hmm surfing tumblr and saw this post:
Thanks Angelica! I read the post and I must say that it was lengthy and filled with a lot of information which the writer obviously culled from the net to suit the line of reasoning the writer was trying to get across.
While I laud that the writer tried to strike some interest among Americans in what is happening in the Korean peninsula, I disagree with the tone and the scenario the writer is trying to convey.
North Korea may have been bragging for some time about the capability of their missiles and their supposed breakthroughs in nuclear arms, but we must not forget that a war, as the result of the chain of events which are unraveling before our eyes now, necessitates logistical concerns such as food, raw materials, able-bodied manpower, and technology.
It may be true that North Korea, should it decide to go out of its way and resume the long-suspended hostilities of the Korean War, can knock out the South’s defenses in the first few hours of hostilities, and maybe even send missiles to as far as Hawaii, Tokyo, and Alaska, the succeeding days would require much of the Dear Leader’s utopia.
Recent history such as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have shown us that conventional military weapons may be able to knock out the structure of a belligerent government, the actual conquest and victory over an enemy requires a lengthy period of time, a lot of resources, and boots on the ground. Should the North decide to again invade the South, I don’t think they would be able to sustain the invasion without economic and military aid from either China or maybe even Russia.
North Korea may have the fourth biggest armed forces organization in the world, but the equipment, training, and most of all, sustenance of that organization, requires a huge amount of resources which I think the starving country does not yet have. We should not forget what Napoleon Bonaparte said that “an army marches on its stomach,” and if the Dear Leader desires to truly revive the struggle for Korean reunification, then I think he should be reminded of the words of the man from Corsica before he entertains any delusion of power and might.
I do think though that the limitations on raw materials, food, and technology, will not stop North Korea from conducting raids, kidnappings, artillery shelling, and maybe even missile strikes on the South and maybe even Japan. But these acts are not meant to start the re-invasion of the South. These attacks are provocations which they hope would incite the South, the US, and its other allies, to walk into the North and fight a difficult war. Let’s hope the people in Washington do not take the bait.
While the Dear Leader’s henchmen have been making a lot of noise over the presence of the US carrier battle group in the South, it is important to consider that the US is merely posturing. The US also regularly does the same in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait against the People’s Republic of China.
Still, it’s best to be informed of events which actually in one way or another, affect us all. Thanks for the link and for taking time to ask me my thoughts. I hope all is well where you are :)
Kim! Your answer to the writing question made my day. Thank you for the mention.
I just wanted to say though, that what little I really do know about writing I actually learned from a journalist and my odd little forays into journalism and feature writing. And those brief experiences drove home that the best writers around really are the journalists.
For me, the craft of journalism teaches (and drives home) things that you never really learn in writing courses; empathy and objectivity, discipline and doggedness in research and uncovering a story. Even interviews, analyzing and the art of detail and description. One thing that a great journalist has is an eye for identifying detail and translating those observations to paper. I always think that if someone really wants to try and become a great writer they need to become a great journalist first. Because really, they are one and the same.
And in your case, I can think of fewer people indeed more capable of helping people become great writers!
I hope you had a great long-holiday my friend.
Pleasure’s mine Nik! I had to mention you since you are the only person I know here who is seriously in the profession of words. I am merely one who takes refuge in them to portray the conditions which surround me.
I think your answer would now place those who follow this blog as well as yours in a quandary as to whether they should be a writer or a journalist. But like you said, they are essentially the same. I think the distinction lies in the length of time either professional is expected to come up with a product of creativity. While writers mostly have the latitude of time necessary for quality output; journalists on the other hand have to contend with putting out to the public the bare essentials of an event or social phenomenon as soon as possible. And in some cases, the quality of the output is sacrificed in exchange for expediency.
I must agree though that journalism, as in the practice itself, teaches you a lot of things. And the lessons are not limited to writing styles and information gathering. It also teaches you much about human psychology, social dynamics, and cultural distinctions.
