Sunday, May 11, 2008

UN to Burma: Open up now!

I miss blogging here.  Anyway, let me repost this report from

UN says, million cyclone survivors still without aid

BANGKOK : At least one million survivors remain without aid more than a week after a deadly cyclone ripped through Myanmar, the UN said Saturday, with emergency supply shipments still held up by the country.

Aid officials say time is running out for thousands of people in the southwest delta who are desperately waiting for food, drinking water and medicine, and that the government is not acting quickly enough.

Fast Facts

High-energy biscuits that could feed 95,000 people are stuck in Yangon airport, while few visas have been given to increasingly frustrated aid workers, said Richard Horsey, spokesman for the UN's emergency relief arm.

"Approaching half a million beneficiaries have been reached (by UN agencies), but that's of between 1.5 to 2.0 million we've now estimated as severely affected," he said.

"At this stage we've only reached a quarter of people with any form of relief goods," he said, calling that "clearly way too slow".

State media said 60,000 people were killed or left missing when Cyclone Nargis ripped through the country's southwest last weekend, while foreign officials estimate the death toll at closer to 100,000.

UN officials have said they fear that toll could climb if the people in need of help are not reached soon, especially with more bad weather approaching.

"With major rainfall predicted, starting over the weekend, this is a very grave concern," said Horsey. "It's a race against time."

The World Food Programme (WFP) said Saturday that two planeloads of emergency food remained impounded by customs at Yangon airport, nearly 36 hours after the biscuits arrived in Yangon.

"My understanding is that it has not yet been released into our hands, but we are working around the clock to get access," said Marcus Prior, a Bangkok-based spokesman for WFP.

The junta has said they will accept money and aid, but want to distribute all the aid themselves, despite the country's woeful infrastructure.

Prior said that two more relief flights coordinated by WFP were due to land in Yangon on Saturday, and they were still negotiating with the government to ensure they could monitor the distribution of food, shelter and medicine.

"It is frustrating but that doesn't mean we're going to throw up our hands and give up. To the contrary, we're going to work harder," Prior said.

The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR sent a convoy of aid trucks over the Thai-Myanmar border Saturday, which is expected to reach Yangon in two days, where it will be handed over to the government.

"We're hoping that the authorities will keep their word and give us access to monitor the distribution of these materials," Vivian Tan, a UNHCR spokeswoman, told AFP in the border town of Mae Sot.

UN children's agency UNICEF had three million water purification tablets arrive on a Thai Airways flight on Friday, but it was unclear if this much-needed supply had yet left Yangon airport.

Shantha Bloemen, UNICEF spokeswoman in Bangkok, said only that the supplies were going through "normal channels".

"I think it usually takes a day or two ... The government has not changed their procedures," she said.

"We need to get this working like a normal relief operation."

A charter plane carrying food, shelter and medicine for medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) was also due to land Saturday.

"We have permission from them (the government) to land. Then we need to see what will happen," said MSF spokeswoman Veronique Terrasse.

MSF also has about 25 staff on stand-by around the world to help the relief effort in Myanmar, with no indication yet on whether visas would be granted -- a common situation for most aid agencies, Horsey said.

"We're dealing with lots of bureaucracy, we're dealing with a lot of red tape, and possibly we're dealing with an environment where the authorities aren't fully open to a relief effort of this kind," Horsey told AFP.

"That's very frustrating -- it's hampering the relief effort."


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

see my latest baby

since world domination is still one of my end goals, i've put up another blog site.

as i am still trying to figure out how to use wordpress (anyone who can give me the book wordpress for dummies gets a kiss), don't expect the blogsite to be as fab as BB's. but i will get there, just give me time.

for now, i'm taking baby steps.

check out:

tales of an incurable mall rat lost in the cutthroat world of the urban jungle

and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Thursday, March 27, 2008

art imitating life

i just finished the second draft of that blasted paper on public procurement. yes, yes, my nose bled trying to explain why despite the GPRA, procurement philippine style, remains dysfunctional aside from being supply driven.

i've got one more paper to check, then i'm off to computing the grades, accomplishing the gazillion blank forms (i never thought i'd do admin work as faculty in charge) and finally-- updating my public policy knowledge.

shocks, my life is boring me out of wits.

i went through my desk drawer at lunch time and found my latest murakami purchase. not louis vuitton murakami-- please! i'm talking of haruki murakami.

i've only gotten as far as the 1st chapter after i bought it at the national bookstore sale last month. i've got five more books from that sale. all remain unread. geez...

the book is south of the border, west of the sun.

i bought this book right away when i read the back cover:

growing up in the suburbs in post war japan, it seemed to hajime that everyone but him had brothers and sisters. his sole companion was shimamoto, also an only child. together they spent long afternoons listening to her father's record collection. but when his family moved away, the two lost touch. now hajime is in his 30s. after a decade of drifting he has found happiness with his loving wife and two daughters, and success running a jazz bar. then shimamoto reappears. she is beautiful, intense and enveloped in mytery. hajime is catapulted into the past, putting at risk all he has in the present.

it sounded good. now that i read the back over again, i am reminded of love in a time of cholera also by my one of my favorite authors, gabriel garcia marquez.

a synopsis i found summarized the book as follows:

In the late 1800s, in a Caribbean port city, a young telegraph operator named Florentino Ariza falls deliriously in love with Fermina Daza, a beautiful student. She is so sheltered that they carry on their romance secretly, through letters and telegrams. When Fermina Daza's father finds out about her suitor, he sends her on a trip intended to make her forget the affair. Lorenza Daza has much higher ambitions for his daughter than the humble Florentino. Her grief at being torn away from her lover is profound, but when she returns she breaks off the relationship, calling everything that has happened between them an illusion.

