Monday, July 31, 2017

The First Matriarch

   “Matriarchy is a social system in which females hold primary power, predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property,” 

   The first matriarch, was the first woman, the first wife, Eve.  In the Book of Genesis 2:18“Jehovah God said: ‘It is not good for the man to continue to be alone. I am going to make a helper for him, as a complement of him.’”  Then in verse 22, it reads “And Jehovah God built the rib that he had taken from the man into a woman.”

   Let us backtrack a little.  In verse 16-17, before Eve came into being, it says, “Jehovah God also gave this command to the man: “From every tree of the garden you may eat to satisfaction.  But as for the tree of the knowledge of good and bad, you must not eat from it, for in the day you eat from it you will certainly die.”

   Eve was updated about that command when she arrived at the scene.  We know that because she said to the serpent in Genesis 3:3, “God has said about the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden: ‘You must not eat from it, no, you must not touch it; otherwise you will die.’”

   A mere three verses later, Eve makes the first matriarchal decision: “she began taking of its fruit and eating it.  Afterward, she also gave some to her husband when he was with her, and he began eating it.” (Genesis 3:6)  Adam followed her wishes instead of the powerful God who created and loved him.

   There was another tree in the garden, the tree of life, which they were not forbidden to eat from, until they disobeyed the commandment, “in order that he may not put his hand out and take fruit also from the tree of life and eat and live forever, with that Jehovah God expelled him from the garden of Eʹden” (Genesis 3:22-23)  The tree of life could have given them unending life in paradise.

   Her decision gave her descendants, the whole of mankind, a death sentence.  Soon enough, Eve’s second child, Abel was murdered by her first, Cain.

   From Eve, imperfection was inherited.  Matriarchs have risen from the most unexpected places.  In Asia, where women are petite and demure, came the Filipina.  


The Filipina
   The Filipina holds the purse string in the family whether a working wife or not.  Many of them work overseas to support Filipino househusbands.  Many fought the Revolution against Spain and WWII as guerillas.  They are shrewd business managers, assertive in any situation and adapts to the most difficult condition without losing charm and poise.  Thus, they make perfect matriarchs.

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Friday, July 21, 2017

An Open Letter to President Duterte

   In the Bible book of 1Peter 2:13-14 it says, “For the Lord’s sake subject yourselves to every human creation, whether to a king as being superior or to governors as sent by him to punish wrongdoers but to praise those who do good.”  This is what you do, Mr. President.  You are reputed to be hard on criminals but supportive of those “who do good”.

   The list of your accomplishments in 2016 alone does not only exceed expectations of the Filipinos, they defy the normal standard of leaders all over the world.  I have here a link to the long article of Pia Ranada from www.rappler.com.  I picked a few of what I believe to be of utmost importance.
  • “Mega Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija inaugurated. It is being run by the Department of Health.”  Drug users are not being exterminated as bias news claim.  Those who are willing to undergo rehabilitation gets it for free.
  • “One-stop service center for OFWs opened…has served 219,697 clients as of December 7, 2016…P455.1 million in emergency assistance extended to 10,233 OFWs displaced… in the Middle East. Of these, 2,401 availed of the government’s repatriation program.”  For the first time in years, OFWs are being assisted.
  • “911 National Emergency Hotline launched”
  • “The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) distributes land ownership awards to 50 farmers in Cebu City, 35 farmers in Sorsogon, 175 in Occidental Mindoro, and 300 in Bukidnon and Lanao del Norte.”
  • “271 new weather stations installed by Department of Science and Technology (DOST).”

   You have your hands full with the overwhelming problems of the country.  However, please permit me to bring to your attention the plight of kidney disease patients.  Dialysis, the treatment for kidney disease is unaffordable to the common Filipino.  Without dialysis, the patient dies within 3 days to 3 weeks.  Most choose to die and forego treatment if it means a child will not have to quit college, or the family does not lose residence by missing on rent payment.  Or worse there is simply no money to pay for one more treatment.  Philhealth is helping some and PCSO pitches in.

   Richard Nixon, a disgraced US president, provided to dialysis patients a law that has been keeping millions alive.  I believe that if there’s any Philippine president who can do the same, it’s you.

   “there is no authority except by God; the existing authorities stand placed in their relative positions by God.” (Romans 13:1)  That same God saw it fit to put a cursing, toughie in power.  That same God reads the heart of men and must have liked what he saw in yours.(1Chronicles 28:9)

Note: This article has been tweeted to the President and will be circulated to his social media pages.  Please share this article with tagline  #freedialysisphilippines and visit their Facebook Page

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Friday, July 14, 2017

Response to John Oliver

   I have been a dialysis patient for seven year this August 10, which anniversary I celebrate each year.  The first two years I did dialysis at University Kidney Center in Louisville, KY.  On the third year, the center was bought and operated by American Renal Associates.  I have been on dialysis vacationing, which put me with Satellite Healthcare in California and B. Braun Avitum in the Philippines.  I listed the providers to show I have been around.  Right now I am with DaVita.  

   I saw Dialysis: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.  John Oliver made good points but I would like to offer a reality check.  The episode focused on DaVita making it look like DaVita has an exclusive on “bad incentives, poor oversight and profiteering”.  Bad incentives, poor oversight and profiteering describe the entire healthcare system in all of America, maybe even the entire world, not just one Dialysis provider.  I have nothing against John Oliver but he should have researched other dialysis providers and made a comparison to be fair.