I am honored with the fine words sir! And if I made yours yesterday, you certainly made mine today. Thank you!
I am not so sure about this since I never thought of myself as a writer, much more a good one. I would say though that maybe the following things can make a good writer:
One has to be a voracious reader - enables the writer to have a wide perspective on things and the events around him or her.
One has to take genuine interest in the subject he or she is writing about.
One has to have the facility of words and a fertile imagination to effectively communicate that which he or she is trying to make the readers understand.
One has to have the humility to acknowledge his or her limitations, making him appreciate the prior works of others and the words of living sources or inspirations which can help him or her refine his or her work.
And lastly but more importantly, one has enough courage to stand by what one has written, never to be cowed by the criticism of others and the condemnation of society. But if the writer has committed errors and then proven to have done so, then one should be willing to accept faults.
I hope these tips may help you in your plans to become a good writer. I also that future queries be addressed to @iwriteasiwrite. He is the true-blue writer. I am merely a journalist.
Haha! Yes they do! And they keep notes of various stuff. From those on interviews, to the tapes they used in coverages, to people they’ve met and contact numbers, etc. Yep, journalists do keep lists and journals. And most nowadays blog too! )
What is the state of the Philippine Journalist today?
Apologies on the delayed answer sir, I was only able to notice the questions on my formspring these past couple of days. And your question is something which actually made me look back and think about what the state of the Philippine journalist is as of late.
I would say that the Philippine journalist is actually enjoying some measure of freedom relative to his or her beat and his or her location. There are some areas in the country where being a journalist is perilous and might even cost you your life. And there are areas where all you have to worry about is what flavor of coffee to buy on the way to the office.
In most cases, the journalists most at risk are those who are in the cities and communities far from the Capital. And they are mostly employees of a community paper, a satellite radio or TV station. While these journalists may deliver reports required of them by their head offices here in Manila, what lies unnoticed until something happens to them, are the perils that they face every day as they pursue their profession.
I speak from experience when I say that the exercise of journalism in Mindanao varies with that in the Visayas, all the more with that in Luzon.
When I was still in Mindanao, death threats are a part of the daily routine. And you get them from the usual robbery suspects, the arrested scalawags in uniform, and even from politicians facing graft charges. When the time comes that you notice “shadows” in single motorcycles or heavily-tinted vehicles, you can no longer point out who must have hired them due to the number of people who have swore to have your head on a platter. You just have to learn to evade and escape your shadows if you want to survive.
In Cebu, things were very different. The local media was almost always in good terms with local politicians, business interests, and almost every other sector. There were instances when I felt some tension between me and some of the people I covered, including some of my supposed sources, but the level of disenchantment was not as much as those that I went through in Mindanao. I must say though that I only spent part of my time in the field being that I was already a desk editor at that time. But in those instances that I went out for stories, I never experienced being threatened by anyone in the streets of Cebu.
In Manila though, I could say that my experience is confined largely in the newsroom. But I did work in an environment where I was able to observe how the reporters went about the same routine I went through in Mindanao. I think it would be safe to assume that journalists in Manila most often than not, are not treated with hostility by the government agencies that they visit, nor by most of the suspects that they cover in crime stories, or even by officials accused of corruption. The people in the national offices, despite all the power that they wield, are, I think, afraid of also losing their positions at the word of a journalist. And some are also afraid of the publicity machinery that the journalists have which might go against them should they ever threaten the journalist.
The distinctions in the levels of threat on journalists are I think the reasons why more journalists in the Philippines are killed in the cities and places outside of Metro Manila. And most of these murders are done in Mindanao.
While the killing of every journalist should be lamented and condemned, I must say that it is difficult however to assume that every killing is the result of the performance of the profession. And if it is, it must also be verified whether the journalist did not use the profession to maliciously attack or destroy a person or corporate entity without any cause.
