Monday, August 31, 2009

I've got no balls.

Dammit! The US Open starts in less than 30 minutes and there's no live coverage on my TV! Just got a text message from Ronnie that it's being covered by Balls, and my cable doesn't carry that channel. Bad trip! Now I'm just gonna have to content myself with watching live streamings from a 3x3 inch box on my laptop.

Oh well.Here are my predictions, starting off with the women:

Quarterfinals:
(1)Dinara Safina (RUS) vs (5)Jelena Jankovic (SRB)
(4)Elena Dementieva (RUS) vs (9)Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)
(8)Victoria Azarenka (BLR) vs Kim Clijsters (BEL)
(10) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) vs (2) Serena Williams (USA)

Semis:
(5)Jelena Jankovic (SRB) vs (4)Elena Dementieva (RUS)

Kim Clijsters (BEL) vs (2)Serena Williams (USA)

Final:
(4)Elena Dementieva (RUS) vs (2)Serena Williams (USA)

Champ: (2)Serena Williams (USA) (although I'm rooting for Elena to finally win her first Grand Slam)

and the men:

Quarterfinals:
(1)Roger Federer (SUI) vs (8)Nikolay Davydenko (RUS)
(4)Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs (5)Andy Roddick (USA)
(7)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) vs (3)Rafael Nadal (ESP)
(6)Juan Martin Del Potro(ARG) vs (2)Andy Murray (GBR)
*look at that, the top 8 reaches the final 8! Although I have a feeling (22)Sam Querrey (USA) might beat Davydenko, and I'm also giving (20)Tommy Haas (GER) a fighting chance vs Roddick.

Semis:
(1)Roger Federer (SUI) vs (5)Andy Roddick (USA)
(7)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) vs (6)Juan Martin Del Potro(ARG)

Final:
(1)Roger Federer (SUI) vs (6)Juan Martin Del Potro(ARG)

Champ: (1)Roger Federer (SUI)

So I'm predicting another Fed/Serena win, just like last year's US Open, and just like this year's Wimbledon. Hey, history and talent is on their side.



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Friday, August 21, 2009

2009 vs 1983

Had Ninoy not taken the risk of returning to our country to fight for freedom, had he not been willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice, who knows? Maybe we'd still be under a more oppressive, more abusive dictatorial regime. Or under communists. Maybe our national debt will be even bigger, HP and P&G probably won't bring it's IT business here, the economy will be even worse, maybe the concept of human rights wouldn't even exist. Maybe we won't be able to travel around and enjoy the beauty of the Philippines, and see great Pixar movies in cinemas, or enjoy Parmesan-crusted white fish, juicy steaks and lamb chops in nice restaurants. Maybe internet and news sources will be censored and blocked. Maybe we won't be able to earn our own money and enjoy a good life, buy nice clothes and cool gadgets.

Maybe we won't even be able to have a comfortable life.

I know life is still far from perfect here in the Philippines. But if not for Ninoy and what he stood for, it'll probably be worse. And that's what we should appreciate. Not the holiday, or the long weekend. He is an honorable man who held our country and its people in the highest honor that he was willing to give up his freedom and his life for ours. That's what we should remember.

Here's a good read for today:
The Conscience of the Filipino: The Sacrifice (1986)


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Ninoy Aquino Monument photo by Jon Voltaire B. Aquino

Monday, August 10, 2009

And One Not-So Classy

In fact, not classy at all.

Arroyo dined for 1M pesos in New York—report

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her party racked up a dinner bill of close to P1 million at a ritzy New York restaurant during her recent trip to the United States, according to an online news report.
Malacañang Palace's response:
Contrary to the report, Remonde insisted that the dinner was a “simple” one and was hosted by Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez.

The original source of the news, (The New York Post's Page Six, which, yeah, is a gossip column):
THE economic downturn hasn't persuaded everyone to pinch pennies. Philippines President Maria Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was at Le Cirque the other night with a large entourage enjoying the good life, even though the former comptroller of her country's armed serv ices, Carlos Garcia, was found guilty earlier this year of per jury and two of his sons were arrested in the US on bulk cash-smuggling charges. Maca pagal-Arroyo ordered several bottles of very expensive wine, pushing the dinner tab up to $20,000.


GMA isn't just a public figure. She's a public servant. A public servant to a developing democratic country. Listen, no one's asking her to starve herself or eat in the streets on these official trips, but geez, a $20,000 dinner? Even if it was paid for by someone else, it doesn't justify the lavishness of it all. (And it doesn't help that that someone else who paid for dinner was also a Filipino public servant...) Especially when so many Filipinos are literally starving and can't enjoy having three basic meals a day. This is Imelda Marcos-levels of wasteful extravagance, and the height of classlessness.



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Sunday, August 9, 2009

One Classy Lady

Like most Filipinos, I watched the tributes, the coverage of her wake, the eulogy and the touching speeches, and her funeral procession. Cory's death was saddening, but at the same time, it was inspiring to see so many Filipinos uniting as a nation, honoring the very symbol of the democracy that we enjoy today. No one else in our recent history has contributed as much as Cory and her late great husband Ninoy did, and I'm glad that so many Filipinos are actually recognizing that fact. I wasn't born yet when Ninoy was assassinated, and I wasn't even 1 year old yet when the People Power revolution happened, yet I still live my days inspired by them, by what they stood for, by what they did. That's how powerful ideals are. And I'm happy to see that those ideals are not dead in the hearts of my countrymen.

I hope that a year, a decade, a century from now, we still feel the same intensity, the same spirit of unity, the same love and pride for country, the same desire for positive change and need for great leadership and governance that we felt last week, as we honored President Cory. May she rest in peace, and may our nation move forward steadily, strongly, with her as an inspiration.




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