Monday, April 29, 2019

Dirtier in the last two weeks

“The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.”
--John F. Kennedy

By Alex P. Vidal

-- MORE dirty stories are expected to come out against some candidates in the last two weeks before the May 13, 2019 elections.
Either some of these stories have been exaggerated and doctored, or have been intentionally invented with a purpose of destroying the reputations of those leading in the surveys.
This is where the ugliest and the most lurid phase in the Philippine elections will play center stage.
It is part of the last-minute blitzkrieg marshaled by propaganda experts whose job description is to condition the voters’ mind and sow confusion in favor of their client-candidates.
The squid tactic has been proven to be effective especially in the races for governor, mayor, congress where the rivalries are neck and neck.


There will be “flash reports” about certain candidates who are “withdrawing from the race for personal reasons” or have been “rushed to the hospital in serious condition.”
Or candidates who “have been arrested for a pending case not related to the election”; and candidates who “have been disqualified”, etcetera.
These confusing and shocking reports are usually released in the eleventh hour in order to send shock waves to the rivals who may not have enough time to belie or counter the canard.
Although the black propaganda’s authenticity can be verified soon, its damage will be felt belatedly during the election day.
Let’s wait and see.


Self-centeredness inhibits our love for others, and we are all afflicted by it to one degree or another. For true happiness to come about, we need a calm mind, and such peace of mind is brought about only by a compassionate attitude, according to How to develop compassion, The Compassionate Life…Millions of people today know of Nebuchadnezzar, and have never heard of Pericles, simply because Nebuchadnezzar is mentioned prominently in the Bible and Pericles, the father of Athens, is never mentioned at all…STRESS CAN DESTROY OUR SKIN. A continual menu of stress causes the skin to become sensitive and prone to breakouts. Regular exercise and mediation will help diffuse its effects. Lying on a bed with our head hanging down off the side is a super destresser…SMOKING makes us grow older. Early wrinkling occurs due to reduced levels of the oxygen needed to keep skin healthy. Smoking is the prime source of oxygen deprivation. If a smoker is in the process of quitting, he or she must drink lots of water.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

Friday, April 26, 2019

'Matrix' and 'Yellow Journalism'

“We don't go into journalism to be popular. It is our job to seek the truth and put constant pressure on our leaders until we get answers.”
--Helen Thomas

By Alex P. Vidal

-- We can compare both resigned The Manila Times associate editor Felipe “Ipe” Salvosa II to the brave American journalist Richard Harding Davis and Times publisher Dante Ang to Davis’ former boss, William Randolph Hearst, the alleged “father” of “Yellow Journalism” and publisher of the pre-World War I New York Journal.
Like Salvosa II, who resigned on April 24, 2019 two days after Ang insisted on publishing a story linking media organizations to an ouster plot against President Rodrigo Duterte, Davis, the the first American war correspondent to cover the Spanish–American War, the Second Boer War, and the First World War, resigned after his story about the Spanish police boarding an American ship and “stripped the three Cuban women passengers in a search for the documents” was paraded as headline story in the New York Journal dated February 12, 1897.
“I want to be able to teach and still look my students straight in the eye,” Salvosa told Rappler on April 25.


Salvosa tendered his resignation after Ang, Times owner and chairman emeritus, fumed over his Twitter post questioning Ang’s “matrix” story that identified the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), Vera Files, Rappler, and the National Union of People's Lawyers (NUPL) as being involved in a plot to oust Duterte.
Davis was 32 when Hearst sent him to Havana to cover the conflict there between Spanish authorities and Cuban insurgents in December 1896.
Already a popular culture hero through his reporting, his fiction, and his stylish manner, Davis was offered by Hearst $3,000 for a month of reporting from Cuba, according to Michael Schudson in his book, Discovering the News.
Hearst, by the way, also sent Frederic Remington, a 35-year-old artist, to accompany Davis.
Because Davis and Remington were barred from the “war zone” by Spanish military authorities along with other reporters, news was hard to get.
“Rumors and minor incidents were generally the best the correspondents had to offer,” wrote Schudson.
Discouraged, Remington wired Hearst: “Everything is quiet. There is no trouble here. There will be no war. Wish to return.”
Hearst responded, “Please remain. You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.”
Remington left Cuba after a week despite such encouragement.


