is pretty delayed now.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Stalkers...

The last few days, Jenny and I have been making fun of our friend Aes as my stalker in a virtual game we joined called Second Life. Though he probably hasn't read the funny exchanges in our blogs on this, we made sure of course that he's well aware of it and that it's all for fun.

The thought though of a real stalker, online or offline has always made me feel uneasy. I once found myself stalked online for a few weeks because of a mistaken identity. And because it was online, I was braver and less afraid to confront the person. It of course would have been an entirely different matter if the guy knew who I was and where I lived as in the case of a friend whose stalker was someone he once got involved with. She knew where he lived, worked, his family...even followed him everywhere and took stolen shots of him. She really believed my friend loved her, couldn't keep away from her and would leave his wife for her. She said they would be together forever, one way or another.

After talking with a friend recently on a hopefully not similar situation, I decided to do some reading on a stalker's profile....

How do you know if you are being stalked? You are being stalked if someone is:

Repeatedly following or spying on you Repeatedly calling your home and/or work Repeatedly sending you unwanted e-mails, letters, faxes Leaving unwanted gifts or items for you to find Vandalizing or damaging your property Threatening you or someone close to you Repeatedly showing up for no legitimate purpose at places where you are
Here are a few interesting excerpts I found on stalking (source: Stalking Resource Center):

Who Are Stalkers?

Love Obsession Stalkers

This category is characterized by stalkers who develop a love obsession or fixation on another person with whom they have no personal relationship. The target may be only a casual acquaintance or even a complete stranger.

The vast majority of love obsessional stalkers suffer from a mental disorder -- often schizophrenia or paranoia. Regardless of the specific disorder, nearly all display some delusional thought patterns and behaviors. Since most are unable to develop normal personal relationships through more conventional and socially acceptable means, they retreat to a life of fantasy relationships with persons they hardly know, if at all. They invent fictional stories -- complete with what is to them real-life scripts -- which cast their unwilling victims in the lead role as their own love interest. They then attempt to act out their fictional plots in the real world.

Love obsessional stalkers not only attempt to live out their fantasies, but expect their victims to play their assigned roles as well. They believe they can make the object of their affection love them. They desperately want to establish a positive personal relationship with their victim. When the victim refuses to follow the script or doesn't respond as the stalker hopes, they may attempt to force the victim to comply by use of threats and intimidation.

When threats and intimidation fail, some stalkers turn to violence. Some decide that if they cannot be a positive part of their victim's life, they will be part of their life in a negative way. Some even go so far as to murder their victims in a twisted attempt to romantically link themselves to their victim forever. This was the case with the man who shot and killed Rebecca Schaffer, the young actress and star of the television show My Sister Sam.

Simple Obsession Stalkers

This second category represents 70-80 percent (70-80%) of all stalking cases and is distinguished by the fact that some previous personal or romantic relationship existed between the stalker and the victim before the stalking behavior began.

Virtually all domestic violence cases involving stalking fall under this rubric, as do casual dating relationships (commonly referred to as Fatal Attraction cases, named after the popular movie by the same title).

While this kind of stalker may or may not have psychological disorders, all clearly have personality disorders. One forensic psychologist has attempted to identify some of the common personality traits and behavioral characteristics among this category of stalkers. Stalkers in this class are characterized as individuals who are:

Socially maladjusted and inept; Emotionally immature; Often subject to feelings of powerlessness; Unable to succeed in relationships by socially-acceptable means; Jealous, bordering on paranoid; and Extremely insecure about themselves and suffering from low self-esteem. The self-esteem of simple obsession stalkers is often closely tied to their relationship with their partner. In many cases, such stalkers bolster their own self-esteem by dominating and intimidating their mates. Exercising power over another gives them some sense of power in a world where they otherwise feel powerless. In extreme cases, such personalities attempt to control every aspect of their partner's life. This behavior pattern was vividly depicted in the major motion picture entitled Sleeping with the Enemy, where the antagonist turns to intimidation and violence as the means to control every aspect of his victim/wife's life.

