The welfare of one person should not take priority over the needs of so many.

Before anything else, here are websites listing how people could help flood victims of Sendong:

Philippine Red Cross: Emergency Alert: Tropical Storm Sendong
Here’s To Life!: How to help victims of Tropical Storm Sendong

Aerial view of damages caused by flash floods brought by Tropical Storm Sendong in Cagayan De Oro. Image Credit: REUTERS/Stringer
Aerial view of damages caused by flash floods brought by Tropical Storm Sendong in Cagayan De Oro. Image Credit: REUTERS/Stringer

After President Aquino created a controversy for supposedly partying after in the aftermath of Sendong, this story about his youngest sister, Kris, is currently spreading around Facebook and was also quoted in Pinoyexchange (one needs to select and highlight the “hidden” text):

A friend of mine who’s volunteering at ABS-CBN right now texted me. She said they were already at Consolacion to distribute the relief goods to the people, the people were already lining up, when suddenly they rerouted and went back to Balulang. The reason? Kris Aquino is there and they have to fetch her and go back to Consolacion so that she can also help.

Imagine the faces of the people already waiting for the releif goods; All hungry and thirsty and still covered in mud and they all needed fresh clothes to change into…They were shocked to see the ABS-CBN trucks leaving. All they can do is watch and wait for them to come back again. That’s what my friend witnessed just a while ago.

It’s disgusting how Kris Aquino had to be given more importance over the flood victims who desperately needed help. Was is really necessary for all the trucks to leave in order to fetch one person? Couldn’t the ABS-CBN crew begin their relief program and just let Kris just join them when she arrives?

I don’t know whose decision it was to temporarily stop the relief program (to be fair to Kris, I am not assuming it was she who asked for the trucks to fetch her), and I am not belittling ABS-CBN’s efforts to help the flood victims. But an incident like this seems to show misplaced priority on the welfare of one celebrity over those of hundreds of people who truly needed help.

Tropical Storm Washi (Sendong) kills hundreds in the Philippines
PNoy’s ‘partying’ in Sendong aftermath sparks debate on propriety
Valerie draws flak for partying with PNoy during Sendong
Aquino sisters defend PNoy on ‘party’ issue

Imelda pwns Pnoy, and Jesus with a penis.

It seems Imelda could do something Pnoy couldn’t: shut down a “blasphemous” exhibit at the CCP:

Meet our new Philippine President: Her Excellency, Madame Imelda Marcos
By Raïssa Robles

When Imelda Marcos went to the Cultural Center of the Philippines and asked it to shut down an art exhibit, it promptly did.

When presidential spokesman Ed Lacierda was asked what the Office of the President intended to do with the same art exhibit, he washed President Benigno Aquino’s hands for him and said: “I think we should not be involved in a matter that is purely a decision made by CCP and this is about art.”

Whether the President likes it or not, he is involved because the CCP is directly under him. That’s what the CCP website says.

But this is just in. According to radio station DZMM, President Aquino has reacted negatively to the exhibit. He said it was insulting and that freedom is not absolute.

PNoy said this after Imelda Marcos had stepped in and wielded presidential power for him. I don’t know if he ordered the exhibit to be closed as well. In any case, Imelda Marcos beat him to it.

It’s an amusing incident, and the quoted Imelda Marcos soundbite was classic Imelda:

After seeing the exhibit I was really shocked because it was not only ugly, it was not true, it was not at all beautiful because there were statues and pictures of saints and Christ with horns and with his penis up and it was really a desecration of a spiritual symbol for Catholics.

But I agree with Raïssa Robles’ concern about how CCP seems to take Imelda Marcos’ opinion on what art is to be the standard to judge the merit of an artwork.

I’ve heard about the controversial CCP exhibit (titled “Kulo”, with Mideo Cruz’ “Poleteismo” as the piece causing so much furor) the round-about way: colleagues talking about how they heard it in the news, with me not really bother to see it myself. The typical reaction people have is outrage and indignation over the apparent “blasphemous” treatment of religious symbols.

One time, my manager greeted me on the floor and asked me if I hear about it. I shrugged in agreement. She said something like how it was offensive, implying that the work went beyond what is covered by artistic license.

I couldn’t agree with my manager, though. Art as a form of expression is not meant only to please its observer. Nor does it require to follow consensus or approval. It might be truer to say that art is meant to elicit reaction; whether it is a positive or negative reaction is beside the point.

That is not to say that we should abandon notions of good or bad art. Everyone is free to criticize the merits of an artwork, such as on the basis of technique or context or relevance. But that also means everyone should be given the right to view an artwork should they wish to.

The removal of the CCP exhibit purely because it offends some people’s religious sensibilities was censorship. This country has always believed censorship to a way to protect the minds of its people against corrupting influence.

Raïssa Robles went on to point out how reactions from various personalities over that exhibit was a display of religious fundamentalism. And I could see her point. I may not use that word myself since I think the reaction was a knee-jerk protectiveness over what we think is our religious pride (how ironic), but it might as well be the same thing.

It’s the same way we Filipinos violently react over some foreigner making an apparently racist remark against us while ignoring the casual racism we ourselves practice. We really are a country of narrow-minded jerks sometimes.

I’ve now seen photos of the “Poleteismo” online. Really, I’ve seen worse.

More links from the Interwebs:
Meet our new Philippine President: Her Excellency, Madame Imelda Marcos
Official CCP Statement on Closure of ‘Kulo’ Art Exhibit
Mideo Cruz’ “Poleteismo”: When Art is Condemned

Interwebs chismis: Random links from Google+.