Davis stayed in Cuba and wired the controversial story on February 10, 1897 that the Spanish police, on board the US ship, claimed that the Cuban women were carrying messages to insurgents leaders in New York when stripped.
The Journal placed the story on front page under the headline: “Does Our Flag Protect Women? Indignities Practiced By Spanish Officials on Board American vessels. Richard Harding Davis Describes Some Startling Phases of Cuban Situation. Refined Young Women Stripped and Search by Brutal Spaniards While Under Our Flag on the Olivette.”
Accompanying the story on page two was a two by a half-page drawing by Remington imagining the scene from New York, showing one of the women naked and surrounded by Spanish officers going through her clothing.
Nearly a half million copies of the paper were sold and it was a good stuff for Hearst’s purpose of building a circulation.
But the story was not quite true.
The drawing, in particular, was not accurate.


Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World, the leading paper in New York in 1897, interviewed the Cuban women when they arrived in Tampa and discovered they had been searched by matrons, not by the Spanish officers.
The New York World immediately ran a front-page story that one of the Cuban women, Clemencia Arango, denied being searched by Spanish officers.
The article “popped the (New York) Journal’s balloon of scandal and outrage,” according to Discovering the News. “Richard Harding Davis considered the revelation a reflection of his integrity, and so he wrote to the (New York) World to defend himself.”
Pulitzer’s newspaper featured on page two a story headlined, “Mr. Davis explains” on February 17, 1897 where Davis argued that not he but Remington was responsible for any misrepresentations.


“I never wrote that she was searched by men…Mr. Frederic Remington, who was not present, and who drew an imaginary picture of the scene, is responsible for the idea that the search was conducted by men. Had I seen the picture before it appeared, I should never have allowed it to accompany my article…”
Davis broke with Hearst over this incident and never again wrote for a Hearst paper.
“This was an important moment in journalism, but its importance needs to be carefully defined. On the surface, it appears that the significance of the incident is that a reporter, proud of his professional standing and faithful to the norms of factual reporting, stood up to the evil influences of a circulation-building editor-publisher,” Schudson wrote in Discovering the News.
“Here, fidelity to facts is identified with reporters and threats to accuracy, with publishers, their eyes on the cash box.”


The Spanish-American War, was the first press-driven war, according to many historians.
“Although it may be an exaggeration to claim that Hearst and the other yellow journalists started the war, it is fair to say that the press fueled the public's passion for war. Without sensational headlines and stories about Cuban affairs, the mood for Cuban intervention may have been very different. At the dawn of the twentieth century, the United States emerged as a world power, and the U.S. press proved its influence,”stressed the PBS Learning Media.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Ilonggo journalists aren’t the enemies

“Journalism is what we need to make democracy work.”
--Walter Cronkite

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- I AM a Filipino community journalist and not an enemy of the state.
I belong in the so-called Fourth Estate, the chief vanguard of democracy that serves as the catalyst of change and watchdog of the government’s three major ribs: the Executive (First Estate), the Legislative (Second Estate), and the Judiciary (Third Estate).
I believe that the alleged “Oust Duterte” matrix supposedly plotted by some journalists and human rights lawyers is not only a dud but also a hoax.
It does not exist in reality and is only a figment of imagination.
It is meant to shift public attention from the bigger national issues and scandals and to scare those who are critical against the Duterte Government.
It was intentionally coined by spin masters and members of the Palace “think tank” to cushion the impact of media flak especially if the criticism has become effective and has influenced public perception about how the government is being managed and ruled.
By using logic and common sense, the jobs of journalists and lawyers are apolitical by nature and, unlike the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the Muslim separatist groups, ousting a sitting president does not and will not benefit them.
This is not new actually.


We experienced the same hara kiri or “belly cutting” threat from the previous administrations, which all failed to bring us down and even backfired.
In 1991, the Cory administration, which could not handle the intense media criticism against her “Kamaganak, Inc.” believed to be siphoning the taxpayers’ money through iniquitous means, and the spiraling cases of human rights violations, fired back at the press by letting loose a Bulldog named “Oplan Malunggay.”
The “Oplan” tagged several journalists as members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) and, henceforth, were now “enemies of the state.”
Then Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Gerardo “Gerry” Flores (now a congressional candidate in the first district of Iloilo), had served as Tita Cory’s “Gen. Oscar Albayalde,” who recently threatened to “investigate the journalists and the lawyers in the matrix without waiting for an official order from MalacaƱang.”
Flores and his police “witch hunters” had threatened to arrest “the communists” in the press and charge them with sedition.
The “witch hunters” gathered phony dossiers and spied on some journalists listed in the “Oplan” like they were cosmic terrorists on a mission to launch an intergalactic battle.
It had some chilling effects on many of us, in one way or another, since we feared we could be abducted and disappeared any time; but we were unfazed and continued to blast and lampoon Tita Cory’s administration over issues with paramount public interest.
Media killings had started to rear their ugly heads five years after Marcos was toppled in the EDSA Revolution.