Since the victim literally becomes the stalker's primary source of self-esteem, their greatest fear becomes the loss of this person. Their own self-worth is so closely tied to the victim that when they are deprived of that person, they may feel that their own life is without worth.

Just as with most domestic violence cases, stalkers are the most dangerous when they are first deprived of their source of power and self-esteem; in other words, the time when their victims determine to physically remove themselves from the offender's presence on a permanent basis by leaving the relationship.

Stalking Behavior Patterns and Cycles:

Stalking behavior patterns closely mirror those common in many domestic violence cases. The pattern is usually triggered when the stalker's advances toward their victim is frustrated -- regardless of whether the stalker is seeking to establish a personal relationship or continue a previously established relationship contrary to the wishes of the victim.

The stalker may attempt to woo their victim into a relationship by sending flowers, candy and love letters, in an attempt to "prove their love." However, when the victim spurns their unwelcome advances, the stalker often turns to intimidation. Such attempts at intimidation often begin in the form of an unjustified, jealous and inappropriate intrusion into the victim's life. Often these contacts become more numerous and intrusive over time, until such collective conduct becomes a persistent pattern of harassment. Many times, harassing behavior escalates to threatening behavior. Such threats may be direct or indirect and communicated explicitly or implicitly by the stalker's conduct. Unfortunately, cases that reach this level of seriousness too often end in violence and/or murder.

The evolution of the stalker's thought pattern progresses from, "If I can just prove to you how much I love you," to "I can make you love me," to "If I can't have you, nobody else will."

While this progression in behavior is common, no stalking case is completely predictable. Some stalkers may never escalate past the first stage. Others jump from the first stage to the last stage with little warning. Still others regress to previous stages before advancing to the next. It is not uncommon to see stalkers intersperse episodes of threats and violence with flowers and love letters.

As difficult as it is to predict what a stalker might do, it is at least as difficult to predict when he might do it. A few stalkers will progress to later stages in only a few weeks or even days. In other cases, stalkers who have engaged in some of the most serious stalking behaviors may go months or even years without attempting a subsequent contact.

Stalking- Related Resources

Violence Against Women Act
Domestic Violence Prevention
Domestic Violence
Anti-Stalking website
AWARE
Stalking Resource Center

Saturday, June 09, 2007

ONE is launching ONE Vote '08

It was nice to get an e-mail from Aaron Banks the other day and to be asked to join the launching of ONE Vote '08 in Washington. I am unfortunately, over 8,000 miles away. I am also not an American. But as I mentioned in my reply to his e-mail, I have always supported ONE's cause and will continue to do so.

Aaron included more information about the June 11 event. I'm sharing his e-mail with you. I hope others who do have the opportunity to be in Washington on June 11 for the launching of ONE Vote '08 can join this event.

=====================

On 6/7/07, Aaron Banks <abanks@one.org> wrote:

Dear Lylin,

On June 11th, the ONE Campaign is launching ONE Vote '08, an unprecedented high-energy, high tech campaign to mobilize ONE's more than 2 million members from all 50 states to engage Presidential candidates and voters and put global health and extreme poverty at the forefront of the 2008 Campaign. The launch event will include a press conference with our ONE Vote '08 co-chairs, Senators Frist and Daschle, national faith leaders, African aid workers, our early primary state co-chairs and campaign managers, and some very special surprise guests. The event is at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 3rd and A Street SE in Washington, DC on Monday, June 11th at 11:15 AM, doors open at 10:45 AM.

We really appreciate all the work you've done with the ONE Campaign, including your recent promotion of American Idol Gives Back, and if you're in Washington, DC, we hope you'll be able to join us for this event, the kick-off to our most ambitious initiative to date. I've included more in-depth background material below that you should feel free to use in your writing. And please pass this invitation along to anyone who shares our concern for saving lives by ending global disease and poverty.

