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Friday, March 30, 2007

Hyper-Active Imagination

Last Sunday, Jun and I decided to skip our usual jog in UP Diliman and decided to run instead inside the CCP Complex grounds. I missed the alarm (this is getting more frequent as of late) and so by the time we made our way towards the Senate grounds, I could already hear my skin crackling from the intense heat, its as if I were being flayed alive.

Actually we passed by the abandoned Experimental Cinema of the Philippines grounds, you know where a lot of workers were reportedly buried alive when the foundation caved in during its construction, because Imelda Marcos was in a hurry to finish it up.

It wasn't really spooky. Maybe because we passed by the place in broad daylight. Oh well, thankfully I don't have a third eye or a sixth sense.

But you see, I have a hyper-active imagination. I could easily see a white lady floating nearby or heads poking out of doorways, even hear screaming coming from the basement where there actually isn't any. Years of watching horror movies have primed me up for it.

I'm really curious, what if I visit it at night? Can I really hear and see anything unusual?

I'll ask Jun.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Dancing Queen (Updated)

You know that campaign ad on TV featuring former Senator Tessie Oreta wherein she hopes to turn her infamous "Dancing Queen" stunt during the Erap impeachment trial into some sort of a righteous epiphany ("I made a mistake") to lure in votes? I think my guts just spilled out.

Madame, change advisers. That strategy has clearly back-fired. And no, I haven't forgotten that incident and especially the disgust I felt back then (and I still do, now) when you made a plain mockery of justice and truth.

And now, appearing on TV as if you were close to breaking into tears, you seek understanding and forgiveness, all I can say is, Yuck! If you were really sincere, you'd have done that a long time ago, long before the election season. Disgusting.

She languishes in the bottom half in the latest SWS, and assessing her chances, Malaya even reported that along with other candidates not doing well in the surveys, she might "slide" down the political ladder and seek a Congressional position instead. The nerve.

Other candidates I am not voting are:

Pangilinan- This overrated husband of Sharon Cuneta is clearly a beneficiary of hype and his righteous image. In a Debate episode on Channel 7, I remember him speaking in hollow language, empty rhetoric and motherhood statements. Very, very disappointing. Miriam's right in criticizing this former student of hers.

Cayetano- C'mmon. He's making a career out of Mike Arroyo, trying to project an image of being an 'expose' man, with embarassing results. All hot air. No substance at all.

Montano- He reminds voters that he stands to lose millions in endorsements because of his foray into politics. And so the logic is that we owe him a lot if we won't vote for him.

Gomez- He flirted with the administration party. Good thing he now runs as an independent and has no political machinery. At least there's a good chance he won't win.

Pichay- For some reason, the metaphor of a "pechay" plant in the Senate ("itanim sa Senado") just doesn't do it for me.

Trillanes- He set a bad precedent, spawning copycat hostage-takers "with a conscience". Just yesterday, a day care center proprietor hostaged his own students for over 10 hours inside an airconditioned bus, demanding "free education" for deprived kids. Isn't Trillanes supposedly behind bars? Why is he running for senator?

Honasan- Favorite hobby is plotting coup d'etats, unecessarily putting the lives of so many at risk.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Heavier than Usual

I arrived home one late afternoon finding Panda curled up on the doormat. Immediately, she sprang up and like a typical scaredy cat, hopped over the fence onto Manang Mimi's turf next door and settled under a plastic table surrounded by monoblock chairs.

I noticed she looked heavier than usual.

"Manang, is Panda pregnant?"

She said she wasn't sure. "Maybe she's just fat", she surmised.

Manang isn't exactly a good source of information. One time, she told me Panda was Polar's mom. And then sibling. And then recently, she said Polar belongs to the family on the other side of the street.

And so, mustering my telepathic skills, I asked the subject, "So, are you pregnant?"

She ignored me.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Wink, Wink

Frodo underwent a minor eye surgery, and so I texted him, a day after the operation, inquiring how he was.

"Painful. I can hardly open my eyes." I can imagine him wincing in discomfort.

"Then I guess you should avoid emoting too much. Crying might only exacerbate your condition."

I have a developed a talent in saying the most unfortunate comments in the most inopportune moments.

Predictably, he chopped me into pieces.

"^#@!*%)*~! But I'm ok."