I think sir that you know as well as I do that while there may be well-meaning ones, there are actually no saints in the profession, and then there also those who give the profession a bad name. And those who do often times embark on personal attacks against individuals, politicians, or commercial interests for some personal gain. Several of the killings over the past few years have been the result of this practice by some of the members of the profession.
I must say that the state of journalism in the country has to be elevated to a higher level of professionalism. And that the practice of the profession should go beyond the mere satisfaction of audience interests, ratings, copies sold, or advertisers gathered. The level of journalism in the country should be raised to a level which shall uplift the consciousness of the average Filipino on the social and political discourse in the country. Journalism should allow the Filipino to understand the events and social movements around him better and enable him or her to make the choices that are essential not only to his or her well-being, but also for the improvement of the country. Journalism should therefore aid the Filipino in seeing the naked truth of his or her predicament. Sadly though, the state of journalism in the country is not yet there. Corporate interests, coupled with sensationalism, are still is very much evident in what we see on TV, hear on the radio, and read on the paper and the Internet. I guess it will still takes some time (and more journalist lives) before we get there.
By the way, don’t know if this would mean much but I would like to make it clear, I did not take up Journalism or Mass Communications in college. I took up International Studies.
Suuure you were! Haha!
It's coming along, I keep wondering sometimes why I decided to say yes and take on this project! I'm pretty much almost done with the raw stuff, getting down the editing portion. Yikes.
How about with you? Hope all is going well!
Haha! Nice to know your project is slowly taking form. I guess I can relate to those “why did I even take this up” situations. I have been in those circumstances several times. I hope you would share the title of the project you are working on.
Apologies on replying to this in public. My wireless dongle doesn’t accord me the luxury to post messages in the Tumblr Ask. And I am usually on wireless on weekends.
All is doing well where I am. I hope it is also the same with you!
hey sir. i would just like to ask: is there a difference between socialism and communism? or are they just the same?
I don’t know if I’m the proper authority to answer you but here’s what I think. Socialism is the theoretical economic stage that is necessary for the evolution of society to Communism. Are the the same? For most people they are. But for those who are more particular, they are not.
In my understanding of what Marx was trying to say, Socialism is an economic system where the state has greater control over the means of production in a territory. There is still some measure of private ownership but not as extensive and unregulated as those in a capitalist system. By virtue of its control, the state is also supposed to provide much of what the people need.
In Communism, ideally, all the means of production are owned by the people, represented by the state. And the products produced, including the profits derived from them, are shared equally among the members of the territory. Everything is provided by the state.
I must say though that the understanding of both Socialism and Communism have had several variations and applications. So much so that out of these two, several other “isms” evolved e.g. Marxism, Leninism, Trotskyism, Stalinism, Maoism, etc. And these “isms” are based on the interpretation of some individuals and groups on what Marx was positing and how it should be achieved. At times even, these groups fight amongst themselves as in the case of Soviet Russia and Communist China after 1956.
In recent years however, and after the dissolution of the USSR, the communist republics in Eastern Europe have shifted from communism to their own understanding of Western democracy. Some have been successful but most are still struggling. And in the struggle, they have decided to maintain close ties with the former USSR.
In Asia, Vietnam despite its portrayal by Westerners as a communist state, is in practice, socialist. And this is largely due to their understanding of Marx’s precepts and the needs of their country.
China on the other hand has moved from strict Maoist communism to what some people term as market socialism. In theory, it means that the government controls most of the means of production but allows private individuals and corporations to have some participation. The communist hierarchy has largely been engaged with “foreign investment partners” over the past few years. And the People’s Republic has economically grown because of this, so much so that it is called by some economists, as the poster boy of globalization.
China and Vietnam maybe ideologically considered as communist countries but they are actually at odds against each other since Vietnam’s communist insurgency in the 60s and 70s was sponsored by the USSR after the split of 1956. There have been some border clashes between the two countries over the past few years but not one has escalated into a war. Funnily though, Vietnam easily whipped China’s ass in those clashes!