Thanks,
Aaron


Aaron Banks

Online Campaign Coordinator The One Campaign
1400 Eye Street NW Suite 601 Washington, DC 20005
Direct 202-552-8039 Cell 202-615-8577

abanks@one.org
www.one.org

ABOUT ONE Vote '08
Mobilizing Voters to Save Lives and Secure our Future

ONE Vote '08 is an unprecedented, non-partisan campaign to make global health and extreme poverty foreign policy priorities in the 2008 presidential election.

The next president will take office in a time of great hope: there are effective and affordable solutions that save lives. AIDS drugs can now cost as little as $1 a day. A $5 bed net can keep a child from dying from a mosquito bite. With the force of more than 2 million members from all 50 states and a coalition of more than 100 non-profit, religious and charitable groups, ONE Vote '08 will educate and mobilize voters to ensure that the next American president is committed to using "smart" power to end global poverty and keep America strong.

ONE Vote '08 is part of ONE, a broad and growing movement of Americans from every state and walk of life. More than 2 million people have added their voices to ONE by visiting ONE.org.

Learn more about effective, affordable solutions that save lives and how you can help.

GOALS

ONE Vote '08: Mobilizing Voters to Save Lives and Secure our Future

Five Achievable Goals in the Fight Against Extreme Poverty

Unlike many issues in the 2008 presidential campaign, there aren't two sides to these issues only ONE. The 2008 presidential election provides a not-to-be missed opportunity to raise awareness about global poverty and its impact on America's global reputation and future security. Through the 2008 campaign, we have a chance to shape our foreign policy for years to come.

ONE Vote '08 has developed a presidential platform of achievable solutions that " if championed by the next U.S. president " could have a profound impact on the poorest people in the world. The platform is built on the foundation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agreed to in 2000 by the United States and 188 other nations to achieve poverty reduction and sustainable development by 2015.

ONE Vote 08 focuses on five achievable goals that are fully costed and proven and can have a rapid impact on the ground. If the U.S. takes a leading role, in an effective partnership with other donors and poor countries, these cost effective solutions could achieve the following:

1. Save 16,000 lives a day by fighting HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, three of the world's most devastating diseases.

2. Prevent 5.4 million young children from dying each year from poverty-related illnesses and 400,000 women from dying in childbirth each year.

3. Provide free access to primary education for 77 million out-of-school children with a special emphasis on girls.

4. Improve the living conditions of vulnerable populations by, for example, providing access to clean water for 450 million people and basic sanitation to more than 700 million people.

5. Reduce by half the number of people in the world who suffer from hunger, resulting in 300 million less hungry people each year.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Junior G8....

It still amazes me how children as young as 13 can be so active in world issues and even travel halfway around the world to discuss major global concerns with world leaders.

The UNICEF has been a strong advocate for promoting many youth-oriented projects and the Voices of Youth was organized especially for the youth to be able to interact among themselves and discuss issues that concern them.

In the Junior (J8) Summit 2007 in Germany, the J8 representatives will be discussing and debating among themselves major issues like HIV/AIDS and economic development before they meet the G8 leaders.

On 5 June, 64 youths from G8 countries and 10 from developing nations will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. On 7 June, eight of them will have the chance to voice their concerns directly to G8 leaders when they meet them face-to-face in a live televised conference. They will also hold a press conference together with Ambassador of Goodwill Sir Roger Moore.

Hats off to UNICEF and J8 co-sponsor Morgan Stanley International Foundation for promoting youth involvement in global concerns.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

G8....Keeping the Promise


The G8 will be meeting in Germany this June...in less than one week. The G8 is composed of eight of the most powerful countries in the world...France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada, Russia, and the United States. They each made a promise to help eliminate world poverty. It's our turn to do something and remind them to keep that promise.

Please sign the petition calling on the G8 to keep their promises to help eliminate world poverty. The ONE Campaign aims to meet one million signatures from around the world for this petition. World Vision also sent a similar petition some weeks back reminding G8 members to keep their promise.

YOUR ONE SIGNATURE COUNTS...


