Monday, January 26, 2015

The Newsroom to a Filipina 3

   The HBO series The Newsroom season 3 tackled the under-investigated / under-litigated campus rapes and Sloan’s slamming the new management’s misuse of the app that Neil developed for journalistic integrity.  

   “In 2007 the National Institute of Justice funded the Campus Sexual Assault survey, a web-based survey of 6,800 undergraduates at two large universities using multiple explicitly worded questions about sexual victimization. According to the results, 19% of women and 6.1% of men had been victims of at least one completed or attempted sexual assault since entering college. The study’s authors also found that the majority of women were assaulted while incapacitated, that perpetrators were usually friends or acquaintances rather than strangers and that Freshmen and Sophomores were at a higher risk for sexual assault than Juniors and Seniors.”  19% of 6,800 is 1,292 rape victims.

   After the above study, it took seven years for someone to take the issue seriously.  “In 2014, President Barack Obama established the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, …proposing a number of other measures to prevent and respond to sexual assault on campus, such as campus climate surveys and bystander intervention programs…Shortly thereafter, the Department of Education released a list of 55 colleges and universities across the country that it was investigating for possible… violations in relation to sexual assault.”

   All things considered, what do I think of The Newsroom as a television series?  Below are my humble thoughts:

I loved that the news show fought for integrity against popularity rating which these days ruled just about everything.

I hated the confusing flip flop in hair style for the Maggie Jordan character.  
I believe Sloan’s character deserves her own spin off television series.  There’s a lot that can be said about a brave and bright feisty female economist who can love one man constantly.  
I love that Jane Fonda looks as beautiful as she did in Barbarella. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Standbys of Pasay City

   Growing up in Pasay City in the early 60's, instead of watching The Three Stooges in black and white or Popeye which my brothers have memorized from the frequent reruns, I preferred to hang out in the street.  We were called ‘Standbys’.  The convenience store at the corner of Ibarra St. and P. Reyes was owned and operated by my cousins.  They sold, depending on the season, goodies such as nilagang mais (boiled corn), suman latik (wrapped rice with coco-sugar sauce), puto bumbong (purple yam cake steamed in bamboo tube), etc.  They had a subscription to local comics, like Hiwaga Komiks and Wakasan Komiks.  They rented out the issues for a few centavos.  I got to read for free because I’m in the family.  

    The ‘standbys’ were like brothers and sisters.  The jokes were more entertaining than cartoons.  We teased each other without offence taken. Some of the favorites were over receding hairline, body odor, obvious cowardice, height, etc.  Aliases were assigned as a joke like Mama’s Boy, Boy Dirty or Boy Dummy.  If you have a long face you could be called “Yokab” (horse).  

   Once in a rare while a fight unfolds before our eyes.  And of course I stayed put and watched till it was done.  I remember some street protocol:

1. When a parent should ask about anything pertaining to their child, information should only be given if no spanking could result.

2. If authorities like the police should ask about anyone, information should be given if it does not involve jail time.

3. When a friend gets into an altercation with someone from another neighborhood, we’re all involved by choice and should be willing to go ‘resback’, which means to confront the bad guys because our guy was always the 'good guy'. 

4.  If a boy likes a girl, everyone else gives up interest in her.

   As I grew into my teen years, a new batch replaced the ‘Standbys’  who have either moved to another place or have found a job, a wife or all of the above.  The new batch included one that I secretly dated.  Secretly because I was thirteen and logic dictates it would get me into trouble with my mom.

Corner Store at P. Reyes St.
   Life happened to all of us so suddenly.  Now the street corner and the store are still there.  The Standbys, where have we all gone?

See also: 
The Standbys of Makati
Pasay City Kids

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Newsroom to a Filipina 2

   The television series The Newsroom season 2 opens with two highly reported and socially relevant events, the 2012 presidential campaign and the beginnings of Occupy Wall Street.  

   The Newsroom episodes on the Romney campaign showed a journalist demanding the details of the candidacy promises behind the rhetoric and the effects of religion on the candidate and the electorate.  As a Filipina I am all too familiar with the vague boundaries of the separation between church and state.  Elections in the Philippines have always been exploited by religions that claim to have power over their member’s votes.  Politicians not only pay these religions with financial favors but also allow them to control what laws to make.  This results in the Philippines being the only country without a divorce law, to go with the Vatican, the Roman Catholic state, which also do not have a divorce law.  

   The Romney campaign was portrayed exactly as it happened.  Campaign speeches flipped flopped according to the audience expectation.  The lack of details in the campaign promises laid the groundwork for future back stepping after election.  I watched on television the Democratic Convention where Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords bravely kicked off the opening ceremonies after recovering from a very recent assassination attempt.  It brought me to tears along with the convention attendees.  

   The Occupy Wall Street mass actions brought me back to when my American husband accused me of being a Republican.  He claimed that because I was working for a bank and used a Blackberry I am a crony of the establishment that created the mortgage crisis and the succeeding bail outs.  Although I was an Executive Assistant for a bank executive I was not a banker in the real meaning of the word.  The character of Will McAvoy is a Republican with Democratic sentiments.  I am a non-democrat with some measure of Republican sentiments.  I believe no one can be absolutely one or the other.  Each individual should agree or disagree on a particular issue and not be bound to a political personality or political organization.  No one man or party can be right 100% of the time.

“I well know, O Jehovah, that man’s way does not belong to him.

It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” (Jeremiah 10:23)

Monday, January 5, 2015

The Newsroom to a Filipina 1

   The television series The Newsroom premiered in 2012.  I missed the entire three seasons so in the tail end of 2014 I decided to binge watch it from the beginning.  The pilot episode was about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill which happened in April, 2010.  That oil spill dominated television for months with images of wild life affected by the disaster.  Then came the BP accountability and efforts to clean up.  

   The Newsroom episode took me back to that year when I watched the news every night with my American husband.  Because we came from two different countries we did not share the same taste in entertainment.  The news gave us a common ground.  I am not an animal activist nor an environmentalist.  My country has bigger issues than those, like instead of wild life, people are killed by environmental disasters every year (i.e. flooding and landslides as an effect of denudation caused by illegal logging of the mountains).  

   Marcopper Mining, another a Canadian corporation like BP dumped 200 million tons of toxic mine tailings into Calancan Bay, Marinduque, Philippines for 16 years.  “When exposed to ocean breeze, the tailings, which partially floated, become airborne and landed on the rice fields, in open water wells, and on village homes.  The local residents apparently called this their "Snow from Canada".  This "Snow from Canada", consisting of mine tailings, forced 59 children to undergo lead detoxification in the Philippine capital of Manila. At least three children have died from heavy metal poisoning.”  Environmental cleanup was not carried out by Marcopper Mining Corporation.  

   The second Newsroom episode was about Arizona’s Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act (Senate Bill 1070) passed in 2010.  It was said to be the strictest immigration law.  It made it a crime for an alien to be in Arizona without “carrying” documents.  You can’t leave your documents at home.  
It brought to mind Hitler’s identification marks on Jews and purple triangular patches for Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Arizona law enforcement can demand immigration status during a "lawful stop, detention or arrest" or when there is suspicion of illegal immigration.  This sounded like the warrantless search and arrest during Martial Law years in the Philippines.  

   News is always colored by history in the viewer's eyes.