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Pleasantly Surprised

Liling Briones now has a regular column in the Business Mirror, I was pleasantly surprised. When Erap appointed her to head the Treasury, I had serious misgivings because her association with so-called "development organizations" meant she had a leftist bias. (Back in college, as a tenured professor, she established and headed the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC), although I found myself disagreeing, a lot of times, with the rhetoric and their use of selective data to support their polemics. When I took Public Fiscal Administration class for my elective, I sparred with a lot of FDC members in class on issues ranging from globalization to the role of the IMF).

I turned out to be wrong and she did her job exceedingly well. She even promoted a 'small investors' program' wherein the general public can invest in Treasury bonds in small denominations (like 5,000 and 10,000).

While some people may be passionate about music, or cars, or some sports activity, Briones' passions are mainly corruption and third-world debt. She has become a watch dog for political corruption. A trained accountant and with close association with the Commission on Audit, she's quite familiar with the tricks and underhanded manuevers used my unscrupolous politicians to tinker with the national budget as well as the disbursement of funds.

I look forward to reading her columns. I'm pretty sure Gloria is closely monitoring what she has to say.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Names

I used to go by my first name, Lester. Unfortunately, that name isn't exactly common and everytime it gets called, I feel like I'm on a dark stage and I'm the only one standing on the bright spot.

In college, a teacher in a subject I didn't particularly like initiated recitation by looking up at her list and singling out those with "names that stand out". And so, together with a girl named Luningning, I became the 'flavour of the day'.

I now go by my second name, the rather innocuous and really common "Ronald".

Which brings me to names of some people with really incredible origins, like Ameurfina (America, Europe and Filipinas, get it?). My high school math teacher was named Luzviminda (as in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, the three groups of islands that comprise the Philippines). And with equal imagination, she named her daughter Alpha Zuleika. Zuleika sounds like some vodoo priestess about to poke a dangling doll with pins.

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Shooting the Messenger

The latest SWS survey on hunger incidence/perception irked Gloria so much she just had to shoot the messenger. She claims the manner by which the question was framed resulted in the unfavourable responses. She said she herself experienced hunger over the past three months.

But there lies the problem: there is an ocean of difference between being hungry as a matter of choice (like dieting) and being hungry because of deprivation.

Gloria, you're so arrogant.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Intermezzo

This was played in Marc and Mimin's wedding, the Intermezzo from Pietro Mascagni's verismo masterpiece, Cavalleria Rusticana.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Ravel Piano Concerto in G

Last time, I bemoaned the fact that Cecil Licad switched Ravel for a Beethoven. (The program announcement is actually incorrect. Licad didn't switch after all). Guess what, Jun alerted me to an excellent classical music station in Australia. Ravel's concerto in G got featured, with the formidable combination of Martha Argerich at the piano and Claudio Abaddo conducting the Berlin Philharmonic, I think.

The Adagio is awesome, it's luminously serene, nostalgic. It does have Mozartian influence, but traces of Gabriel Faure's seems to be a more valid observation. Out of this world, you're transported to another place, much like the netherworld or Tolkien's the Middle Earth, inhabited by elementals.

The movement marked Allegramante (you ask, how on earth should you know how the movements are marked? ah, you see, I love Ravel, so I'm quite familiar with this concerto), is like a jazz-dance. Ravel composed this in the era of jazz music. He brilliantly incorporated these elements into his concerto. Wonderful.

And then the finale marked Presto: a toccata and quasi-blues exchange between the orchestra and the soloist leads to a ravishing close, with disjointed jazz themes gradually gathered into a mighty thread.

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Rising Interest Rates

As I have expected, interest rates have started to rise, 90-day T-bills are testing 2.95%, up from around 2.85%. Definitely, with the campaign season kicking in, election spending will likely boost money supply in circulation, putting pressure on the Bangko Sentral to put a lid on inflation.

It's managable at present, considering that diffused tension in North Korea and Iran as well as a warm winter in the Northern Hemisphere, contributed to the stability of oil prices, for now. And with the strengthening peso (we import 99% of our oil requirements), inflation has been low for the past couple of months, about 4%, giving a much-needed breathing space for monetary authorities.

The current fall-out in the US housing sub-market, I'd like to believe, is an isolated case. Sub-prime refers to those with dent credit. I think that this market was all set to burst out, anyway. Lending to risky clients entails high interest rates and refinancing options may not have provided an effective safety-net for borrowers.