Some of ONE's PARTNERS:

DATA (debt, AIDS, trade, Africa)
International Medical Corps
International Rescue Committee
Mercy Corp
Oxfam USA
Plan USA
Save the Children World Concern
World Vision
A Glimmer of Hope
Action Against Hunger
Africare
The Child Health Site
The Hunger Site
Keep a Child Alive
UNICEF
UN Foundation
World Hope International

To check out charitable institutions, tips on how to protect your donations, and to help you decide which institutions to best get involved in, please visit the Charity Navigator.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Blog Safely...

Today I received an e-mail from a moderator of a group I am a member of. She gave a reminder to bloggers to blog safely. If you don't want strangers suddenly contacting you at home or at work, limit the personal information you post in your blog. I know I should remind myself of this often, too.

I would have wanted to post Trish's e-mail but I also realized it may give others ideas. Trish and a friend played a "game" with 5 willing participants if they can trace their whereabouts just by reading the information on their blog. In less than 24 hours, they were able to contact all 5 just by reading their blog information.

I'm sure those who have been online a long time know only too well that there are many who can't just be trusted on the net. But we'd also all agree that there a lot of them too who are "more real" than those we personally know.

Good or bad experience for me, I don't regret having met people on the net that I became close to. But we do have to choose really well who we think and feel we can trust enough to be close and give personal information to.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Word of Thanks...

I'd like to personally thank Mr Luke Easter for posting the third revision of his poetry A Strong Woman vs A Woman of Strength as a comment in my blog on the same subject. It was indeed a pleasant surprise and very much appreciated.

For those interested in poetries, please visit his website at http://www.lyricsbylucas.com/

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Pirates of the Carribean III


I saw Matt's post on "Pirates Help Make A Wish." My kids have been eagerly waiting for this third movie of Pirates of the Carribean and are so excited whenever they see the trailer. It's heartening to know that The Walt Disney Company launched a generous move to raise $3 Million to benefit the Make A Wish Foundation.

The Make A Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.

Tickets for the May 19 World Premiere of “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” to benefit the Make A Wish Foundation of America and Make A Wish International have already been sold out in just 14 days.

For more details, please visit the link to Matt's blog "Empathy." He has worked wonders in spreading the good deeds of many cause-oriented groups.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The One Campaign and American Idol's 100,000 Challenge


Last Wednesday, April 25, One Campaign supporter, Bono came out in the American Idol to join forces with the show in promoting the fight against poverty and aids.

As of Friday, 75,000 people have added their voices to the fight against extreme poverty. With this strong show of support, the One Campaign made a move to increase the target to 100,000 in one week. And so it was...

To help reach that 100,000, e-mails were sent to ONE members to get one of their friends to join ONE. (I cheated, I sent out 3, lol)

Possible to reach that 100,000 mark in one week? Oh yes!!! It probably has gone beyond that by now.

I find it amazing though not really surprising that the ONE Campaign can move U.S. candidates to support their cause. I'm not going to delve into the political aspect of it since I'm not American nor a political-minded person. But as of today, there are now 50 candidates who have signed-up supporting the ONE Campaign's fight against poverty and aids...just 10 short of the ONE's target of 60.

There are now over 2 million ONE Campaign members worldwide and still growing. With an organization like ONE showing transparency and clear sincerity in its cause, support will always be there. All praises to ONE and its organizers.


Below is Josh Groban with the African Children's Choir singing one of my favorite songs "You Raise Me Up" at the "Idol Gives Back" show last Wednesday...enjoy


Saturday, April 28, 2007

The UN's CYBERSCHOOLBUS


Everytime I visit the United Nations Website and read the Cyberschoolbus, it makes me really appreciate institutions like the United Nations. It not only works for the welfare of the poor and less priviledged in general, but also provides sites like Cyberschoolbus for educators and ordinary readers like me to use as information and resource material.

The Cyberschoolbus has very good reference materials for teachers and offers a variety of curricula that range from peace education, poverty, human rights, work rights, and ethnic and racial discrimination among others. It also provides links to a host of UN-sponsored educational websites.

It has been selected by ISTE author James Lerman as one of the best web sites for teachers on the Internet. ISTE is a nonprofit professional organization with a worldwide membership of leaders and potential leaders in educational technology.

