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Showing posts from 2013

F Sionil Jose & Jose Rizal. Double search for justice & moral order

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MANILA: Today, Monday, 30 December 2013, Rizal Day, I noticed my daughter Ela's copy of F Sionil Jose's novel Sherds (2007, Manila: La Solidaridad, 128 pages). Out of curiosity, I read Chapter 1, those 7 pages, and then the last page. I didn't like the ending. End of story? No. I looked at the blurb on the back cover and I didn't like it either. It says among other things: Sherds – the latest work by the Philippines' most widely translated author – is, perhaps, his most thoughtful and incisive comment on the Filipino condition. For all its sophisticated urban setting, it still belongs to the vernacular literary tradition, hewing ever closely to the author's major theme – the Filipino's often hopeless search for social justice and a moral order.Hopeless search(es) for social justice and a moral order – thereby, F Sionil Jose makes it look like the Philippines is in a State as bad as his Nightmares. We create our own nightmares. Yes, we all are heroes in o…

I, IRRI & ISI. Entertaining angels unawares, or thinking Jatropha

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Revised 26 December 2013 at 0700 hours, especially the last paragraph and, consequently, the 2nd part of the titleMANILA: It's almost the end of another year and, funny how the past comes to haunt you. You are looking at my shot that appears on the cover of a science publication that I edited, 2007; this is Jatropha, a devil in disguise; from the same source comes both blessing (biodiesel) and curse (poison). I wasn't looking for it, but I just saw an ICRISAT ad for "Manager, Scientific Editing and Publishing (All Exams & Jobs, blogspot.com), and of course I was reminded of an IRRI ad for "Manager - Communications" (linkedin.com), because I had earlier written about it (see my "Managing Rice Communications. IRRI catching fire," 05 December 2013, Frank A Hilario, blogspot.com). ICRISAT and IRRI are siblings within the family of their mother, single-parent Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). They have different progen…

The Age Mystique. Seniors quick to Facebook, slow to learn

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MANILA: Especially those in Facebook, I wish all the Seniors the best years of the rest of their lives. If they pay attention to the years of the rest of their lives. In fact, age doesn't matter because gray matter doesn't age, unless you do. It's all in the mind. If you visit Facebook, you will see young and old faces; I especially see the old faces who are quick to post photos and messages. I often wonder if they have found happiness. Me, I have found contentment amidst wonderment. The image you see here is the upper half-cover of an old copy of the book I bought on 22 May 2006, at a book sale (I inserted my photo). The unreadable entries on top right say, "7/03 Half-Price Books" which means it was already offered at that US bookstore for sale 3 years before I bought it. "Clearance $2.00" – I don't remember how much I paid for it, but it has been worth a fortune to me ever since. In 1993, Betty Friedan published her book in which she said, inst…

Organic Fools? The Myth of Dr Henry I Miller of Stanford University

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MANILA: Let's talk garbage. I was talking to someone the other day over dinner with some brown rice, and the subject of organic farming came up, and she said, matter-of-factly, that the yield of rice grown with organic fertilizer was low, and I laughed a little and said she was talking like she was employed by a chemical fertilizer company – I knew she wasn't. Joke. I just said, "There are organic fertilizers and there are organic fertilizers." She got the point. "In any case," I said, "if you want to shift from inorganic fertilizers to organic completely, you can't do it in the 1st year. Maybe in the 3rd, or 5th year. Because natural is slow, artificial is fast; you know, organic is slow release, inorganic is instant gratification.Year by year, more organic, less inorganic. I say now, use The John the Baptist Method: He must increase and I must decrease.I did not explain to her, but now I will, about organic agriculture, or organic farming, or e…

Golden Rice, A Great Leap of Faith. 2035, A Great Leap Forward

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MANILA: Let's talk about grains of truth. As a result of my essay "Managing Rice Communications, IRRI catching fire" (05 December 2013, Frank A Hilario, blogspot.com), with some people from IRRI country that lies next to the campus of UP Los Baños, over dinner someplace else, I had a long conversation on the past, present and future of IRRI in the eyes and ears of the public, what I know of the public, especially in the Philippines, where IRRI is based, and especially of the activists, with whom there is no love lost. I brought my first book and the latest (6th, 2013) published by ICRISAT in full color; I'm the happy prince with my happy essays on ICRISAT and other topics that somehow I relate to ICRISAT anyway. I'm all smiles with ICRISAT's strategy it calls Inclusive Market-Oriented Development, which guarantees that the poor rise from poverty; that's theory, and it has already been proven in practice in Africa and India. The not-so-secret secret lies…

Managing Rice Communications. IRRI catching fire

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MANILA: Let's talk genius. It's not my wont, but this genius is reading the print issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer of today, Wednesday, 4 December 2013, page A11, and it says, "Scientists discover wonder rice – IRRI." It tells of the discovery of what is now called a spike gene, which increases rice yields ranging from 16 to 36%. That's what I call IRRI's genius. Never mind that it was written by ANN (Author Not Named), which means it's essentially a press release. It doesn't take genius to realize that this is good news for this international Institute, the sister of my favorite ICRISAT, which has been catching the 7 o'clock news, because IRRI has been catching fire in its own hunger games! IRRI hasn't received good news for too long because of the controversy surrounding its own genetically modified organism (GMO) called Golden Rice, which it has been propagating as a public good for humans who have a hidden hunger for Vitamin A. I…