It hasn't spilled over to the main housing market yet, and as such, we can't really say that consumer spending in the US has indeed started to show signs of tapering off.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Humdrum

I went swimming last Saturday, and immediately somebody asked me if I have been to the beach lately. I am determined to go to some beach one of these days, after I will have finished my reports. Jun, Andy and their labmates went to Bantayan Island in Cebu. From the pictures, the place looks pristine, uncrowded and unsullied by the usual tourist blight.

My neighborhood here in Cubao sometimes feel like we're in Communist China or Cuba (not that I have been to Cuba). The barangay administration installed loud speakers all over the place and unfortunately, residents here have to put up with announcements blared daily about cancelled day care classes, absent barangay tanods and missing drivers, garbage collection schedule (this one's perfectly ok with me) and basketball events. Sometimes, the barangay captain delivers an unintelligble speech. It's so bad one time I had a dream wherein I heard the barangay chairman looking for me. We're like a small communist country.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Chopin Ballade no. 4

Here's Chopin's final Ballade, the No. 4, played on the piano by Krystian Zimerman.

Second part.

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Kid Gloves

I decided at the last minute not to watch the Licad concert last Friday night at the CCP. Her program originally included Maurice Ravel's Concerto in G Minor. I was surprised she switched the Ravel with a Beethoven no. 3, along with the Poulenc double concerto with his son, Ottavio.

I wish she'd stop treating the Filipino audience with kid gloves. I know we may not be musically sophisticated but some of us can appreciate an honest-to-goodness Shostakovich, even a Bartok. Abroad, she performs difficult repertoire consisting of Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Chopin and Rachmaninoff. Here she gives us an early Beethoven? What gives?

I want to hear the Ravel. Everybody's familiar with the Beethoven, for crying out loud.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

I Ain't No Malabanan

"Are you joining the Subic Triathlon this Summer and the China trip in June?"

I sent this SMS message to Doc.

"I'm not sure yet," he replied. And then he hinted at his impending poverty.

Like the rest of the civil servants in this country, he is grossly underpaid.

"I've started to engage in 'rackets', like home-service vaccinations and deworming."

I replied, "Welcome to the club." I'm a 'racketeer' myself.

"Have you posted your services in Meralco's electric posts?"

"Noooo! that is so pathetic. I'm not a plumber."

"You should. It's quite effective in drawing in prospective customers, you know. That's how I found my piano tuner."

"I rely mostly on word-of-mouth advertising."

I think he might consider it, though.

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Summer Vacation

Polar and Panda bear have taken their summer vacation perhaps in Boracay. I haven’t seen them lounging in my garage lately. They’ve stopped staging a vigil outside Ate Che’s house waiting for Manang Mimi to give them their supper.

Polar and Panda usually take turns curling up contentedly under the shade of a tree adjacent to my garage. I purposely enclosed a small section near the base of the tree with chicken wire. They took to it quite well because it gave them a semblance of security while they slept through the entire day.

When the heat is bearable enough, they move to the center of the garage to sunbathe. I always imagine these two wearing sunglasses, with their i-pods on as their heads sway to the rhythm, sipping daiquiri while lying down on a divan leafing through the pages of a fan magazine and occasionally discussing the latest Kris Aquino scandal.

One time, at around 1 a.m., I heard a noise outside my bedroom window. I heard an object being dragged across the concrete surface of the garage. I looked outside and found these two playing… soccer! I’m not making this up. They kicked an empty plastic can around.

I’m sure they are busy playing beach volleyball or learning how to scuba-dive right now.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Kraus Mania

These clips should be required viewing for voice students all over.

From Georges Bizet's opera, Les Pecheurs des Perles, here's the grandiloquent tenor-baritone duet, "Au fond du temple saint," between the excellent and elegant Alfredo Kraus and the lush baritone Barry McDaniel, recorded in the 1970s.

Notice the excellent tonal control in the tenor aria, Je crois entendre encore, a rapt mezzo piano in the key of A minor (I think), sustaining the delicate melody and investing it with just the right emotion, without even a single coarse or misplaced note.