The spying and harassment against critical journalists continued subsequently under the FVR, Erap, and Ate Glo administrations even as incidents of media killings had continued to pile up in an alarming rate.
FVR, who was black-eyed in the scandalous multi-billion Amari land deal, used the carrot and stick tactics to ward off humiliation from the expose made by the determined press.
Erap miscalculated and underestimated the power of the press when he engaged it in an unorthodox arm-twisting power play, pressuring advertisers to nix critical newspapers and broadcast networks.
Ate Glo allegedly helped make many critical but corrupt journalists rich by awarding them “lucrative” government positions if not making some of them as “dummies” in some multi-billion anomalies allegedly perpetrated by the First Family and their cronies.
No dictator or aspiring dictator has succeeded in muzzling the press to hide and keep his or her shenanigans under wraps.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

Monday, April 22, 2019

The ‘Ilonggo Bikoy’

“I wasn't aware of it at the time, but I was a big favorite with the Mafia.”
--Brenda Lee

By Alex P. Vidal

-- Some relatives and loved ones of candidates in the May 2019 elections are the ones who are more jittery and restless as the final days approach.
Some of these nervous relatives have sought the help of the social media and other public platforms to appeal and campaign for their beloved candidates especially when they weren’t doing good in the surveys.
In some cases, the worried relatives are the ones initiating the “house-to-house” campaign for their candidates.
Children, parents, cousins, uncles, aunts have joined in the frenzied efforts to woo the voters and convince the public their bets are the Real McCoys in a genuine public service.
This is normal.


Some Filipino family members always want to share the prestige and glory--big or small- achieved by their loved ones in any field.
Even in school and community competitions, we cheer and “pray” for the victory and success of our relatives in the hustings.
When they make it, the pride, joy and satisfaction felt by our victorious relatives reverberate in our hearts; we feel like the honor and reputation of the entire family have been lifted and stimulated.
When they go down, our pride and self-esteem sink; and we also suffer from emotional and mental strains in one way or the other.


Iloilo City has its own “Bikoy” (an anonymous self-confessed former drug syndicate member who recently accused President Duterte’s family of alleged involvement in narco business) who “survived” after he left the syndicate to live in another country.
The Iloilo Bikoy is knowledgeable of the ins and outs of the drug syndicate in Iloilo City.
He was once one of the most trusted by the syndicate’s top echelons because of his profession.
The Bikoy Ilonggo version came to me on several occasions to appeal that I bring him in some of my international trips in the 90’s “to escape the heat in Iloilo City and disappear thereafter.”
He and his family left the country after a former top-ranking official of the defunct Narcom (Narcotics Command) in the region allegedly wanted him dead for being a “rat.”


The Ilonggo Bikoy swore he wasn’t a traitor or a “double agent.”
He surmised it was not the former Narcom big boss who wanted to silence him.
The Ilonggo Bikoy recalled that he “earned the ire of (former) Metrodistrict Command Col. Vic Neptuno after a big fish had slipped away in a dawn raid conducted in the house of a drug trafficker in Jaro district.”
The Ilonggo Bikoy and the drug trafficker who escaped Neptuno’s dragnet were classmates in high school.
Two cops working under Neptuno had pointed to the Ilonggo Bikoy as the one who allegedly tipped off the drug trafficker.
“Nakakarami na siya. Sakit na siya sa ulo (he has been a headache to our operations),” Neptuno was reportedly angrily heard complaining.
Meanwhile, the former Narcom official, who spent several months in jail for his involvement in illegal drugs, once came to our editorial office in Sun Star Iloilo dressed like a priest.
Like the Greeks in the Trojan War, he was carrying a gift for our lady reporter who had no idea about the Narcom official’s dark secrets.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

Sunday, April 21, 2019

'Iloilo City cleaner than New York City’s Queens’

“I come from a poor family, I have seen poverty. The poor need respect, and it begins with cleanliness.”
--Narendra Modi

By Alex P. Vidal

-- A Filipino-American vacationer from New York City has agreed with Philippine Supreme Court Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin that “Iloilo City now looks like Singapore in terms of cleanliness and orderliness.”
Rommel Leal, 48, who lives in Jamaica in New York City, said he wanted to see for himself if Bersamin’s observations about Iloilo City were true, thus “surveyed” the City of Love when he went home for a week-long vacation first week of April this year.
Bersamin and his wife were reportedly impressed by the city’s cleanliness, including the Iloilo River, when they visited Iloilo City during the 17th National Convention of Lawyers held at the Iloilo Convention Center from March 28-31, 2019.
“In fact, Iloilo City is cleaner than the Queens (a borough in New York City),” said Leal, who grew up in Lambunao, Iloilo.

