Showing posts from December, 2013

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

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

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,, and of course I was reminded of an IRRI ad for "Manager - Communications" (, because I had earlier written about it (see my "Managing Rice Communications. IRRI catching fire," 05 December 2013, Frank A Hilario, 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

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

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

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,, 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

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…