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Hostaged

It occurred to me just now. All this stock market hullabaloo (don't know if I spelled it correctly) can get really annoying sometimes. You channel all your analytical skills in economics and finance to come up with proper stock valuation, and overnight, your stock portfolio (which isn't really much to begin with) goes downhill just because investors in New York get jittery about unfounded fears of a looming economic crunch in the US.

Fundamentals be damned. We're all hostaged by Wall Street. Even if you have nothing invested in the Dow.

You don't only watch the local business news anymore. Sometimes, you'd pretty much know the direction local equities are heading just by watching the CNN business news the night before.

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Misheard

I completed the Adidas 10 Km run in 56 minutes last Sunday at The Fort. I'm quite happy about it, it's the first time I finished the race in under an hour.

During breakfast at Jollibee, Jun and Andy related how one colleague, during the annual Christmas kris kringle, misheard one "wish" of another colleague, who wanted a "Kitchie Nadal" (a local female rock singer). You know, a CD of the singer's latest hits.

The CD can easily be found in any record bar. However, that colleague scoured flea markets around the metropolis looking for that particular item, complaining how difficult it was to find it.

Like a quest for the holy grail, she eventually found the elusive item: a key chain na doll.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Rendezvous

Over the week-end, I had coffee with an old friend I haven't seen for maybe, four or five years. He was slightly balding last time I saw him, now he sports a totally (not skin-head type) bald look.

I kept on spacing out because the images of Humpty Dumpty and that lamentable 80's sitcom The Coneheads kept on playing in my mind. My train of thought ocassionally gets "derailed" because I kept on trying to figure out how I would look like if I were bald.

He knows I blog and he's determined to find this site (what, you want me to just hand it over to him?) because he thinks he knows a lot about me already. A really intelligent guy, he'd easily find this.

Gad, if he reads this then I'm done for.

Mi amigo, bienvenido!

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Ballistic

Some dazed soul went ballistic over an old issue, mostly my frustration about one, humiliating incident. It was supposed to remain private.

Unfortunately, somebody did a Gollum: it found its way into the foothills of Mt. Mordor. True enough, it set me up on a collision course.

Let's move on, por favor? It's all water under the bridge now.

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Viva Giordano!

Oh, Youtube removed the Callas' Chenier.

Here's an equally impressive performance of that Giordano masterpiece, by the Ukranian spinto Maria Guleghina, at New York's Metropolitan Opera.

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Height Conversations

One time, Frodo and I passed by a shoe shop inside Galeria. Immediately, he told me he knows where we can actually find shoes with a 4-inch heel. It's not clear to me whether he's referring to rubber or leather shoes.

"It's at the Mall of Asia," he told me with an enthusiasm we normally associate with the discovery of a Yamashita treasure.

"How much does it cost?"

"Four-thousand. But it's the only one of its kind." He seems intent on buying it.

"Did you try it on? Does it really increase your height?"

"Yeah."

"Why don't you just take Cherifer tablets?" I didn't actually say this, he was frigging serious. It might only spoil his day.

Well, I'm not exactly tall myself, I'm only 5'8". But Frodo's even shorter, 5'4" or 5'5".

"If I wear it then I'll be as tall as you are."

"Then I'll buy a pair myself to maintain the height differential between us."

"What's wrong with you." Ok, ok, I get it. I was only pulling his leg.

And then he showed me a picture of his new car using his camera-phone.

But that's for another blog.

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Friday, March 9, 2007

Chopin's Scherzo No. 2 in B Flat

A piece I have been trying to tame since high school, Frederich Francois Chopin's Scherzo No. 2 in B Flat, Op. 31,

I've basically given up on it.

Interpreted slendidly by the 1975 Chopin International Piano Competition winner, Christian Zimmerman.

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Small World

Last night at the wake, I got surprised when I saw my former research boss (DBS people, Jun T. was there!). He’s Duch’s first cousin.

What a small world!

He’s now in Citibank, a big time economist, earning gad-knows-how-much.

Well, yeah, he should stick to economics because I remember he sucked in corporate analysis. I cannot forget how he missed his projections by very wide margins and how he described one economic event as a Goldilocks Effect. I have absolutely no idea what he meant. I still don’t.

Research people are insufferable bores. Right there at the wake, we discussed the current stock market blood bath that started in China and the current low-interest rate scenario.

Well, what were we supposed to talk about?

