Saturday, December 31, 2011


2011 has indeed captured the world’s attention with its shocking, gruesome, and sometimes heart-warming, news headlines. This year, we were at awe with the catastrophes which struck various parts of the world, wondered at the amazing show of People Power in the Arab World and other countries, and dazed by the death of some of the most prominent personalities in world, both sinister and iconic. We also worried at the continuing crisis gripping the world’s economy and had our share of smiles and joyful laughter at the most sensational wedding of the century. Here are my TOP 10 NEWS STORIES OF 2011

10. Norway Massacre and Bombing 

This massacre and bombing which killed 69 people shocked this quiet and peaceful nation and the world. Perpetrated by a 32-year old, right-wing Christian extremist Anders Breivik, the massacre and bombing exposed the religious intolerance some groups in Europe harbour against non-Christians and their supporters. It proved that Muslims are not the only one capable of terrorism. 

KIM: Loved till the end
9. Death of Kim Jong-il 

With just about every dictator falling from power or dying this year, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il won’t be left behind. Before the year closed, he met his Creator after suffering a heart attack while on routine visit to the countryside. His death triggered alarms throughout the Korean Peninsula for fears of a looming power vacuum after the perceived lack of readiness of his heir-apparent Kim Jong-un. His wake and funeral gave the world a glimpse of what it was like inside the secretive state which has isolated itself since the 50s. Despite the lavish lifestyle he lived, while remaining blind to the plight of his hunger-stricken and rights-deprived people, his funeral was attended by throngs of North Koreans, many of whom were forced to cry out of fear from the regime. 

JOBS: A genius loved by many
8. Death of Steve Jobs 

While dictators fell one by one, the world also lost a genius this year. Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs finally succumbed to his long and painful fight against pancreatic cancer. This renaissance man of the computer industry introduced us to many of the indispensible and life-changing gadgets we now use from the Macintosh computer, the iPod, the iPhone, up to the iPad. Not only did he make a gadget that is sleek, good-looking and profitable, he made sure that his consumers get the most out of his products. And thus, the world loved him for all the endeavours he’s done to change the way gadgets and humans interact. 

GADDAFI: Hated till death
7. Death of Muammar Gaddafi 

Justice has been served in Libya with the death of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi – in a chilling and gut-wrenching way. The Libyan people, whose rights he has deprived and maligned for over 40 years, have liberated themselves from his clutches and surrounded him on all sides with international help. It was poetic justice when they found him begging for his life in a sewer in his hometown of Sirte, as the rebels shot him and displayed his body to the crowd, all while videotaping the incident. The world was witness to his horrifying end via YouTube and sent a chilling message to all other dictators in the Arab World. 

WILL & KATE: Sweet and cheesy!
6. The Royal Wedding 

Amidst the violence and bloodshed brought about by the Arab Spring, we were greeted with lovely news of Prince William’s marriage to commoner Kate Middleton. The British heir to the throne married his long-time beau at Westminster Abbey in London and was witnessed by 162 million people around the world via television broadcast and the Internet. The world blushed at the sight of the Royal Couple as they kissed twice for the public at Buckingham Palace. After the tragic end to the marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1997, the world had a new romance to look forward to. 

WASHI: Washed away everything in its path.
5. Wild Weather Disasters 

The irreversible effect of global climate change has created a series of destructive weather events in different parts of the globe since the start of the year. The United States braced for a series of tornados which hit Joplin, Missouri. Southeast Asia was hit by consecutive typhoons leaving large areas of the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand flooded. The Horn of Africa was devastated by its worst drought in decades causing a huge humanitarian crisis amid the threat of Islamic extremism in the region. And before the year ended, the Philippines was hit once more by tragedy, after a relatively weak tropical storm continuously poured torrential rains on Northern Mindanao, inundating the cities of Cagayan De Oro and Iligan, resulting in the loss of almost 2,000 lives.