Queens is known for the JFK and LaGuardia, the two important New York City airports. It is also known for the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, a remnant of the 1964 World's Fair. Nearby are CitiField (home of the Mets) and the Arthur Ashe Stadium, home to the US Open Tennis tournament.
“Every morning, I saw a lot of street sweepers combing the highways, especially in the Iloilo Business Park and in the Diversion Road,” observed Leal.


Leal hailed the local government’s efforts to maintain cleanliness and orderliness in Iloilo City even as he noted “an apparent increase in the number of tourist arrival” during his short visit.
Leal had intended to spend only his time in Boracay in Malay, Aklan in his recent vacation, but decided to travel in other parts of Panay on his way to Iloilo City “to find out if there were any physical progress and development outside Metro Manila.”
“I became curious when Chief Justice Bersamin praised Iloilo City and compared it to Singapore,” he said. “From Boracay I traveled to Iloilo City and passed by Antique and Capiz.”
Leal said he noticed that Roxas City had a “poor and undeveloped highways including the Passi City roads while progress was seen in the roads in Antique and in the municipalities of San Joaquin and Guimbal in the first district of Iloilo.”


He also credited the Duterte administration for the progress in Mactan International Airport where he arrived from the US on his way to Boracay.
Leal said he surmised that because of the many infrastructure projects that are visible all over the country undertaken under the present administration, “people might ignore the issues about the president family’s alleged involvement in the narco business as alleged by a certain video maker Bikoy.”
Because of what he saw, Leal vowed to encourage other US-based Filipinos to visit Iloilo City and Panay Island “so they can also witness for themselves how tourism there has developed by leaps and bounds.”
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Our sex-object trap

“Men sometimes are masters of their fates; The fault dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings." 

By Alex P. Vidal

-- Dr. Warren Farrell referred to the socialization of men and women as it exists when he postulates something as “masculine” or “feminine.”
At an early age, Farrell points out in the Liberated Man, boys see model of men who seek material success, physical and psychological strength, leadership invulnerability; who suppress their fear, control their emotions; who are pragmatic, know all the answers, never seek help, are tough and independent; who have a substantial degree of power, ambition, and physical and sexual aggression; who have control in sexual relations, make decisions, can get what they want when they want it; who generally want to be on top, be a protector, earn more than—and in general be better than (preferably a man; if not, then a woman).
“The woman’s socialization encourages domesticity, nurturance, dependency, modesty, coyness, deviousness, warmth, emotionality, illogicality, the ability to be sensually and sexually arousing (while simultaneously properly inhibited and submissive), fearfulness, the need for protection, tenderness, fragility, displays of affection and ‘sugar and spice and everything nice’ (meaning: something extra to be added to the real substance). The traits are off limits to the mail,” explains Farrell.
Perhaps Dan Wakefield best describes in his novel Going All the Way. “You have to have confidence, a little swagger but not in a boastful way, an easiness, a style, an air of casual good nature, of leadership than wasn’t sought but seemed to come natural. You couldn’t pin it down but you could see it in a person.”


Men often ask “What’s wrong with appreciating a woman who’s physically attractive? After all, that’s the first thing you see, isn’t it?” In context, nothing is wrong, but as Farrel’s man in the consciousness group, Lewis, discovered, “the first thing you see” led him into what might be called a sex-object trap:
“I got to the party after not having sex for weeks. My girl and I broke up two weeks before. So I looked over all the girls in the party. One was really a turn-on, but I didn’t think she would be attracted to me. Besides, this lawyer fellow seemed to be putting the make on her. I didn’t want to hack the competition. But there was another chick, err, girl, who was almost as attractive, so I decided to see if I could get her—I mean, have a relationship—ya know what I mean.”
“Well, I got up the nerve to approach her—see if he wanted to drink, or something. I spent most of the evening on her—err, with her. When it got later, she made up some excuse about having to get to bed early because she had to get up early—but I wasn’t included in her bedroom plans that night. It took another couple of outings.
“The problem is, I like her physically and all, and she’s interested in what I have to say, but I always find I’m having trouble to bring her up to my intellectual level—I kind of like that for an evening, but I want a more liberated long-term relationship. I’ve really been looking, but it’s a problem. I guess I’ll break up with her if she doesn’t change. But it’s always a hassle to have to go back out and find someone else. I’ve sort of got an investment in her now, you know?”