   The DaVita four stars rating from Medicare which John Oliver found unbelievable comes from a survey mailed to patients.  I am one of those patients who have given those stars.  The rating doesn’t say DaVita is perfect, four stars is not five stars.  However, patients of other dialysis providers suffer wrongful death arising from staff negligence or unqualified technician resulting in hemorrhages, “lawsuit against American Renal Associates that alleged it was responsible for a woman’s wrongful death…Sheila Marie Workman died on Sept. 23, 2013…There was a large amount of blood found under her treatment chair.” (wvrecord.com)

   Fresenius Medical Care owns dialysis clinics and provides many of the products used by other hemodialysis centers.  NaturaLyte Liquid Acid Concentrate and Granuflo Dry Acid Concentrate, both provided by Fresenius was found to cause heart attack, cardiac arrest or death during hemodialysis.  Information about the risk of using Granuflo and NaturaLyte was withheld by Fresenius, “at least 941 dialysis patients treated at Fresenius clinics suffered cardiac arrest during treatments in 2010.” (www.youhavealawyer.com)

   The episode quoted a supposedly DaVita Educator as saying patients have declined transplant because they are comfortable with their life on dialysis.  John Oliver reacted to this as incredulous.  Reality check, I am one of those patients who have declined transplant for five years until Flora Chan, a DaVita Social Worker convinced me last year.  I got on the transplant list.

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Friday, July 7, 2017

An Excerpt from REBEL


   A reader of REBEL said that he thought the part about the main character Gina and Reb, a married couple living with her second husband and his second wife under the same roof was pure fiction because it seems unthinkable.  I’m sorry to disappoint but that part of the book along with the rest of the book is pure reality.  People do unthinkable things when the situation dictates.  Here’s the excerpt in question:

   “She realized she would be losing sex with Reb, with Marites under the same roof.  Despite her radical views on life, a three way or four way was not acceptable.  This could mean the end to her sex with Reb.  No problem, there’s still Anton beside her every night.

   That night, Anton loved the idea.  That it came from Reb showed cracks on the three way relationship.  Anton knew Gina’s big ego would not be comfortable with another ‘cook in the kitchen’.  He didn’t have to meet Marites to know, this would be the beginning of the end.  There was some gamble in sharing an address with a wanted couple, however, Reb was already sleeping in his living room anyway.  If he refused this move, it would make him the bad guy.

   “I understand why we need to do this.  We need to help Reb get on with his life so he can enjoy the same happiness we have found with each other,” Anton said, searching for any resentment she might have towards Marites.  He saw nothing.

   The two couples moved into their new place.  Gina got comfortable that Reb has a permanent shelter.  Anton felt like someone playing Bingo, with one number missing to win.  Everyone seemed happy.  Marites most of all.  Reb has finally committed to her.  He played his role of a newly coupled, sweet and loving, particularly when Gina was around.

   The first few months went smoothly.  The two men, as usual, were careful not to mess things up.  Gina and Anton got to go out more often knowing Jojo was in good hands.  She was no longer afraid of Reb taking the boy away, since they all lived in the same place now.  Unlike the neighborhood they left, no one here knew about their relationship.  They seemed like two normal couples sharing an apartment.

   As time moved on, Martial Law made a dent on the movement’s activities and finances.  Reb’s rent money started to dwindle.  Gina made up for the shortage from her own monthly budget that came from Anton’s salary.  It was making life difficult but if the alternative would put Reb out of shelter.  She would rather suffer it.”- end of excerpt.

   All the characters are in their late teens in the 60’s, when life for teens in the Philippines got exciting!


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Sunday, July 2, 2017

Time Travel Part II-The Tranvia

   When I was a child growing up in Pasay City, I used to see steel rails embedded in the street along Taft Avenue by the public market on the corner of Libertad Street.  I used to wonder who put the rails there and for what purpose.  To a child it looked like nothing have ran on it for a hundred years.  My grandmother told me there used to be a tranvia, some kind of train, that ran on those rails.

Tranvia in Manila
  The electric street car built by Americans, called tranvia by Filipinos, ran to Pasay public market from Escolta and Plaza Goiti through Luneta and M. H. del Pilar.  It was called “Pasay line” of the Meralco powered tranvia.  It was patterned after the San Francisco cable car system built in 1873.  
San Francisco Cable Car in the background 

   Pasay was a part of Rizal province back then and had a long way from becoming a city.  However, new automobiles from America with 20kph maximum speed have arrived.  The engine top speed capability was 35 mph.  However, the roads were bad and tires manufactured then were deplorable.  These cars trudged side by side with public transport horse and buggys called kalesa.

Manuel L. Quezon with Marlene Dietrich
From: http://www.classicmoviefavorites.com
     In 1935, the US was struggling to fully come out of the Great Depression.  To help the US economy, a high tariff was charged on imports from other countries.  Commonwealth of the Philippines with Manuel L. Quezon as the first President had been established but the tariff did not affect the Philippines because the Philippine industry remained in the hands of Americans.  So, while the world crumbled during the Great Depression, the Philippines lost no jobs, got no bank failures due to Filipino conservative banking practices and with the six months long rainy season, none of the drought condition that dried some parts of the US into being called “Dust Bowl”, the topic of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath.

   The Great Depression was less severe in the Philippines because the import tariff discouraged export of food items and produce.  Thus food flooded the local market and took down the cost of food benefiting the Filipino poor while the poor of the world suffered starvation.  

   A search for Philippines or Manila in the Wikipedia page for Great Depression came up zero.  The affected countries were as follows:

Australia
Canada
Chile
China
France
Germany
Greece
Iceland
Ireland
Italy
Japan
Latin America
Netherlands
New Zealand
Portugal
Puerto Rico
South Africa
Soviet Union
Spain
Sweden
Thailand
United Kingdom
United States


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