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Finished or unfinished, pass your papers

May 24th, 2008 1 comment

The advancement of technology and advent of the Internet made people predict for a paperless office. Offices will be spared from the clutter and a mountain pile of papers. People will be exchanging notes, messages and other materials through the Internet or some other hi-tech mobile gadgets. The way paper is used will be drastically changed by computers and the electronic communication. But is this so?

Paper will still be around and will definitely stay for a while. People still need paper even if emails, PDA’s, cellphones and laptops have become widely used. Even the mobile businesspeople who carry their data around in little electronic gadgets, find themselves still needing to print their documents. One cannot send wedding invitations without using paper. Receiving birth announcements from close friends in beautiful paper work gives more warm personal touch than getting it through mass email. Imagine holiday photo cards made in metal, wood, plastic and other material, other than that of paper.

A paperless world will eventually come. In the meantime that paperless story remains a fiction we read in magazines that are still made of paper. Perhaps such pursuit is laudable if it is made in the context of saving trees of our world. But if the motivating vision for a paperless world is just another consumerist stint and for capitalist profit, then we will surely miss the paper, equally as we will miss the trees.

The next time you receive a wedding invitation or baby shower invitations, be truly happy.

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Amsterdam on my mind. Part 2

May 21st, 2008 Comments off

On my previous “Amsterdam on my mind” post, I wrote about our gallivanting adventures on the streets of Amsterdam. There are also other (mis)adventures I had while in Holland. So many to remember, but some are too notable to forget, especially those about getting lost in translation.

There was one instance when my Filipino classmates and I went to a party hosted by our compatriots. In that party I met a crowd representing the widest spectrum of Filipinos in Holland. Aside from a sprinkling of few students, activists and political asylum seekers, most of them were Overseas Workers like the seafarers, shopkeepers, caregivers, nurses, window cleaners and Au Pairs. Oh, yes the Au Pair, how can I forget.

Admittedly it was during that party that I first heard the word Au Pair. And I thought I was alone. To hide my being ignoramus, I didn’t asked what it meant the first time I heard it. My boisterous and noisy Filipino classmate did the discovering for me, and in a rather embarrassing manner. My classmate already tipsy, misheard and mistook the word Au Pair for “offer”. In an honest mistake, he innocently but loudly asked why should Filipinos come to Holland just to be “offered.” To his bewilderment, the group suddenly broke into a guffaw.

After that Party, my once noisy classmate had suddenly become more behaved and silent.

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Amsterdam on my mind

May 9th, 2008 Comments off

There is always a first time for everybody. Two of perhaps a million of my first times, happened at the same time in 1998. One was my first time to travel abroad, to the Netherlands, and the other was my first snow. It was in Amsterdam that I first saw, felt and played with snow.

I was a student in a short non-degree studies in Amsterdam in 1998. We stayed in the school’s dormitory during the whole duration of our study. Our school was located at Willemsparkweg, just a few meters away from the Vondelpark and the Hotel Zandbergen. Amsterdam for me then seemed like a very big park. So during class breaks, together with two of my Filipino classmates, we strolled around the city center of Amsterdam by just walking. Being first timers in Amsterdam, every street corner is a new site to behold, making it impossible for us to get tired of walking.

From where the school was located, we walked to and stroll around Leidseplein, Damrak, the Dam, the Royal Palace,etc. A stroll down Vondelpark became a usual destination during short class breaks. Our Dutch classmates called the Vondelpark as Fondle Park, an allusion of course to what pairs usually do in that park any time of the day. We also visited museums and took a boat tour around Amsterdam via its canal network.

The first thing I learned in Amsterdam was never to go to a Coffee Shop if you just wanted to have a real coffee and some food for snacks. But if you want a good trip around A’dam, a-la Cheech and Chong, then a Coffee Shop is your perfect whistle stop. Coffee shops serve ‘ganja’ Yellow Coffee and some good stuff and joints. These Coffee shops are aplenty and you can find them scattered all over Amsterdam, like the Grasshopper, Bulldog, and a lot more. In The Netherlands, soft drugs like cannabis sativa are legal, albeit regulated.