Farrell explains that Lewis chose a woman primarily on the basis of physical appearance and expected mental compatibility. While he would not have pursued a relationship with a “dumb broad,” he would have found it much easier to find someone compatible in terms of mental vibrations and warmth had his focus been on that from the outset and on appearance secondarily.
By focusing on the physical the rest only came by coincidence. We eventually started referring to this as the first stage of “the sex-object trap,” says Farrell who found out that often our assumptions that we were bringing the woman up to our level only meant that we were evaluating her from our area of topic security—bringing her to our functions with our friends discussing topics with which we were familiar.
The sex-object trap becomes greater if a man’s investment in a woman is greater and if she finds him attractive, says Farrell. Then he really feels trapped, looking for a graceful way to back out. His resentment increases the longer he plays the game, eventually becoming deep; at that point he usually gets out, but not without a mark on him and his feelings toward women.
He is determined not to make the same mistake again, but he doesn’t know how he made the mistake. Now he knows only that the last weeks of the relationship were without sex. He’s hungry for sex. So once again he looks for a beautiful woman. He goes to a party, sees one who’s a turn-on, and it starts all over again.


While the resentment occurring from finding oneself trapped with an incompatible woman may lead to contempt if his “investment” in her is great, a small investment can lead to a different type of contempt. A woman (a “chick”) who does initiate physical contact or goes to bed the first night still has unspoken (or spoken) aspersions cast upon her. She is suspected of being just a sloppy two-bit whore, an oversexed, insatiable bitch, a nymphomaniac. She is the subject of myths such as “a woman who goes to bed a lot gets a big sloppy cunt.” As Germaine Greer puts it, “The best thing a cunt can be is small and unobtrusive; the anxiety about the bigness of the penis is only equaled by anxiety about the smallness of the cunt.”
The trapped man’s contempt for women increases, no matter what his investment, and the woman denies her sexuality, risks being termed “a cunt,” objectifies the man for his investment capabilities, or finds herself in all three traps.
The negative connotation in calling a woman “a cunt” also stand in marked contrast to the positive connotations of terming a male a “man with balls”—a man who stands up for his rights. If a guy is “hairy,” he’s smart and conniving, and “Man, what a fucker!” is even more a phrase of inspiration than the military slogan “He came, he saw, he conquered” (unless inverted: he saw, he conquered, he came”).


“At first it may appear that the compulsion a woman feels to keep slim, dye her hair, make weekly trips to a beauty parlor, use a feminine-hygiene deodorant, apply make-up, and shave her legs and underarms is just a way of keeping herself properly maintained,” stresses Farrell. “However, this same woman is often expected to accept a beer-billed man who, in Germaine Greer’s words, sports ‘bad breath, farting, a stubble, baldness, and other ugliness without complaint. Man demands his arrogance to be loved as he is.”
The difference is not absolute--everyone likes everyone to look nice--but a matter of degree. The degree to which slimness and shaved legs and underarms is presumed necessary for a woman and the degree to which it is of little importance of a man in her life, dares not challenge him to “Accept me as I am” or she believes she may find herself rejected.
It may not be an exaggeration to claim that a person who feels he may be rejected if his looks are not maintained may be the object of underlying contempt.

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Friends)

When you're up, your friends know who you are. When you're down, you know who your friends are.

When we become famous and successful, everyone wants to share the limelight and brag that "I know him personally"; “He”s my relative"; “He’s my neighbor"; "He”s my classmate"; “He was my officemate"; “He was my student"; “He is my friend"; etc. When we are hit by a crisis, a scandal, or a misfortune only the bed bugs, lice, newt, and mosquitoes will be proud and have the kindness to "keep in touch" with us.


Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Trust)

Learning to trust is one of life's most difficult tasks.

Many of us are aware we are helping a potential snake but nonetheless ignore the danger and risk of being bitten because by nature, God created us to become really merciful and good. Once we are betrayed, it’s when our faith to remain as Good Samaritan starts to shake.


Monday, April 8, 2019

Clash of our ego and spirit

“The greatest human quest is to know what one must do in order to become a human being.”