Despite the issues that have been coming out of Google+ as of late (such as the mandatory banning of NSFW material and its insistence on using one’s “real” name), I’ve been enjoying checking my G+ feed.

It’s true that part of it was because other blogs and social networks is no longer accessible at work (not that I’d make too much of an issue about that).

It’s also true that, so far, my general Stream is not yet populated by inane posts from games, Foursquare, or one/two-word status updates from people telling the world they’re bored or busy, or what day of the week it is.

And once the throng from Facebook start invading Google+, I could still easily shove them away by placing them in an appropriate “Not Worth Reading” Circle.

Here are two interesting links recently shared by friends:

The University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication issued a statement to President Aquino on the first year of his presidency:

End Human Rights Violations; Stop the Killing of Journalists!

‘Mr. Aquino was elected on a promise to end poverty by ending corruption. But in the first months of his term he also pledged an end to human rights violations and the killing of journalists, while assuring the press community that, unlike his predecessor, he would defend press freedom rather than undermine it.

‘But a scant month and a half in office, in August 2010, in apparent ignorance of the self-regulatory regime in the media, Mr. Aquino threatened to file criminal charges against some of the journalists who were in violation of the ethics of their profession during the coverage of the August 23 hostage taking incident, while refusing to take any action against his friends in government who were primarily responsible for its bloody conclusion. In the ensuing months Mr. Aquino kept up his criticism of the press, accusing them at one point of irresponsible behavior, while, in a call reminiscent of Joseph Estrada, he urged the business community to advertise only in “responsible” media organizations.’

Last night at the apartment, Leo suddenly said, “Today is Aquino’s State of the Nation Address, no?”

I was answering Bern’s text message while facing Markee, who was watching a DVD in Leo’s laptop. Both of us looked at each other after three beats and answered Leo: “So?”

I’m ashamed to say we’ve become politically apathetic.

Fact still remains that the Philippines is currently the third most dangerous country in the world for Journalists. While working in Manila is usually okay; but provincial journalists (who are outside the rather glamorous image of TV news anchors, and are actually working to bring about the news that are ignored or glossed over by the bigger media networks) are always at risk of getting killed by political enemies.

At this point I am abruptly changing my topic.

Tobie shared an entertaining blog post from Joe Mulvey about his attempt to engage a colleague to read comics despite said colleague’s indifference towards the medium:

What do you REALLY know about comics? The Great Debate

JoeMulvey: So I do this kind of online experiment where I get people who don’t read comics, to read comics. I interview them before and after they read the books and see if their perceptions about comics have changed at all. Would you be interested?

Dennis: Hmmmmm. Why?

JoeMulvey: Sorry?

Dennis: Why should I do it?

JoeMulvey: HA! Wow, to be honest, no one’s ever asked me that before.

Dennis: Really?

JoeMulvey: Yeah. I either get a yes or a no. You’re the first one to just ask why. I mean, do you want to hear my pitch for reading comics?

Dennis: Sure.

JoeMulvey: Ok. Well, honestly, comic books and comic book properties are a pretty big resource in other types of media right now. Millions of people are willing to see the movies, watch the TV shows or play the games but they don’t seem willing to give the actual books a chance. Which is why I’m doing this. I don’t know your personal thoughts on comics, but the most common perception I run into when it comes to them is that they’re for kids. Which couldn’t be further from the truth. I often compare comics to television. Where as TV DOES have programming for children, it also has programming for adults. Someone wouldn’t throw on the TV and see Spongebob and then walk away from the TV forever, designating it as a thing just for kids. You realize that that specific bit of programming isn’t for you and you search out one that is. It’s the same for comics. Superman, Richie Rich or the Flash might not be for you but there are a TON of other books out there that are. You just need to find the right channel for yourself. Because right now there is no other entertainment medium that is as innovative, exciting and diverse as what you’ll find in the world of comics. And it’s time people stopped missing out.

Dennis: Ok. I’m interested.

JoeMulvey: So you’ll do it?

Dennis: Well, here’s my thing. I get your point and I’m sure you have your opinions on it, but if comics are this great resource for entertainment and everyones making comics into something else, why is it that I’ve heard of or seen the other things but not even heard of the books? You get my point? How good can they really be?

JoeMulvey: Well they’re obviously good enough resources to make other things off of. But I get your point and that’s the problem. I mean there are tons of movies that I’m sure you’d have no idea were based on comics. A History of Violence and Road to Perdition. Hell, The Dark Knight is one of the highest grossing films of all time and Heath Ledger won an Oscar. The material can’t be completely for kids.

Dennis: Yeah but that’s exactly what I mean, in other mediums it can work, maybe just not comics.

JoeMulvey: Yeah but you’re saying maybe, because you haven’t read the books and seen the quality of storytelling that they have. That’s why we could have this discussion before and after you read the books, IF you do the interview.

Dennis: I just find it really hard to believe any great medium is completely hidden or some great secret treasure. If comics were as good as you think they are, more people would know about them. No?

I agree with the commenters that Dennis made some valid points (so he wasn’t being a complete douche; at least, initially). But there’s really no hope of winning over someone who had already made up their mind about something.

If I could have my way about it, I will likely end up spending the entire day online, reading. But mundane existence beckons (and I never forget to count myself lucky how I could talk about stuff I read in the Interwebs because that in itself is a privilege available only to maybe 20% of the world’s population).

My tummy is growling. It’s time for breakfast.