Sunday, July 28, 2013

How Does One Define a “Slum”?

A supermarket, a shopping mall, plenty of nice houses scattered around, and even a highly decorated, futuristic-looking church, the streetscape of so-called Manila’s largest urban slum is not what a casual visitor expects it to be.  Yet, the neighborhood of Tondo, lying right besides the industrial harbor in the northern half of City of Manila, has a far-reaching reputation that scares off well-off locals and attracts hordes of international NGOs, charity workers, and do-good volunteers.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Perception of Institutional Inequality vs Mental Conditioning for a "Skin-Deep" Emphasis

It is as if in a few days, America was back to the 1960s.  Never since the civil rights movement itself has death of an innocent young man led to so much social upheaval, and questioning of the inequalities that exists within the most fundamental part of the nation's legal system.  Everything in the legal process was up to a bit of reflective thinking.  From the jury's choice, the choice of lawyers, the background of the judges, to the presentation of the video evidences, analysts and amateurs fought to pick apart exactly what went wrong inside and outside that courtroom where the despicable decision was made.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Self-Preserving Isolation of the Filipino Wealthy

Like all great Filipino establishments, the subdivision does not look like at that much from the outside.  A high wall and a guard post, with a security guard lazily asking visitors for their IDs, separates the gated area from the traffic-clogged main road.  Yet, once past the lazy guard, it seems like a whole new world really does open up.  The constant honking of the outside suddenly becomes a distant memory.  large trees, shielding million-peso single houses on both sides, suddenly replaces the shantytowns that are prevalent on the main road outside the subdivision.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Media's Unintentional Fearmongering, Inspired by Plane Crashes...

The news of tragic accidents are always shocking, especially when it happens as rarely as plane crashes.  With solid statistics of safety, planes have surpassed cars, trains, and boats as the fast, safe way to quickly transport oneself from point A to B, even in short distances in which alternative means of travel are price competitive, and perhaps even faster and more convenient (especially given the recent toughness in airport security, combined with long lines and delays).  Even the wealthy are willing to pay a premium as well as the cost of losing coveted privacy, to get themselves to desired destinations onboard a plane.