BIN LADEN: Nowhere to hide
4. The Death of Osama bin Laden

Our atmosphere of merriment brought about by the Royal Wedding was quickly quenched by news of the death of America’s most wanted man: Osama bin Laden. The Al Qaeda leader and mastermind of the September 11, 2001 Attacks in New York and Washington DC, was killed by US Special Forces in his secret lair in Abbottabad, Pakistan on May 1. His death came as a surprise as there were no indications that bin Laden was hiding in plain sight in one of Pakistan’s most affluent communities. Doubts were cast on the authenticity of the report which was broadcast to the world by President Barack Obama. In the end, video and photographs of the raid were shown to key people in American government which led to a confirmation of his death. His body was laid to rest according to Muslim rites in an undisclosed location in the Arabian Sea.

RECESSION: Tore holes in our pocket.
3. Global Economic Crisis

2011 saw the continuation and worsening of an economic crisis which started in the United States around 2007 or 2008 by the bursting of the US housing bubble and the decline of US and European banks and other financial institutions. This year, the economic crisis worsened unemployment in America and brought Greece, Portugal and Ireland into a recession which needed a difficult intervention from other European Union nations. The recession in Europe threatened the demise of the euro and of the Union itself but was saved temporarily by diplomacy among member countries. In 2012, the crisis will still continue and who knows what problems it will unfold for the world.

THE ARAB SPRING: An awakening
2. The Arab Spring Revolutions

The end of 2010 saw the beginning of an awakening of Arab societies in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain and other Arab nations in North Africa and West Asia. It began in Tunisia when a fruit vendor, discontented by the lack of job opportunities in his countries set himself on fire. His sacrifice turned into a national cry for justice and reform which spread to other neighbouring countries with the help of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and blogging. A new breed of young, educated Arabs led the battle cry which resulted in the toppling of respective dictatorial regimes in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen. In Libya, the revolution turned into an all-out civil war which involved Western forces who supported the rebels; while in Yemen, the revolution resulted in a power transfer deal between President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the Gulf Cooperation Council. In Syria, the despotic President Bashar Al-Assad continues to resist opposition to his rule by using violence against protesters. The revolution there still continues to unfold.

JAPAN: Triple Disaster
1. The Japan Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Disaster

On March 11, 2011, in the midst of our cacophony over the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and Syria, the eastern seaboard of Japan was struck by the most powerful earthquake it felt in recent years. The 9.0 magnitude earthquake destroyed buildings in the Tohoku region and created a huge tsunami which devastated various cities along its coastline. The world was awed, and at the same time, gripped with fear, as the tsunami’s onslaught on Japanese cities was broadcasted live in television. The tsunami created panic in other countries as it spread to the Pacific Rim (but left only little damage). Our fears were taken to the highest levels once news of the crippling and eventual meltdown of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant came. For the second time, the world was made aware of the chilling and deadly effects of nuclear radiation. This nuclear crisis left Fukushima and its surrounding region permanently contaminated and forced the evacuation of thousands. But in the midst of the disaster, the world also witnessed the resilience, calm and cooperation of the Japanese people. Slowly, we saw how they came to terms with what happened to them, stood up and rose up from the ashes of this tragedy.

With all that happened during 2011, we are left with a great deal of anxiety and anticipation for things to come in the New Year. There are those who believe that 2012 will usher in a new era of cataclysmic disasters and crisis that will lead to ultimate end of the world. There are those who dismiss such claims and continue to have hope on the human spirit to solve and weather these catastrophes. Whatever may happen in 2012, whether human society will come to an end or continue to prevail, may the spirit which enabled us to endure our wonderful and sometimes weary existence remain with us always.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011


A year ago, December 20, 2010, The Social Scientist first went online.

I could barely remember the specific circumstances which led me to start this blog. All I know is that all of a sudden, I have a huge surplus of time and an oozing energy to write. I wanted to write about the implications of every major issue confronting Filipino society at this day and age. Thus, our journey through 40 posts in a year started.

We started writing at the opportune moment: the Arab Spring was just starting in Tunisia and would soon spread around the globe, Hubert Webb and the rest of the accused in the Vizconde Massacre case were acquitted by the Corona Court, and the next generation Philippine currency has just been released by the BSP. Our first post dealt with Filipino society's reaction to the purported flaws in its design and implications of our society's reaction.