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Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Hair Gel

Frodo sent me a SMS message, “Let’s jog tonight.” We haven’t seen each other for quite some time.

“Aren’t you going to the wake tonight?”

“We can proceed later after the jog.”

Quite predictably, after a few minutes, he sent me another message, “Let’s postpone the jog. I don’t have my hair wax or gel with me. We can go to the wake.”

I stared at my phone for a few seconds, not knowing what to reply. Apparently, he can’t run with a messy hair-do.

Frodo has this annoying habit of changing his plans at the last minute.

“No, you go ahead. I’ll go later”, I texted him back.

“What’s wrong with you? You’re still planning to jog? OK, I’ve changed my mind. Let’s jog. Just bring hair gel with you.”

How can it possibly be my fault?

Frodo is a good friend. But he can be a total anal-retentive sometimes.

We ran for about an hour. I understand his eagerness to jog. He’s put on a few pounds. He’s been attending dragon boat training sporadically.

During dinner at the Thai restaurant, our conversation turned serious.

“You’re gaining weight. At that rate, I think you might look like a night club bouncer soon.” I couldn’t help myself. I just have to jab him with it.

“Well look at you. I can see your scalp from afar.”

I had a message from Jun, "Wake scheduled for tomorrow night."

Anyway, Frodo paid the bill. Later he dropped me off at Starbucks where I had a mocha java frappuccino.

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Final

The CGFNS Board in the US has decided with finality: the June 2006 passers of the leak-tainted exams must retake portions of the exam before they can be allowed to practice in the US.

Some people even had to fly off to the US to appeal to the CGFNS board to reconsider its decision. It’s embarrassing. Didn’t they see the handwriting on the wall? Maybe these guys simply want to make a side trip to Disneyland.

Some passers made matters really worse when they blocked any attempts of a retake, saying that they cannot afford the expense and psychological toll of preparing for another grueling exam.

This is true. Unfortunately, as I told my friend Johnny Bravo, a nurse, this myopic view may not sit well with US authorities. The only way to address the problem and to restore the credibility of the profession is for the examinees take the tests again in a credible manner. Those involved in the leakage should be meted out with penalties and charged in court as well. These will settle the issue once and for all.

Those who howled in protest and continue to do so still fail to recognize the ramifications of the leakage. The consequences will likely resonate far into the future, especially among the later batches of nurses who will be heading towards the US.

They should instead band together and work out a solution even if a lot of them really haven’t done anything wrong and did not benefit from the leakage. It is such a small price to pay to restore the credibility of the nursing profession that has opened up a lot of opportunities for young people abroad and provided better lives for their families back home.

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Another Lease

Along with Jun, Andy and his girlfriend Zak, I visited Duch’s mom at the Philippine Heart Centre last night. She’s in critical condition and she’s waging a final life-and-death battle, with the dark shadow hovering ever so closely (I know, I get carried away by my hyper-active imagination sometimes).

When the heart rate speeds up and the blood pressure falls down, we couldn’t help but trade worrying glances at each other.

Stepping inside the Heart Centre brings back unpleasant memories for me. This was, after all, the place where, many years ago, I waged my own close combat with the Grim Reaper. Suffering a complication from typhoid, I underwent critical surgery to stem the river of blood oozing from my insides.

It’s amazing how something like this can mobilize people around you. My relatives, colleagues and friends scoured hospitals and blood banks around the metropolis and organized a blood drive. Having a not-so-common blood type, I almost didn’t make it.

Prayers were said, masses offered.

I was given a fighting chance just in the nick of time. In fact, complete strangers showed up to donate blood.

One doctor, I wasn’t even his patient, kept holding my hand in the recovery room. I can’t even remember his name anymore. But that simple gesture lifted my spirits up.

There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind: miracles do happen.

I was given a most precious gift: another lease on life. I am just grateful and happy to be alive. There’s nothing more I can ask for.

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Monday, March 5, 2007

Emotional

In connection with her indecision whether to run for governor in Batangas or not, Vilma Santos this morning delivered a highly-emotional speech in front of her supporters in Lipa City. She talked about, well, being "emotional".

She said she needs more time, a week, to think whether to run against her brother-in-law who is the incumbent Vice Governor because she's still very "emotional".

She clearly knows the position is hers for the taking. Maybe because a dramatic moment like this is a hundred times more effective in bringing in the votes than boring political sorties.

