Imbak para sa Hunyo, 2008

Walang PAGASA?

(No Hope?)

Typhoon Frank (Fengshen) ravaged the Philippines today. At least 80 people were confirmed dead as of posting but this number is expected to rise. A Sulpicio Lines passenger ship, MV Princess of the Stars, with more than 700 passengers capsized off Romblon. As soon as I read the news by sms from the Philippines, I hurriedly booted my notebook to check the PAGASA website and verify the typhoon status. PAGASA is the acronym for Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration. PAGASA coincidentally means HOPE in the Filipino vernacular. The government office is supposed to be the forecasting authority in times of calamities such as typhoons, earthquakes and tsunamis in the country.

My jaw dropped when the laptop screen gave me this:

Walang PAGASA!

It read: “The connection has timed out/The server at is taking too long to respond…Try Again.”

So I did try again, and again and again and again and again and again… After the nth refresh, I finally succeeded. The PAGASA site announced:


Public Storm Warning Signals elsewhere now lowered.

Residents in low lying areas and near mountain slopes under typhoon signals are advised to take all the necessary precautions against possible flashfloods and landslides. Likewise, those living in coastal areas under signals 2 and 3 are alerted against big waves or storm surges generated by this typhoon.

Typhoon “Frank” will continue to enhance the Southwest Monsoon and bring rains over the Western sections of Southern Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao which may trigger flashfloods and landslides.

The public and the disaster coordinating councils concerned are advised to take appropriate actions and watch for the next bulletin to be issued at 5:00 p.m. today.


How vague can a weather warning get? Where is elsewhere? What do “take all necessary precautions” and “take appropriate actions” mean? What should people do to make it “appropriate”?

I can’t help but compare PAGASA with its counterpart in Hong Kong, the HK Observatory. It is super hot here today. The HK Observatory through its website warned:



Very Hot Weather Warning

The Very Hot Weather Warning is now in force.

The Hong Kong Observatory is forecasting very hot weather
in Hong Kong tomorrow. The risk of heatstroke is high.

When engaged in outdoor work or activities, do drink plenty
of water and avoid over exertion. If not feeling well, take
a rest in the shade or cooler place as soon as possible.

People staying indoors without air-conditioning should keep
windows open as far as possible to ensure that there is
adequate ventilation.

The Hong Kong Observatory advises that prolonged exposure
under sunlight is to be avoided. Loose clothing, suitable
hats and UV-absorbing sunglasses can reduce the chance of
sunburn by solar ultraviolet radiation.

Swimmers and those taking part in outdoor activities should
use a sunscreen lotion of SPF 15 or above, and should
re-apply it frequently.


Now, that is very specific! People are instructed about what to do and what not to do. The advisory even gives suggestion to swimmers: use SPF 15 sunscreen lotion! My God, we have a killer typhoon in the Philippines. More than 80 are dead (and counting)… More than 20 typhoons hit the country every year, yet PAGASA can only advise to “TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION!!!”


Read similar post at duskfading’s blog


OFW 2008 Remittance; EU Expulsion of Irregulars

Good News

The Philippine Central Bank reports an expected increase of about 10% in total cash remittances by OFWs from last year. Total remittance for 2008 will be around $16.45 billion; a real boost for the country despite the global economic slowdown.

Bad News

New illegal migrant rules in the European Union will affect more than 94,000 irregular OFWs. They will face expulsion, detention of up to 18 months and/or a five-year re-entry ban.


What will the Philippine government do to help OFWs facing expulsion from the EU? Will they always be quick on the math with regards to remittances yet slow in formulating action plans for OFWs in distress? WHEN WILL THE MILKING STOP?



Economic Models explained with Cows – 2008 update

I got this from a forwarded email.


Economic Models explained with Cows – 2008 update

You have 2 cows.
You give one to your neighbour.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and gives you some milk.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and sells you some milk.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the milk away.

You have two cows.
You sell one and buy a bull.
Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows.
You sell them and retire on the income.

You have two giraffes.
The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

You have two cows.
You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows.
Later, you hire a consultant to analyse why the cow has dropped dead.

You have two cows.
You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows.
The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company.
The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more.
You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States , leaving you with nine cows.
No balance sheet provided with the release.
The public then buys your bull.

You have two cows.
You shred them.

You have two cows.
You go on strike, organise a riot, and block the roads, because you want three cows.

You have two cows.
You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk.
You then create a clever cow cartoon image called ‘Cowkimon’ and market it worldwide.

You have two cows.
You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and milk themselves.

You have two cows, but you don’t know where they are.
You decide to have lunch.

You have two cows.
You count them and learn you have five cows.
You count them again and learn you have 42 cows.
You count them again and learn you have 2 cows.
You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.

You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you.
You charge the owners for storing them.

You have two cows.
You have 300 people milking them.
You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity.
You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.

You have two cows.
You worship them.

You have two cows.
Both are mad.

Everyone thinks you have lots of cows.
You tell them that you have none.
No-one believes you, so they bomb the **** out of you and invade your country.
You still have no cows, but at least now you are part of a Democracy.

You have two cows.
Business seems pretty good.

You have two cows.
One is reserved for the wedding of your son
The other one you give as bribe to your politician.

Home Along da Riles

(The House Along the Railroad Tracks)

I recently transferred to a new home here in Hong Kong. My wife and I were so excited to move because this is our first house as a couple. I did not mind doing some wall repainting by myself. In fact, I enjoyed it. This is me happily painting a portion of our kitchen wall.

repainting my new flat

With two rooms, a large living room, a spacious toilet, and a comfortable tub, the flat is perfect for us. Even better, I get to see the Westrail train pass by every 15 minutes or so. I developed this habit of staring at the speeding coaches with the trademark red and blue colors of the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) Corporation. Can’t explain why, but it relaxes me the way fishes calmly swimming in a glass aquarium do. My wife agrees 100%. I could stare all day and not get bored. It gets even better at night when the coaches are fully lighted.

Here is the view of the tracks from my kitchen window.

westrail from my kitchen window

westrail from my kitchen window

westrail from my kitchen window

This makes me wonder about fellow Filipinos who squat near railroad tracks.

Life along the railway tracks by Sidney Snoeck

Do they also like seeing PNR trains go by?

Squatters slus on the rail road

What is our government doing to help them?

Life along the railway tracks by Sidney Snoeck

…we need long-term solutions, not quick fixes! Current government relocation efforts are superficial.

…more photos and insights by Sidney Snoeck at My Sarisari Store


...sapagkat ang gobyerno natin ay may "cash cow mentality" pagdating sa mga Overseas Filipino Workers.

(Read On "Milking the Cash Cow")

...sapagkat ako ay isa ring OFW; may mithiin, marunong magisip at nagnanais marinig... Makabagong bayani daw... Sa totoo'y tampok na gatasan ng pamahalaan. (English)

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