Moving around Amsterdam is quite easy. The Dutch can speak and understand English perfectly well. So if you get lost, you can just ask anyone for instructions. We were always mistaken as Indonesians when we converse with a Dutch on the street. Indonesia was once, and the only Colony of Holland in Asia. That is why next to the Morrocans and Turks, one can find a lot of Indonesians in Holland, like one can find a lot of Vietnamese in Paris.

Assuming you’d ask, Yes, I visited the popular Red Light district of Amsterdam. But it was merely to “kijkend” around. A Dutch friend told me that there is an unwritten law in the alleys of the Red Light district, taking pictures of the women of the place is a no-no, it is considered disrespectful. You might find yourself in trouble if you can’t prevent clicking your cameras. Next time you know, your camera had found a new home under the canals of Amsterdam.

Finding hotels in Amsterdam is not hard as well. You can find all kinds of hotels just within the City center, from cheap hostels to five star hotels. Or you can locate one through the internet. One good finder in the internet is the easytobook.com.

I went back to Amsterdam two more times, after my first time.

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Parlez vous?

February 25th, 2008 Comments off

Just when I thought that nothing was free on the Internet and that knowledge always came with a price, I came across this site where you can learn to speak French!

The site provides pronounciation guides, grammar and phraseology, arranged by Topic so that you can specialize in some areas that you think you need improvement on. It even has actual conversational guides that you can use for practice.

The site is predominantly text so pages load quickly, with hardly any waiting for the content to be seen. This is a great site for beginners who may not have the time to go to actual classes.

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America Kicks Ass!

January 17th, 2007 Comments off

Ever wonder why despite massive anti-war protests in the US and the Democrats gaining the majority in American Congress, President Bush can still and will be sending more troops to Iraq? – and elsewhere that they desires.

Watch this video, the answer is here.

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Do Isrealis love their Children too?

July 31st, 2006 4 comments

qana2.jpgEverytime I hear news about children killed in wars, a part of me dies.

Nothing can justify the act of killing innocent civilians especially women and children. Yes, especially the children. In Peace or in War, killing innocent children intentionally or by accident is murder of the highest degree.

The recent Israeli attack on Sunday morning (30 July) on a house in a Lebanese village of Qana which killed more than 60 civilians, among them more than 30 children is an unjustifiable and condemnable act. Israel should pay for this crime.

While the United Nations, bowing to US pressures, is careful not to use the word “condemnation” against this criminal act commited by Israel, I have this to say, The blood of the dead Children of Qana is in the hands of the Israeli Government- I Condemn Israel!!

When do we learn? To borrow the lyrics from a song by Sting:

There’s no such thing as a winnable war
It’s a lie we don’t believe anymore

We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology
What might save us, me and you
Is if the “Israelis” love their children too!

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Cowboy Diplomacy

July 17th, 2006 Comments off

The present strife between Lebanon and Israel might turn out into a full-blown war in the Middle East if world leaders think the way George Bush does.

While the United Nations is carefully handling the conflict situation in a more diplomatic way by not antagonizing the parties involved, President George Bush was caught on open microphone during a leaders’ lunch at the Group of Eight industrial countries gathering in Russia, telling British Prime Minister Tony Blair that the key to defusing the Middle East crisis was for “Hezbollah to stop doing this shit”. He added,“What they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit, and it’s over.” Bush was on camera but apparently unaware that his words were being captured by a microphone. It was unclear who’s the ‘they’ he was mentioning about.

That’s “Cowboy” diplomacy at its finest. You can now imagine how the present White House leadership discuss about foreign diplomacy and global conflicts with George W. Bush at the helm. Yippee-ki-yay, m…fkrs!

Read about the Bush boo-boo here

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