Instead, she marries the elegant, cultured, and successful Dr. Juvenal Urbino. As his wife, she will think of herself as "the happiest woman in the world." Though devastated by her rejection, Florentino Ariza is not one to be deterred. He has declared his eternal love for Fermina, and determines to gain the fame and fortune he needs to win her back. When Fermina's husband at last dies, 51 years, 9 months, and 4 days later, Florentino Ariza approaches Fermina again at her husband's funeral. There have been hundreds of other affairs, but none of these women have captured his heart as Fermina did. "He is ugly and sad," says one of his lovers, "but he is all love."

In this magnificent story of a romance, Garcia Marquez beautifully and unflinchingly explores the nature of love in all its guises, small and large, passionate and serene. Love can emerge like a disease in these characters, but it can also outlast bleak
decades of war and cholera, and the effects of time itself.

ah, the fiction, the story plots that i choose. just what do they say about me?

now if only i'll finish reading them.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

off the top of my head

considering that i was on the verge of running amuck since the start of the month, err year, i should've blogged my guts out over the easter holiday. you see, writing, like shopping is very therapeutic.
instead, i went on penitensya and got down and dirty checking my students' final papers. some papers were very good-- but sadly, there were some which seemed like the kind of paper janina san miguel would submit.

i've got seven more papers of my students to check, and then i'm off to vacation holiday.

err... not quite. i have to update what i know about public policy. read, read, read. revise my course guide. my reading list. think of new ways to make teaching and learning public policy via distance mode "fun."

now if only being an academic would come easy for me. the way spinning is. or shopping is. or being a pain in the a** is.

i can't believe i'm coming up with a whine post after easter.
the news in the past few days are disturbing me big time. number one on the list of what's bothering me is the rice shortage. (it worries me because i love eating rice and i get groucy if i don't eat rice in a day.)
as usual, GMA and her men are quick to deny that there is actually a rice shortage, saying that the price will increase slightly, but there will be enough supply.
long story short, the shortage is confined only to those who won't be able to afford the high cost. sad naman. i was reading police reports the other day and was a bit bothered (again) by an incident wherein a 47 year old man was mauled to death by his fellow scavenger after the latter got irked when the victim tried to get his leftover rice.
next to losing, i think hunger is the worst human experience.
second thing, former president cory aquino's colon cancer. my lolo died of colon cancer. it's sad, it's scary and it leaves me wondering why the brightest minds have not discovered something-- like a vaccine that can be administered to kids so they'll be cancer proof when they grow up.
here's the inquirer today.

let's pray for some good news.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

client 9--- OUT!

scandals seem to be in vogue these days. gaad-- life has become so boring-- we resort to politics and scandals for enterntainment.

"Over the course of my public life I have insisted people take responsibility for their conduct. I can and will ask no less of myself. For this reason I am resigning as governor," said nueva york governor Eliot Spitzer who will step down on Monday to "atone for his private failings."

client 9-- eliot spitzer

the 1st term democrat governor who gained national prominence relentlessly pursuing Wall Street anomalies resigned amid allegations that he used an exclusive prostitution ring at least eight times in eight months.

now i wonder-- how come it's easier for politicians in other countries to resign--even before they were proven guilty? no need for rallies, no picketing in front of their houses, no all out media war that leaves spectators sick.

i also wonder how wives of shamed politicians can actually stand behind them amidst all the scandal. i hate to be in mrs. spitzer's shoes (yes, even if it's a pair of prada).

gov. and mrs. spitzer

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

ooops! she did it again! malu fernandez redux

uh-oh. who let the (fill in the blank) _______________ out again?

so after her major faux pas last year, the pierce and phavulous (as janina san miguel would say it) malu fernandez is sooo back on the blogging radar. (well actually, with her size and "acerbic wit," [harhar] she's hard to miss.)

malu, malu, malu.

just when we (the blogging and OFW community) thought we've put you out of business-- you managed to crawl back from the muddy pen and into the papers with your-- what should we call that-- pathetic excuse for a column(?) writing(?) preaching (?) acerbic wit (?).

do yourself a favor.
write na lang about the night life in afghanistan. the fashion week in darfur. wining and dining in somalia. weekend shopping in mogadishu.
we just MIGHT start to like you if you do.

(ps: i blog because writing is therapeutic. and no, i am not hiding under anonimity.)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

speechless-- wasabi har.har.

my life is boring myself to tears.

my ADHD is in full throttle.

and i've been stuffing myself silly with


coke zero...

and wasabi flavored potato chips.

i'm addicted to wasabi. argh.

need to focus.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

go pinay american idol!

after what happened to marc and rovilson at the 2nd season of the amazing race asia, i'm not sure if i should still do this.

baka ma jinx.

but then, whatever.

so please, tune in to american idol and vote for ramielle malubay.

she's pinay and she's fab.



how do you spell vindicated?


c-l-e-a-n. s-w-e-e-p

good job convenors, members and slate.

swerte ng NCPAG, may PALS.

go NCPAG SC 2008-2009! make us proud.