By Marjorie Gorospe âUNHAPPY the land that is in need of heroes.â This is a notable quotation from German playwright Bertolt Brecht. It is now th e core message of Mae Paner's (a.k.a. Juana Change) latest video posted on YouT ube. Taking the role of an overseas Filipino worker (OFW), Paner portrays a domestic helper who talks about how OFWs are often considered as "bagong bayani" or new heroes of the country due to sacrifices they make. These new heroes work abroad, leaving their families behind to find jobs elsewh ere. "We do not need praises, we need money," Juana Change says, as she tells a stra nger on a plane about her feelings working abroad. While more and more Filipinos work abroad as professionals, some end up doing j obs that are menial. In the video, her character mocks government officials who go abroad to hide th eir ill-gotten wealth. The video eventually ends with a familiar face: national hero Dr. Jose Rizal. It was as if Paner was showing the two faces of heroes. Rizal sacrificed his li fe for the country; while OFWs continue to sacrifice comfort and dignity to sup port their family and eventually our economy. But as Bretchâs saying goes, this country still needs more heroes who have the genuine interest to serve the country minus personal interest, desire for power and corruption. Watch her video:
Recently in Government Category
JUST a day after aÂ golf c lub mauling incidentÂ was reported, dozens of blogs are denouncing alleged perpetrators who happen to be high-ranking government officials. Masui, Lanao del Sur Mayor Nasser Pangandaman, Jr. and several of his golf comp anions and bodyguards figured in an altercation last December 26 with Delfin de la Paz and his 14-year old son Bino at the Valley Golf and Country Club in Ant ipolo City. It was later found out that Department of Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pang andaman Sr. was also present at the golf club but was said to have not been par t of the alleged mauling. The incident was later blogged byÂ Bambee de la Pazand was reported by several news organizations. Bloggers also picked up the story and have since been calling for an investigation over the incident wh ile a few others called for both Pangandaman's resignations. Bambee de la Paz's blog was reposted on theFilipinoVoices.comÂ and received dozens of comments. Comic book artis t Gerry Alanguilan also posted hisopinionÂ on the matter, while Juned Sonido also had hisÂ takeÂ on the issue. Blogger Tonyo Cruz listed severalÂ messagesÂ from other bloggers in Global Voices. Filipina Mom Bloggerlisted downÂ other blogs that are showing outrage for the alleged mauling. Manuel Quezon III wrote aÂ scathing commentaryÂ where he relates the incident to the warlo rd culture in the provinces. Â
By Associated Press HANOI, Vietnam -- Vietnam has approved new regulations banning bloggers from di scussing subjects the government deems sensitive or inappropriate and requiring them to limit their writings to personal issues. The rules ban any posts that undermine national security, incite violence or cr ime, disclose state secrets, or include inaccurate information that could damag e the reputation of individuals and organizations, according to a copy of the r egulations obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press. The rules, which were approved Dec. 18, attempt to rein in Vietnam's booming bl ogosphere. It has become an alternative source of news for many in the communis t country, where the media is state-controlled. The new rules require Internet companies that provide blogging platforms to rep ort to the government every six months and provide information about bloggers o n request. The companies are also required to prevent and remove content the go vernment deems harmful. The regulations, written by the Ministry of Information and Communications, enc ourage bloggers to use "clean, healthy Vietnamese language." They clarify earli er Internet regulations that were introduced in August. Ministry official Luu Vu Hai would not say whether the new regulations will app ly to international companies like Google or Yahoo or would only restrict the o peration of Vietnamese firms. Currently, the vast majority of Vietnamese bloggers post their writings on Yaho o! 360.