Farmer's Choice. Xmas card, IPM Check, Henri Fayol & Vic Ladlad

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CITY OF SAN FERNANDO: I'm beginning to write this in this city in La Union in Northern Philippines. 24 November 2013: I was the facilitator the other day and yesterday, Saturday, for the 2nd installment of a farmers' training under the auspices of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) contracted for by UMIC International, of which we are consultants, under the project titled Agrarian Reform Community Connectivity and Economic Support Services (ARCCESS). ARCCESS is unique and brilliant, if you ask me; my congratulations to the DAR. ARCCESS demands the best in you as consultant; it demands the best for the DAR farmers; it demands the best from the farmers too. The Department of Agriculture (DA) should learn from it too, if the DA knows what's good for the farmers. For the farmer beneficiaries of the agrarian reform law, via ARCCESS, the DAR wants primarily, as according to our Terms of Reference, the "provision of decision-support tools" with the assumption that…

Hilario's Theory of Technology Infusion. Dark thoughts early morning

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SAN FERNANDO CITY: 23 November 2013. I'm typing this in this dark mezzanine floor of this family room in Sea & Sky Hotel in the City of San Fernando in La Union, with only the screen of my Lenovo laptop illuminating itself. I sit yoga-like. On my crossed legs, I'm typing using an external keyboard, whose keys I don't see at all. It's 0250 hours, Saturday, and we are in La Union as consultants of UMIC International for the DAR project called ARCCESS, short for Agrarian Reform Community Connectivity and Economic Support Services. We means Butchoy Espino, Dormie del Carmen and I; we are a team; it just happens that I am the facilitator of the training on Integrated Pest Management (IPM), and I finished yesterday 2 training sessions, the first at the offices of the Atlas Mabuna MPC in Lasip, and the second at the offices of the Progressive MPC in Oraan East in San Fabian, both in Pangasinan. How can I type when it's dark and I can't see the keys on my external…

Farmer's Choice. A Day in the Life of a Trainer of Trainors

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SANTA BARBARA, PANGASINAN: Not my wont, but I'm wearing a red t-shirt. I didn't plan this, but it's Friday, 15 November 2013, and today just happens to be a red-letter day. As you will find out. I just woke up; it's 4 in the morning. I'm beginning to write this in one of the dorms of the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) in their Region 1 Santa Barbara offices. I'm going to finish this probably in San Fernando, La Union tomorrow where we're going to train farmers under the ARCCESS project of the Philippine Department of Agrarian Reforms. ... Well, I'm finishing this Sunday, 17 November, 3 days later, at the Danggay House in Asingan, Pangasinan, my hometown. It's been a long day, and it's a long story. We are a team of 3, now in Rissing, Bangar, La Union: Butchoy Espino (man in the image facing my camera), Team Leader; Dormie del Carmen, Crop Specialist; and I, Training Specialist. We are all graduates of the College of Agriculture of the U…

Remembering 911. Ferdinand Marcos, Emil Javier & US Twin Towers

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MANILA: This one is all about 911 and giving credit to whom credit is due. Including ourselves. "My grandfather once told me that there were two kinds of people," Indira Gandhi said, "those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was much less competition there." Me, I'll do the work and take the credit, thank you very much! For the American World Trade Center's Twin Towers tragedy on 11 September 2001, we credit that to Al Qaeda. It was a double insult to the intelligence of the United States: 911 is the number you call for help in an emergency; today, it is the number to make you recall an emergency that had no equal in horror in the history of the United States. The Twin Towers died that year. American pride too. For shaping the future of the University of the Philippines Los Baños starting in 1972, we give credit to Emil Q Javier, its first Chancellor. Javier was born on 11 September 1940. "T…

Diana Nyad, 5th time's a charm. At 64, the lady is a champ!

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MANILA, 03 September 2013: After not giving up on her dream of 35 long years, Diana Nyad is a charm; after successfully completing a marathon swim from Cuba to Florida in 3 days non-stop, 31 August to 02 September 2013, Diana Nyad is a champ. She is also a ridiculous champ - she's 64 years old! I'll call her a charmp. What did Mark Twain say again about age? "Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter." How did Diana do it? "Perseverance works" is the judgment of Ed Pilkington (02 September 2013, theguardian.com). That's oversimplifying the whole thing. It was more than a swimmer's journey of 110 miles in 54 hours. It was a journey of a thousand miles, and it began with the first step - 35 years ago. It began with a dream; she now calls it the Xtreme Dream. 1978, 1st attempt. When Diana was 28 years old, she jumped off into the waters of Havana in Cuba and swam towards Key West in Florida. She didn't ma…

WHAT IS TRUTH? From a non-believer to a believer

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Here's an exchange of short emails that started Friday, 16 August 2013 and I'm going to end right now, Wednesday, 21 August 2013 at 1600 hr. It's between me and SINO, Someone I NO, I mean I disagree with, as you will see. SINO: The statement is accurate: "Truth exists even without a human mind to perceive it."It cannot be a lie to anyone who can understand the sentence.FRANK: it is the human mind that is saying "the truth" that needs no human mind to comprehend it - so that statement is self-contradictory and is in fact more than a lie - it's a deception. SINO: You can always twist the truth according to a twisted argument.FRANK: we cannot claim to know the ultimate, unbiased truth because we cannot get out of this life to look at "truth" in the eye. i can only say, for instance, that the truth i believe in is this ... SINO: You are correct! But now you acknowledge that there is a truth that we cannot get out of this life to look at in …