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Saturday, March 3, 2007

Giordano's Chenier

Half a century after her golden years at La Scala, Maria Callas continues to astound the senses. Here’s a highly-wrought performance of Umberto Giordano’s verismo masterpiece, La mamma morta, an aria from the opera Andrea Chenier.

The movie “Philadelphia” starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington, in a poignant scene, used the aria to underscore the searing, dramatic intent of the movie.

Callas’ interpretation remains unparalleled. The recitative opening is full of pathos and grief, when she laments, “I bring misfortune to those who love me,” her voice dramatizes the despair and helplessness of her character’s (Madeleine de Croissy) circumstances.

Despite the turbulent times, Madeleine manages to survive mainly because she falls in love as well (with Andrea Chenier) and this provides her with a source of comfort and strength. This is displayed vocally via a shift to a major key after a brief interlude by a solo cello. The mood changes to one of defiant hope, a crescendo towards a shattering fortissimo.

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Tiesa

One hot afternoon, I walked past my chubby Chinese neighbor's house and I noticed the sun-kissed golden colors of the tiesa fruits hanging like left-over decors hugging one corner of his yard. Apparently, no one, not even the kids in the neighborhood, craved for tiesa: the ripe fruits remain unharvested and a lot of these littered the ground floor that reminds one of... never mind.

Tiesa is an indigenous fruit which I suspect belongs to the mango family. The fruit is shaped like one but the flesh tastes like camote (sweet potato) mixed with chalk and cardboard.

Acting impulsively, I sent Raul a message, "Would you like tiesa for your birthday?"

I got a prompt reply, "No."

Well, why not, I wanted to ask.

Anyway, during his birthday dinner, he kept asking me why I wanted to give him tiesa, when the fruits weren't even mine to begin with, it belonged to my neighbor.

You know what, I do not know as well.

Jun had an interesting theory, "If tiesa were the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, then probably the "original sin" wouldn't have taken place."

We all agreed with him.

"I like tiesa. It tastes like camote," insists Helga, la Capitana.

Are you serious, I wanted to tell her, "Then I'll give you a bagful of tiesa", I offered.

All these talk about tiesa made us want to look for a suitable dessert to cap the evening, and so we headed for Coffee Bean and I ordered double vanilla latte to erase any thoughts associated with tiesa.

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Thursday, March 1, 2007

When Paranoia Takes Over

Equity markets all over the world plunged yesterday after a sell-off in Shanghai and Shenzen triggered a massive drop in Wall Street not seen since the 9-11 attacks, reverberating across the world, including the PSEi. New York fell 3.3% after an almost 9% nosedive in China. PSEi dropped 8%.

A fully-globalized world economy is out in full display here as relatively small, emerging but highly speculative Chinese equity markets made its impact in the world's biggest stock market, New York.

What happened was really a case of investor nervousness borne out of paranoia typical of people who have no clear grasp of investment fundamentals. The Chinese markets were up for a correction anyway, mainly because the high prices were driven by speculation, back-door deals and illegal trades, to begin with. Shanghai and Shenzen exchanges, in fact have more in common with Macau and Las Vegas casinos than with Dow Jones or the Nikkei.

There is no denying that China currently drives much of the global growth. In fact, prices of oil, steel, durable goods and equipment owe their current levels to China's insatiable appetite to fuel its rapidly industrializing economy. And so, when Chinese authorities announced a clamp down on highly-corrupt and suspect trading practices at both exchanges, naturally, market punters got nervous and fled the market.

Overseas markets, especially the US where a lot of companies now have huge exposure in China, misread what transpired in Shanghai and took this to mean that the Chinese economy might be heading southwards soon.

It came at a really bad time when unimpressive US housing statistics and the bombing in Afghanistan near where Dick Cheney was billeted added to the panic. It progressed to a frenzied pessimism when a seemingly innocuous statement made by former US Federal Reserve chairman Greenspan about a possible recession in the future was taken out of context.

Here in Manila, since foreign funds dominate equities, investors took their cue from New York. Consequently, PSEi suffered a massive setback as well.

But I believe Philippine corporates do have sound fundamentals to back it up. A low interest rate-low inflation-strong peso-narrow budget deficit scenario bodes well for this country. Let's just hope the politicians won't mess this up.

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