AT least two bloggers, a journalist, and one opposition politician were arreste d under Malaysia's Internal Security Act (ISA) on September 12 in wha t media and activists are afraid may be the start of a wider crackdown ahead of an anticipated opposition push to gain control of parliament next week, the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) said. SEAPA said in a statement that Malaysia's leading blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin , who is also a staunch government critic on his website "Malaysia Today," was the first to be arrested in this weekâs arrests. Journalist Tan Hoon Cheng who works Sin Chew Daily, a Chinese-language newspape r that had recently covered a controversial outburst from a ruling party member who called the ethnic Chinese community "squatters," was also reportedly arres ted, SEAPA said quoting reports from. Malaysiakini.com. Lawmaker Teresa Kok of the Chinese-based DAP and Deputy Chief Minister in Selan gor was also arrested under the ISA, SEAPA said. The draconian ISA law allows government to detain people without tri al. It is a preventive detention law currently enforced in Malaysia. SEAPA said that the Centr e for Independent Journalists (CIJ) has already issued an urgent appeal, as it reported that another blogger, Haris Ibrahim, was arrested. Ibrahim was rep ortedly credited with starting a "People's Parliament project," which monitors the Malaysian government. SEAPA said Malaysian media, oppositionists and activists are expressing fears t hat the Malaysian government may be planning more arrests. SEAPA said that CIJ sees the recent arrests as measures that âbear a disturbing resemblance to the period in the lead-up to the Operasi Lalang in 1987," where dozens of activists, artists, academics and politicians were detained. "Both incidents are similar in that it relates to ongoing political crisis with in (Malaysian ruling party) UMNO, but manifested as alleged racial tension by t he government," SEAPA quoting CIJ said. SEAPA fears that this weekâs arrests may be part of a wider campaign after last weekâs threat to suspend Malaysian newspapers the Sin Chew Daily, The Sun -- w hich is a free English-language daily, and Suara Keadilan which is published by the opposition. The group said that the CIJ and the Writers Alliance for Media Independence (WA MI) have sounded the alarm over a warning issued by government to the three new spapers over coverage of the same controversy for which journalist Tan was arre sted. "Political observers fear the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, which was humiliated in March elections and is now threatened by the opposition's plans, was planning a repeat of an infamous 1987 crackdown," SEAPA said quoting news website Malaysiakini.com.
By Agence France-Presse SINGAPORE - A US national said Tuesday he will be tried in Singapore next month for allegedly insulting two judges who had presided over cases involving an op position leader. Gopalan Nair, a former Singaporean lawyer who is now a US citizen, told Agence France-Presse he has not yet hired a lawyer to represent him in the trial from September 8 to 19. "At this moment, I am representing myself," he said. Nair faces two charges of insulting judges on his blog. Each charge carries a j ail term of up to one year, S$5,000 fine (US$3,676) or both. In the first charge, he is accused of insulting Justice Belinda Ang, who presid ed over a defamation case where Singapore's founding father Lee Kuan Yew and hi s son Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong testified against the leader of the opposi tion Singapore Democratic Party (SDP). Nair, 58, alleged that Ang was "prostituting herself during the entire proceedi ngs by being nothing more than an employee of Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his son and c arrying out their orders," a court document said. In the second charge, Nair is alleged to have sent an e-mail to Supreme Court J ustice Lai Siu Chiu in 2006 saying he has "no shame" and that judges "are selli ng their souls and their conscience for money," according to a court document. Nair allegedly sent the e-mail on the day Lai sentenced SDP secretary general C hee Soon Juan to a one-day jail term and fined him for contempt of court. Nair said he is currently free on bail of $5,000.
By Alex Villafania INQUIRER.net MAKATI City, Philippines -- Senator Manuel Roxas III is taking his online prese nce further. Aside from his official website, an e-forum and accounts in social networking s ites, Roxas has finally opened his own blog a> and is setting up his own virtual ral ly to further promote his advocacies. Roxas' other websites include one that is about his official function as senato r. He also has entries in Facebook.com, Friendster.com and MySpace.com. Roxas who uses the handle "misterpalengke" launched his official blog last Augu st 1, after meeting up with bloggers in Quezon City. It appears, however, that he made his first posting on July 27. So far, there are three blog entries, though the last two entries were written by "Kael", a staff member of Roxas, and "Susan", a former staff member. Meanwhile, Roxas's Virtual Rally site is still undergoing final revisions but t he main page is already readable. One of his staff members said in an interview that they will soon finish working on the site. The virtual rally, created in Adobe Flash, is aimed at gathering a virtual crow d to peacefully protest different issues. People can use avatars to represent t hemselves in the rallies. So far, there are 111 members of the virtual rally and the main topic for now i s the fuel price hike.
