Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Coffee mugs

Speaking of coffee mugs, I hope someone could modify the common metallic or plastic body coffee mug with a ceramic/porcelain liner inside. I'd be in coffee nirvana and can get by discussing anything with anybody. And don't talk to me about paper, glass, or styrofoam cups please :)...

"In God We Trust, all others bring data" - W. Edwards Deming

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Abaya's Next: Antartica article and Dale Abenojar's dubious claim

On the claim of Dale Abenojar that he summitted Mt. Everest and is therefore the first Filipino to reach Mt. Everest, the onus should be on him to prove that he reached the summit. It is NOT for any of us to disprove it. That's how any statement from the mountaineering community should be "framed". Since he made the claim, then he should show the pictures he or his guide took. he should get the "statement" from the Everest lady-historian who documents the climbs. He should get the certification from the Nepalese climbing association. He should also present proof that he got that free meal from the restaurant that awards those who made it to the top. Lastly, he should show his feet and whether he indeed lost a toe or not.

Dale, grow up and quit trying to steal the glory of Leo, Erwin, and Romy. Attached below is a nice article from A. Abaya on the significance of the achievements of Leo, Erwin, and Romy. Read on.

Next: Antartica
By Antonio C. Abaya
Written May 21, 2006
For the Standard Today,
May 23, 2006
We salute our intrepid mountain climbers Leo Oracion, Erwin Emata and Romi Garduce, and their support teams for their success in being the first Filipinos to climb Mount Everest. They have done their country proud.
And congratulations should also go to the corporate sponsors who made their success possible. In particular, taipan Lucio Tan and his corporations, as well as to the rival TV networks ABS-CBN and GMA-7, who sponsored competing teams of mountain-climbers. They apparently received no financial support at all from the government.
Mr. Tan is said to have exhorted the climbers, when they paid him a pre-climb visit, to do it as matter of national pride. "do it for the country. I'd like to see the national flag waving at the summit of Mount Everest. Make the Philippines proud."
Someone here, at least, understands the value of symbolical acts, such as the conquest of Mount Everest, in instilling national pride. Sad that neither President Arroyo nor any of her predecessors does and did, since this is really one of the functions of national leaders: to make the people proud of themselves, their country and their nation.
Several years ago, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad sent national teams funded by the Malaysian government, not only to climb Mount Everest, but also to trek to the South Pole in Antartica, and to the North Pole in the Arctic. The idea was to instill the "can-do" spirit among Malaysians.
And that is not all, as I wrote in my article Emulating Mahathir (Oct. 06 2004). Mahathir also masterminded the building of the Petronas Towers, to become the tallest building in the world at that time. By contrast, when President Ramos proposed in 1995 the building of what was billed as the Centennial Tower in Luneta for the Philippine Centenary in 1998, conceived to be a contender for the "tallest building" title, it was hooted down by the wise men and women in the press. We are doomed by our own media to being a " can't do anything" country forever.
And it was Mahathir's idea that Malaysia build a national car, the Proton, and a national motorcycle, admittedly with foreign minority partners. Not just by assembling parts manufactured in other countries, but by progressively fabricating more and more of those parts domestically, eventually including their engines. They have since produced more than two million Protons, tens of thousands of which have been exported. That is real industrialization, not mere assembly of imported components.
By contrast, the Philippine automotive industry, which started at least 25 years ahead of the Malaysian, never graduated beyond assembling imported components, except for some innocuous parts like wire harnesses and seat upholstery (in which, at any rate, the raw wire and fabric material are still imported).
And it saddens me that the world-class victories of Manny Pacquiao in boxing and Bata Reyes and Django Bustamante in billiards have not been utilized by the national leaders to launch talent-search competitions in those two sports among our young people, to develop new pools of talent and, incidentally, instill national pride and give them positive outlets for their youthful energy.
That boxing and billiards are two sports that are popular among the masa should have been added incentive for government to promote these sports among them, to instill in them not only national pride, but also the spirit of self-discipline and a striving for excellence among an underclass seduced by drugs, gang violence and mindless TV fare such as Wowoweee and Eat Bulaga..
Not just in sports. Anyone who watches DVDs of the world's best symphony orchestras: Berlin, Vienna, London, Amsterdam, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Montreal- would notice that there are always several Asians among the orchestra members. But they are invariably Chinese, Japanese and/or Korean. No Filipinos, even though, culturally, we have a closer affinity for Western musical idioms than do northeastern Asians.
What this means is that young Filipino (serious) musical artists are not being given the opportunity to hone their skills abroad. Even the superb Gustav Mahler Jugend Orchester (Youth Orchestra) under Claudio Abbado, which has members from more than 20 countries, including Cuba and Venezuela, does not have a single Filipino.
Whatever one may say about Imelda Marcos and her pretentiousness and vulgar extravagance, she at least was personally responsible for the training to world-class caliber of Cecile Licad in the US and Rowena Arrieta in the Soviet Union. By contrast, in spite of their more pedigreed upbringing, neither President Aquino nor President Arroyo - forget the culturally ignorant Estrada and Ramos - did or has done anything to promote music and the arts.
And not just in sports and music, and their potentials for nation-building, are our national leaders clueless and uninterested; they are more so in science and technology.
Sometime in December 1989, I suggested in private to a highly placed individual that the Aquino government negotiate with the US and Soviet governments for the inclusion of qualified Filipino military officers in their astronaut-cosmonaut training programs.
I never heard any feedback to that suggestion, but since 1989 astronauts-cosmonauts from Japan, China, Korea, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Israel, etc have flown into space orbit
Imagine what a boost to national pride it would have been if the Philippines had been the first Third World country to have an astronaut-cosmonaut orbiting in space. In addition, such a symbolical act would have endeared the military to the government and discouraged coup-plotting by malcontents.
It would or could have been used to boost young people's interest in science and technology, as it certainly did in the US in the late 1950s, when the US strove to overcome the lead of the Soviet sputniks.
Most of all, it would have given media and the entire population some new authentic heroes to look up to, instead of the usual tiresome glib-talking politicians and brainless showbiz fornicators that Philippine media love to shower their attention.on.
On to Antartica!. *****