I am not a teacher but have found Cyberschoolbus very informative and useful, mostly because the subjects are what interest me most...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Child Soldier Prevention Act of 2007


It made me wonder as I scrolled down the list of countries using child soldiers, if the Philippines was among them. I realized though that the documentary I saw on tv was on child soldiers recruited by rebel armies fighting against the government. Nevertheless, it still means that the problem on child soldiers exists in my own country.

The U.S. State Department reported that governments in 10 countries are implicated in the use of child soldiers. It's ironic though that 9 of the 10 countries are being supported by the US through military assistance.

Before the Senate, the World Vision asked the US government to help end the use of child soldiers globally. There is now an estimated 250,000 children exploited as child soldiers in state-run armies, paramilitaries, and rebel groups.

A bill called Child Soldier Prevention Act of 2007 was introduced by Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Sam Brownback (R-S). The bill would put restrictions on U.S. military assistance for governments that use child soldiers.

World Vision urged support for the legislation to encourage governments to prohibit, demobilize, and rehabilitate child soldiers from national forces and government-supported militias.

For the full story, please visit the link of the World Vision site.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Finding My Life's Purpose...a Second Look



I often get affected by touching and emotional stories or blog entries I read. When that happens, my natural reaction is to let my emotions out by writing about it in my blog. At times though, I get too emotional and later find myself deleting or saving them in a private file once I've calmed down.

Today I found myself getting sentimental again when I read an entry from someone's blog. There were a few lines that touched me most because I could relate to them in my own life. It almost brought me to tears as I tried to finish the whole entry.

One read, " Love does not wait. It will wait for some time, but leave when it deems the situation to be hopeless."

And the other, "Take a risk. Life will not and cannot get any worse than with the feeling that you never tried."

They're really the same words once told to me by some friends though just phrased differently. The words made me want to again read an entry that I posted last December about finding my life's purpose when I reacted to a blog entry of Matt. It also made me recall someone's comment to an emotional entry I posted some weeks back (that I also emotionally deleted) which I appreciated so much. He's right...I shouldn't always care what others think, or turn my life around 360 degrees because it would bring me back exactly where I am now (I always end up smiling when I recall this second comment, although I thought of going the opposite direction).

I again recalled a friend who once angrily wrote me an e-mail saying it was time and to make plans, that I was strong enough to make it...that was almost a year ago. He was right...it's time. I've already had regrets in some things I acted on too late. I don't want it that way forever.

All these made me assess myself again at how far I've gone in doing something about my life...of how much I want to give up to gain something for myself. Well, I'm still right where I was before but I have started to take steps...maybe a bit too slowly but I'm starting to move forward.

And oh yes, the French lessons I planned to enrol in. Someone constantly reminded me of my plan to enrol in French class (and I think got tired of reminding me, lol)... yes, yes, I'll get to it and enrol. And the Bali trip, well my friend is keeping the original schedule we talked about. If I have the time by then with all the system conversion going on at the office, I'll just book the flight and fly over there and enjoy a weekend with her and her friends. Or if the plan to send some of my people to Singapore for the branch conversion there pushes through, I may just join them there and have a few days off as well. I just soooo need a break away from it all.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Ashley Judd's Journal Entry from India....


I'm posting a blog entry from the One Campaign website. This one is from actress Ashley Judd's journal. I really admire people who, with all the fame and comfort in life, go out of their way to help the needy and less fortunate.

It makes me wish to do a little more than just what I can right now. But I guess every little bit helps...

For other stories from ONE supporters, click on the One.blog link.

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Ashely Judd's Journal from India, Day 14
Posted by Jenny Eaton Dyer, DATA
01:30 PM Apr 12, 2007

Actor and humanitarian Ashley Judd, board member of Population Services International (PSI) and Global Ambassador for YouthAIDS, addressed women's empowerment and wrote daily posts for the ONE Blog, during her March 2007 travels through India. This week, she posts her final entries from the trip.