Since then, we've covered many of the major events which occurred throughout 2011, not only here in The Social Scientist but also in its sister blog, Pilipinas 360. We wrote a feature on the dawn of the 24-hour all news channels in the Philippines and gave live blog updates on the March 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami and the succeeding nuclear disaster it brought. We delved into the implications of the Egyptian and Libyan Uprising to Filipino society, as well as, linked to the Filipino consciousness the death of Osama bin Laden, the Royal Wedding and the beatification of Pope John Paul II. We were part of commemorating Dr. Jose Rizal's 150th birth anniversary, and reacted to recent actions of the Aquino administrations against the corrupt practice of the previous regime and its tentacles. Morever, we gave an in-depth look at the status of the Philippine Navy, our mental health, the education sector and even our penchant for pang-ookray.

With these posts, we were able to do something which other bloggers have not been doing -- to link the Filipino psyche and behavior to major political and socio-economic issues every Filipino is experiencing. Our posts made sense of the whys behind every major Filipino reaction to what's happening in the world today. It led us to a better understanding of our society -- its good points and great flaws -- its humanity! We delivered this consciousness to reach even other platforms within the blogosphere, by publishing our entries in other blog sites such as Definitely Filipino and Networked Blogs, and by creating our own Facebook page, so that more people can make sense of our content.

There is no other way than this. While we could have done it better, of course, the odds are not always in our favor. There were times that we cannot post for more than a month, and there are times that we are not being read, but in the end, there is no other way that this. If given a chance to relive this experience, we would have done the same thing. Expect us to make things even better in this coming year.

We would like to thank all our readers throughout a year of joining us through our journey inside the Filipino consciousness, to fellow bloggers who shared their ideas and expertise with us, to our friends and loved ones who always encouraged us to keep on writing despite the competitive nature of blogging. We would not have made it this big without you. We owe our existence to your constant demand for what we write.

This is not the end -- this is just the beginning of an even wonderful saga. There are still uncharted waters to sail through. While we wait for good winds to bring us there, let us hold hands and brace ourselves, for the journey is about to get more exciting.

Happy 1st Anniversary THE SOCIAL SCIENTIST!

Friday, December 9, 2011


ARROYO: Hates chopper rides.

TAGUIG CITY - CGMA's spokesperson Elena Bautista-Horn lamented to the media this morning about the administration's "delaying tactics" in transporting the former thief (sorry!) president to the VMMC today. They said that the administration must implement the transfer order now by land instead of an air transfer as originally planned. "Weather" and "chopper" are apparently Mrs. Horn's other words for "delaying tactics."

DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo and the Philippine National Police has clarified that there were no intended delays to the transfer of Mrs. Arroyo to VMMC. The agency has decided to forestall the chopper transfer until better weather arrives, and has decline the Arroyo camp's insistence on a land transfer. Meanwhile, Mrs. Horn insisted that it will be safer for Mrs. Arroyo to be transferred by land. "Kung ang problema lang naman nila ay yung mga rallyista bakit hindi nila hawiin. Hinihintay lang nilang dumami ang mga Anti-Gloria protesters sa harap ng ospital! Payagan na lang sana nila kami, kahit magtaxi na lang kami papunta dun," the spokesperson said, to which a reported asked, "Hindi po kaya barilin naman ang dating pangulo kung by land ang pagbiyahe sa kanya gaya nga nung sinasabi niyong planong patayin siya sa Operation Put The Little Girl To Sleep?" Mrs. Horn replied, "Ah, hindi baril ang gagamitin sa Operation Put The Little Girl To Sleep." I wonder why Mrs. Horn knows so much about this plan. Could it be? I smell something fishy.

CGMA insisted on being transferred by land to the VMMC instead of air. Atty. Ferdinand "Itlog" Topacio, in an interview with GMA News, said that the former president has had trauma after her previous experiences with chopper crashes. Meanwhile, in footage release by GMA News, three PNP choppers were spotted circling St. Luke's Medical Center in Taguig which is part of the transfer convoy. These are apparently, the "brand new" Robinson choppers sold by her husband Mike Arroyo to PNP officials. No wonder the president is traumatized!

Atty. Ferdinand "Itlog" Topacio said that the former president is already stressed because of her waiting ordeal.  She has been sitting all morning in a wheelchair, has already had two breakfasts and is also experiencing stomach pains. If I had two breakfasts in one morning, while seated all throughout in a wheelchair, I will have stomach pains too. Pwede namang tumayo, humiga di ba? O tumuwad kung gusto niya!