By Alex P. Vidal

-- In one of the best metaphors, a dialogue between Ego and Spirit, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, has a very interesting story to share in his book, Your Sacred Self.
Dyer, author or Real Magic and Your Erroneous Zones, described Ego and Spirit in his story as two babies in utero confined to the wall of their mother’s womb, and they are having a conversation.
Spirit says to Ego, “I know you are going to find this difficult to accept, but I truly believe there is life after birth.”
Ego responds, “Don’t be ridiculous. Look around you. This is all there is. Why must you always be thinking about something beyond this reality? Accept your lot in life. Make yourself comfortable and forget about all of this life-after-birth nonsense.”
Spirit quiets down for a while, but her inner voice won’t allow her to remain silent any longer. “Ego, now don’t get mad, but I have something else to say. I also believe that there is a Mother.”


“A Mother!” Ego guffaws. “How can you be so absurd?” You’ve never seen a Mother. Why can’t you accept that this is all there is?” The idea of a Mother is crazy. You are here alone with me. This is your reality. Now grab hold of that cord. Go into your corner and stop being so silly. Trust me, there is no Mother.”
Spirit reluctantly stops her conversation with Ego, but her carelessness soon gets the better of her. “Ego,” she implores, “please listen without rejecting my idea. Somehow I think that those constant pressures we both feel, those movements that make us so uncomfortable sometimes, that continual repositioning and all of that closing in that seems to be taking place as we keep growing, is getting us ready for a place of glowing light, and we will experience it very soon.”
“Now I know you are absolutely insane,” replies Ego. “All you’ve ever known is darkness. You’ve never seen light. How can you even contemplate such an idea?” Those movements and pressures you feel are your reality. You are a distinct separate being.This is your journey. Darkness and pressures and a closed-in feeling are what life is all about. You’ll have to fight it as long as you live. Now grab your cord and please stay still.”


Spirit relaxes for a while, but finally she can contain herself no longer. 
“Ego, I have only one more thing to say and then I’ll never bother you again.”
“Go ahead,” Ego responds, impatiently.
“I believe all of these pressures and all of this discomfort is not only going to bring us to a new celestial light, but when we experience it, we are going to meet Mother face-to-face and know an ecstasy that is beyond anything we have ever experienced up until now.”
“You really are crazy, Spirit. Now I’m truly convinced of it.”
Your Sacred Self is a literal interpretation of the metaphor, which Dyer have adapted from a story told by Henri J.M. Nouwen. 
“It is my attempt to introduce you to that glowing celestial light and to let you know the wonder of having your sacred self triumph over the demands of the eg-self, which wants more than anything to hold you back,” Dyer explained.


He organized the book around the following four understandings:
1. You are sacred, and in order to know it you must transcend the old belief system you’ve adopted.
2. You are a divine being called to know your sacred self by mastering the keys to higher awareness.
3. Your sacred self can triumph over your ego identifies and be the dominant force in your life.
4. You can radiate this awareness beyond your own boundaries and affect everyone on our planet.

Spiritual literacy: A kaleidoscopic view

“Most importantly, the meaning of spirituality lays the seeds for our destiny and the path we must follow.”

By Alex P. Vidal

-- I got fascinated by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat’s “Spiritual Literacy”, a book about reading the sacred in everyday life.
Nancy Burke, of Body and Spirit, exhorts readers to “drink long and slowly from the soulful well that is spiritual literacy–it will sustain you for years to come.”
The authors give us their kaleidoscopic view, full of color and fun, of the wisdom of the ages, including our own.
Thomas Moore, in a foreword, says we need wisdom desperately in a time when information and data have taken the place of insight.
We need opportunities such as the one presented in the book to mediate and reflect, not just to learn and act.
And it doesn’t hurt to discover how many different people of our own time are hard at work sorting through the obstacles so often associated with spiritual endeavors.


The authors consider as “spiritual practices from all traditions . . . the letters to know to read the world spiritually and to spell meaning in daily life.” Below are the alphabets of Spiritual Literacy:
ATTENTION: Pay attention. Stay awake and totally alert. See with receptive eyes and discover a world of ceaseless wonders.
BEAUTY: Walk the path of beauty. Relish and encourage its inward and outward expressions. Acknowledge the radiance of the creation.
BEING PRESENT: Live in the present moment. Don’t obsess about the past or worry about the future. All you need is right here now.
COMPASSION: Open your heart, mind, and soul to the pain and suffering in the world. Reach out to others and discover the rewards and obligations of deep feeling.
CONNECTIONS: Cultivate the art of making connections. See how your life is intimately related to all life on the planet.
DEVOTION: Express your feelings of praise and adoration through devotional practices. Pray with words and pray through your actions.
ENTHUSIASM: Celebrate life with this intoxicating passion. It adds zest to everything and helps build community. Hold nothing back.