As for Cuba, the country has recently been relaxing its stance against the US and this is also largely due to Obama’s overtures to the Castro government. The recent exchanges between the US and Cuba are huge steps considering the state of affairs between these two countries for the past 60 years.
North Korea. Now that’s some country which has had a very long hang-over from the Cold War. And it has not gotten over what the South and the United Nations did back in the Korean War. The North Korean soldiers could have driven the South Korean army to the sea had it not been for reinforcements from the UN and the US. And that’s why the North is in a perpetual state of preparation for war against the South Korean government, the US, and anyone who stands in the way of what they term as reunification.
hi sir kim! :) were you the one who made the CSG’s Magna Carta?
Hi Kai! I wanted to answer this via your Tumblr Ask but it seems that you did not enable it. And so I am answering it here. I must admit though, this is embarrassing.
Yes, I, along with several other students back in college, fought for the Magna Carta of Student Rights and Responsibilities. And my apologies ma’am but it’s not just the Central Student Government’s Magna Carta, it is a Magna Carta for all undergraduate students in Xavier U.
Actually, the Magna Carta was the product of several years of struggle and months of intense debates and maybe even well-intentioned subterfuge with some pro-student teachers and administrators. Supposedly, there was a Magna Carta of students passed back in 1994, but the university administration maintained that it was not signed between the admin and the students. And so the CSG president tasked me to get a new charter passed before the end of the school year. She said that it was supposed to be our administration’s legacy to future students. We had it passed in six months.
The six months though was not a smooth ride. The initial study on coming up with the Magna Carta was made by the Students Rights and Welfare commissioner. And his study was based on the pending proposals for a Magna Carta for Students in the House of Representatives and the Senate. We also went over the student charters and student government constitutions from De La Salle University-Taft, Ateneo de Manila, and Ateneo de Davao. Oddly the guys from Manila and Davao told us that their student charters were based on the Magna Carta which was passed in Xavier U back in the 90s. See?
And so we filed the proposed Magna Carta in September of 2000. A committee of 14 representatives from the admin, faculty, staff, and students was then formed. It was chaired by a student. After going over the first revision, the committee was reduced from 14 to 7, including the chairperson, with the majority being students. We were fortunate enough to have undertaken the review, revision, and approval of the final draft by the Academic Council (the highest policy-making body of the university) of the Magna Carta, with the support and tacit approval of pro-student faculty, staff and administrators. We had so much support that I even typed the final version of the charter in the University President’s office. We encountered some opposition from the conservatives but we took care of that too :). The charter was passed and approved in a plebiscite in March of 2001.
Oh Kai! Your question brought back college memories. I hope you will also look back to your college days with fond memories of days of idealism and hope for the future.
Yep, he does look like Magsaysay and I wouldn’t have even noticed it until you pointed it out. Oddly though, the poster was made in North Korea. That means that there are a lot of guys who look like Magsaysay in Korea back then, right? Or maybe that’s just the kind of face that got into the mind of the artist when he was making it :)
Brilliant. 1950s? Though I wouldn’t be surprised if it came out…yesterday. I mean, they are still stuck in the 50s. Let’s go hula!
Ah yes sir! They truly are stuck in the 50s. Actually the posters are relatively new. There are even some which came out after Bush gave the “axis of evil” speech.
“The US is truly an Axis of Evil.”
Do click on the pic for more posters from the Dear Leader’s utopia.
I think there have been a lot of books, film documentaries, and even case studies by US agencies on Korea, which have always portrayed the country as obsessed with the reunification of the peninsula with the prior eviction of the US from the south. And that obsession is actually manipulated by the leaders of the north to suit their political needs and take away the people’s thoughts from hunger and the desire for freedom, justice, and dignity.
I don’t know if it’s coincidental but it seems that both Cuba and North Korea seem to be still stuck in the 50s. From their ideological raison d’etre, to their economies, and even down to the lifestyles that those in power, as well as the ordinary people have. It’s just too bad for both countries though that the Soviet Union, which subsidized their economies back then, had ceased to exist.