Atty. Ferdinand "Itlog" Topacio, when asked if former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo is also irritated by the delay of transfer, stated: "Kung ako nga na di asawa eh naiirita na eh!" ALIN po ang naiirita?

These are just some of the statements we've heard in today's fiasco about CGMA's tranfer to VMMC. The usual boisterous and preposterous ranting and whining of the Arroyo camp's spokespersons has been irritating us since the former president's "ordeal" started. It irritates us for the fact that their statements do not corroborate with what they have acted upon before. Why insist on being detained at the VMMC at such unfortunate moment when they were the ones insisting in the first place that CGMA is in grave danger? St. Luke's is a well-guarded, well-equipped hospital -- what else could go wrong in there? Can't she just wait to be transported after the weather clears up? Didn't the court order explicitly said that she has to be transferred safely and properly and yet she wants to brave the downpour and flood, and wrath of the angry masses! The people has had enough! We just hope that the former president could have chosen her mouthpieces well, because the way they are speaking to the media, the more CGMA sounds a ridiculous, desperate, spoiled brat. Its making us want more for her to be put to sleep instead, just to end this ruckus.

But more than anything else, this entire act by the Arroyo camp is ridiculous and desperate. Their so-called "demagoguery" by the administration is nothing but a ghost created by their own scheming party in order to portray her as being persecuted and prejudged. This is no demagogue. This is a poorly scripted act to win the hearts and minds of the unaware, uneducated, emotional and ill-advised masses like the handful of Kampampangans we saw in VMMC today.

This is a teleserye, entitled, "Put The Little Girl To Sleep". TSS

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


STABBED UPFRONT: Corona and PNoy in yesterday's 1st National Criminal Justice Summit. (From
What do I want to write?

Since this weekend, last night, and the whole morning, I can’t figure out what itches in me to write something. This blog has been neglected for a month now, and it needs a fresh dose of creative release. And yet, at the moment I laid my hands on the keyboard, it is as if a blood clot has blocked all sense of creativity and imagination, which prevented me from publishing anew. But as Sean Covey said that “a mission will only remain a wish if not put to pen”, I decided to write instead about what I’ve been meaning to write all this time.

I want to write about PNoy finding his voice. How he has finally had the courage the lash out at this country’s opponents right in their face, this case, Chief Justice Renato Corona. I want to write at how shallow SC spokesperson Midas Marquez is at commenting about the President’s speech as “disturbing”, when the acts of the court Marquez is trying to embellish is in itself “disturbing”. I want to write out how ridiculous Representative Mitos Magsaysay and the Daily Tribune for calling the President a loose cannon for criticizing the “Highest Court” in the land. Somehow, they are forgetting that the Executive and Judiciary are co-equal branches, the same as Congress, and have therefore every right to check each other’s balance in the use of power. It is ironic how Magsaysay and Lagman call the President a loose cannon when they themselves act like cannon-heads when openly criticizing his policies in the halls of the House.

I want to write at how all this crap by the Arroyo camp about the President’s speech being disrespectful and arrogant as a mere defence mechanism, and how onion-skinned they are in the face of guilt. I want to write how proud I am that this President we have right now, no matter how perceived by many as incompetent and disoriented, has finally found his balance, his direction and his confidence to walk through that path and poke at the impediments on its way. I want to write at how he dared this time to speak for himself, and not on behalf through his spokesperson, Abigail Valte or Edwin Lacierda. He's no Colin Firth in "The King's Speech", but the strength and confidence he mustered to do such feat is worth a movie script. I want to write about how the President’s acts cannot lead to a constitutional crisis or in the downsizing of the Supreme Court’s integrity, for it is not Court itself that has committed these whimsical and impartial acts against the people, but the justices which Arroyo have placed for herself in the last minute. The President has not attacked the Court, but the personification of its incompetence and prejudice which we now know by name as Renato Corona. The President has not attacked the Court but has somehow defended it, by pointing out what it should be doing otherwise since day one of this administration. Corona should be even thankful to have not been stabbed at the back, but upfront. That only shows he has a true friend in PNoy, as Oscar Wilde said.

In the end, what do I want write? Looking back, I’ve written it already. There is nothing more I want to write today.
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