MAKATI CITY, Philippines â Filipino bloggers and students visited the Commissio n on Elections (Comelec) last week to try their hands on the automated systems that will be used in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) elections in August. Led by the Bloggers' Kapihan, 20 students and bloggers participated in mock elections, where actor Pierce Brosna n won as regional governor for ARMM over mock candidates Kevin Costner, Leonard o DiCaprio, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Al Pacino and Shar on Stone, according to Comelec's blog. Vanessa Redgrave won as regional vice governor, beating Mariah Carey, Celine Di on, Michael Jackson, Tom Jones, Jennifer Lopez, Brian McKnight and David Pomera nz, Comelec added. You can read the rest of the story here.
By Erwin Oliva INQUIRER.net A FORMER and a current Filipino journalist have created a blog countdown that a ims to gather the sentiments of Filipinos who are impatiently waiting for Presi dent Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to step down in 2010. "It's certainly not inspired by (Antonio) Trillanes IV. I'm not a fan. But yes, the Manila Peninsula incident did just happen to bring up the point again. Whe ther you believe in coups or not, everybody agrees that 2010 is a long way away ," said Bangkok-based journalist Roby Alampay in an interview, as he introduced the Ang Tagal Naman blog. "Ang Tagal Naman" is a Filipino phrase that roughly translates to "This is taki ng too long." Unlike Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and his supporters who led a siege at a hot el in Makati to ask for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's resignation, Alampa y and co-founder Data Tolentino-Canlas, a former TV journalist who now runs a m ultimedia production company with her husband, said the objective of the blog i s simple. "I just think it expresses the least common denominator of how people feel: Ang tagal. Yun lang (It's taking too long. Thatâs all). Whether that lulls people into counting sheep or its spurs them to reflect on what they could be doing un til then, is entirely up to them. But we all agree, don't we all, that 2010 is a long way away. Depending on how you look at the countdown, the very thought t hat Gloria will still be here for two and a half more years either moves you or it paralyzes you. Either way, it's exhausting. This is a just an expression of how I think a lot of us feel," he said. Alampay is also the executive director of the Southeast Asian Press Alliance, a non-government organiza tion based in Bangkok, Thailand. The blog countdown, hosted in Blogspot, also looks simple. It features a Flash animation countdown with a background of two bouncing pink creatures with yello w, flapping wings. Alampay said a downloadable widget of the countdown will be made available soon. "This widget can be placed by people in their own desktops and they can depress themselves even offline," the Bangkok-based journalist quipped. The blog has also been left open for comments. So far, the blog has reported more than 2,000 hits.
BOY, everybody is blogging -- even the Kremlin. Check out this article from The Washington Post . Excerpt:
Pavel Danilin, a 30-year-old Putin supporter and blogger whose onli ne icon is the fearsome robot of the "Terminator" movie, works for a political consulting company loyal to the Kremlin. He said he and his team, which include d people from a youth movement called the Young Guard, quickly started blogging that day about a smaller, pro-Kremlin march held at the same time. They linked to one another repeatedly and soon, Danilin said, posts about the p ro-Kremlin march had crowded out all the items about the opposition march on th e Yandex Web portal's coveted ranking of the top five Russian blog posts.
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner has started blogging< /a>. In its first post, the Canadian official writes:
With this tool, we hope to make the activities of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner more accessible to Canadians and to increase contact betw een the Office and Canadians interested about privacy issues and legislation. As an Officer of Parliament, the Privacy Commissioner has a mandate to protect the priv acy rights of individuals and promote the privacy protections available to Cana dians.