Monday, March 26

The alarm went off. I had naturally awakened slightly before, and was so comforted and relieved to have had a long, deep sleep. I cleaned up and headed out the door to the Saddham Wellness Clinic, which we operate in the Red Light District. I had heard so very much about it, and had a real visual expectation. I assumed it would be sterile, light-filled, modern, technical. Although it is clean and tidy, it was hardly the vision I had been having, and I realized my vision was more of an intuitive sense of the radiance and luminosity of the people who work there. They are kind, loving, empowered doctors, all of whom who could be making a lot more money elsewhere doing much easier work emotionally. They commute to a horrible neighborhood. The 3 clinic rooms are tiny and bare. They provide a range of necessary services, but cannot meet all the sex workers’ and their children’s needs; they refer them to hospitals where they don’t know how they will be treated, or if the women will even follow through.

The process of bringing a Commercial Sex Worker (CSW) to the clinic starts within the brothel, via PSI's counselors regular and faithful visits. By virtue of this consistency, trust is slowly built. Eventually, the traveling brothel doctor, who simply treats all their conditions and doesn't ask questions/make statements about their line of work, will suggest a trip to the clinic, offering a known counselor to escort the woman to and fro. The entire protocol is designed to be gentle, non-shaming, supportive, empowering, humanistic. Although our primary purpose is to prevent pregnancy, STI’s, and HIV, as well as help these women access treatment, we address all their healthcare needs as well as their children's.

I met the pediatrician. He was so kind. The kids come in with a lot of upper respiratory stuff and intense emotional issues, some TB and Malaria. I visited the examination room; the only thing that remotely suggested it was a medical facility was the stainless steel table. In the 3rd and last room, barely a cubicle, I saw where the STI and HIV testing is done. We crowded in, and I asked these doctors how they help themselves, dealing as they do day in and day out, with all they see? The subject of shutting down one’s feelings comes up a lot when I ask this question.

The clinic desperately needs additionally funding. They want to expand their services in a meaningful way, which would help reduce the number of women they need refer to hospitals, where CSWs often don’t follow through for a variety of reasons (discrimination, barriers to admission, cost, time, fear/lack of relationship). The clinic also wants to be able to provide healthcare and support to those who are HIV+. Recently, three of their women died of AIDS, homeless, turned out of their brothels. The last one, they washed her body and gave her last rights literally on the sidewalk along the gutter. The doctor wept as she told me this.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

FC Barcelona Wins Sports award for UNICEF Partnership

(Actor Morgan Freeman listens as Joan Laporta President of FC Barcelona accepts the Laureus Spirit Of Sport Award during the Laureus Sports Awards in Barcelona, Spain. )

One Campaign supporter, Morgan Freeman participated in a ceremony in Barcelona, Spain last April 3, 2007 where sports stars and legends took centre stage at the Laureus Sports Awards to honor the president of football club FC Barcelona, Joan Laporta. Laporta was presented with the Spirit of Sport Award in recognition of the partnership with UNICEF to benefit children across the developing world affected by HIV/AIDS.

The partnership between FC Barcelona and UNICEF was launched in September of 2006 with a commitment of $1.9 million dollars per year over five years to fund UNICEF programs.

Every year, the Laureus World Sports Awards honours the globe’s best sportsmen and sportswomen and celebrates the universal power of using sports as a tool for social change. The Spirit of Sport Award acknowledges those in sports who take action to create a better world.

FC Barcelona’s innovative decision to raise awareness about the values of UNICEF was honoured as a perfect example of how sports can help the most vulnerable children.

It's good to know that an increasing number of sports and movie people have been openly supporting the fight against problems on HIV/Aids, poverty, hunger and abuse by joining or forming alliances with cause-oriented groups like UNICEF, World Vision or the ONE Campaign. Their actions have brought the much-needed highlight and focus on the urgency to address these problems.

I've often said, "Every little bit helps." It's true. We all can help a little bit, be it in giving some of our time, money, effort, even words that can help spread the word around that there is an urgency to act now and do our share in putting an end to many problems that plague the world.

To see the full version of the Laureus Spirit Of Sport Award please visit this link: http://unicef.org/infobycountry/spain_39295.html