FAITH: Recognize and accept that there is another dimension to life than what is obvious to us. Live with obstacles, doubt, and paradox, knowing that God is always present in the world.
FORGIVENESS: In both your private and public lives, discover the sweet release that comes from forgiving others. Feel the healing balm of being forgiven and of forgiving yourself.
GRACE: Accept grace and your world will be larger, deeper, richer, and fuller. Look for its intimations everywhere. Let this seed of the Giver of Life bloom in your words and deeds.
GRATITUDE: Spell out your days with a grammar of gratitude. Be thankful for all the blessings in your life.
HOPE: Let this positive and potent emotion fuel your dreams and support your service of others. Through your attitudes and actions, encourage others never to lose hope.
HOSPITALITY: Practice hospitality in a world where too often strangers are feared, enemies are hated, and the “other” is shunned. Welcome guests and alien ideas with graciousness.
IMAGINATION: Give imagination free rein in your life. Explore its images and ponder its meaning-making moments, and it will always present you with something new to be seen, felt, or made known.
JOY: Rejoice and be exceedingly glad. Find t his divine energy in your daily life and share it with others.


JUSTICE: Seek liberty and justice for all. Work for a free and fair world where oppression and inequality no longer exist.
KINDNESS: Let Spirit flow through you in little acts of kindness, brief words of encouragement, and manifold expressions of courtesy. These deeds will add to the planet’s fund of good will.
LISTENING: Cultivate the art of deep listening in which you lean toward the world in love. All things in the universe want to be heard, as do the many voices inside us.
LOVE: Fall in love over and over again every day. Love your family, your neighbors, your enemies, and yourself. And don’t stop with humans. Love animals, plants, stones, even the galaxies.
MEANING: Constantly try to discover the significance of your experiences. Seek further understandings from sacred texts and spiritual teachers.
NURTURING: Take good care of the best that is within you. Self-exploration and personal growth continue throughout our lifetimes and equip us to tend to the needs of others.
OPENNESS: Hold an open house in your heart for all people and all things. Practice empathy with others and receptiveness toward the universe.


PEACE: Protect the earth’s future by promoting peace every day. Your small steps will link you with others who are combating violence in the world.
PLAY: Be playful. Express your creative spirit in spontaneity. Hurrah the pleasures of being, and let loose your laughter.
QUESTING: Savor questions and thrill to the quest. See your life as a journey that quickens your faith and deepens your soul.
REVERENCE: Practice reverence for life. The sacred is in, with, and under all the things of the world. Respond with appropriate respect and awe.
SHADOW: Give up trying to hide, deny, or escape from your imperfections. Listen to what your demons have to say to you.
SILENCE: Slow down. Be calm. Find a place where you can regularly practice silence. There you will find the resources to revitalize your body, mind, and soul.
TEACHERS: Be willing to learn from the spiritual teachers all around you, however unlikely or unlike you they may be. Always be a sensitive student.
TRANSFORMATION: Welcome the positive changes that are taking place in your life. Open up the windows and let in some fresh air. Wholeness and healing are waiting in the wings.
UNITY: In this age of global spirituality, respect differences but affirm commonalities. Work together with those who are trying to make the world a better place.
VISION: Practice the art of seeing the invisible. Use the wisdom of your personal visions to renew yourself and your community.
WONDER: Cultivate a vibrant curiosity and welcome the reports of your senses. The world is alive and moving toward you with rare epiphanies and wonderful surprises. Remember you are standing on holy ground.
THE MYSTERY: Accept the unknown as part of life. Don’t try to unravel the profound mysteries of God, human nature, and the natural world. Love the ineffable.
YEARNING: Follow your heart’s boundless desire. It takes you out of yourself and fosters an appreciation for the multidimensional pleasures of life.
YOU: Accept that you are a child of God. Sing your own song with gusto. Fulfill your mission as a co-partner with the Holy One in the unfolding drama of the universe.
ZEAL: Be passionately aroused by life. Cherish every moment, honor your commitments, and treasure your kinship with all.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

A deeper look at JP’s Onanism

“Physics is to mathematics what sex is to masturbation.”
--Richard Feynman

By Alex P. Vidal

-- ENEMIES of Jim Paredes (JP) have fired everything at him including the kitchen sink, but none of them has ever thought the guy could be suffering from a serious mental health issue.
Thus instead of denouncing him, they should have, at least, recommended an immediate medical attention for him, only if they care.
By the way, let us clarify that we don’t see anything wrong for any human being, including JP, to engage in masturbation--as long as it is done privately and does not harm or inconvenience anyone--man, woman, plants, and animals.
JP shouldn’t be guillotined for practicing a biological obligation, or something what all of us has also been constantly doing: Onanism.
As everyone who has read the Bible or learned from history subject knows, Onanism is synonymous with the “withdrawal method” of birth control.
Onanism, by the way, is given a broad definition, encompassing withdrawal (coitus interruptus), masturbation, and any other “improper emission of seed” within Judaism.


We are only worried here that JP recorded the act on video, which is something unusual or weird, to say the least (Gee whiz. We knew a lot of couple filming their wild trysts, but not a solitary sexual act).
We say mental health issue because we normally refer to those caught in public exposing themselves to women while playing with their genital as “sex maniacs” and “neurotic”.
Only an individual with a deep psychological problem can perform such horrendous act in broad daylight.
When most of these “exhibitionists” are caught and arrested, they normally can’t explain why they were doing it.
Police and ordinary people who immediately inflict physical assault on them don’t believe when these “perverts” insist “they don’t know” or “they can’t remember” having masturbated in front of terrified girls and adult females.
Only some of the doctors will believe them, and will recommend for their rehabilitation, not imprisonment.


This abnormal sexual behavior shouldn’t be taken for granted as the patient, or the person doing the eerie act, is already a cinch away from committing a heinous crime of rape and even murder.
Could JP, who already admitted he was the person doing Onanism in the video that went viral these past days, be suffering from a certain level of neurosis thus he filmed himself while relieving erotically?
If JP is being badgered by a health issue, he should be rapped in the knuckles for the bawdy habit and indiscretion; but he could not have sinned.
Even Onan’s sin has been historically skewed by a great amount of confusion.
His sin was actually not masturbation. Onan’s sin was his greedy, selfish refusal to sire a son on behalf of his brother, which, anyway does not even apply to our modern culture.
Onan was of the tribe of Judah, the kingly tribe and the tribe of the Messiah.
That’s why we will never ridicule or cast aspersion at JP or anyone caught in flagrante delicto while engaging in masturbation.
But, please, no advertisement.

Monday, April 1, 2019

The tunnel I fear most

“When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.”
–Corrie Ten Boom

By Alex P. Vidal

–– Of all the tunnels I have crossed, it’s the Lincoln Tunnel that doesn’t only give me cold creeps but also a dyed-in-the-wool goosebumps.
When I first crossed the tunnel three years ago, I had an eerie feeling; it’s like entering a hole with no assurance to see a light at the end.
The phobia was similar when I was “trapped” for about 12 minutes in a stranded 7 train from Queens to Manhattan in Fall of 2017.
I felt like being locked inside a calaboose; I could pass out had the train was delayed for another five to 10 minutes.
The feeling revisited me again when the van I was riding before the Holy Week had to spend some 20 minutes doing detours in the dizzying Weehawken roads to avoid traffic before finally reaching the tunnel’s mouth.
It normally takes the rider a good five minutes before emerging from the tunnel.
The 1.5-mile-long (2.4 km) Lincoln Tunnel, opened to traffic for the first time in 1937, connects Weehawken, New Jersey to Midtown Manhattan.
If we don’t take a ferry boat or train, we pass through this tunnel, much heralded as the next great engineering triumph, from New York City to New Jersey City vice versa.


The tunnel is 95 feet underwater at its deepest point, and cost about $1.5 billion to build, reportedly adjusting for inflation.
It reportedly sees upwards of 120,000 cars passing through every day on the average, making it one of the busiest roadways in the United States.
Its separate bus lane sees about 1,700 buses every morning, primarily bringing its 62,000 commuters to the Port Authority Bus Terminal on Manhattan’s 42nd Street.
This was the second tunnel funded by the New Deal’s Public Work’s Administration in 1934, fresh off the success of the northern Holland Tunnel, the first mechanically ventilated underwater automobile tunnel to be built under the Hudson River.
A second tube was built shortly after the Lincoln Tunnel’s first, with a third requested due to increasing traffic built in the late 1950s.
The three tunnels service hundreds of thousands of cars and buses coming in and out of New York City to this day.
I find it more relaxing to take the train or bus when I travel from New York to New Jersey vice versa.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)