Wednesday, February 23, 2005

One ID for me please.

With the recent bombings in Mindanao and Metro Manila, several law makers are reviving the call for a National ID system. This had the human rights activists and leftists up in arms.

Well, it's a good thing the lawmakers didn't suggest building a wall around major metropolitan areas and requiring passports to get in or out of the cities. Who knows what the protesters would do.

So, what's going to be included in the National ID card? Well, let's see. They want to include residential and medical info; social security and tax information are also on the list. They also want it to replace driver's licenses, passports as well as include some biometric information such as thumbprints. Some lawmakers even went as far as suggesting that criminal records be included.

I think it's the last suggestion that has the protesters crying foul. It can be abused. Think GATTACA, but on a low-tech light. A person can be denied employment or refused a bank loan based on the information contained in the NatID. On the flip side, it could facilitate for faster approval on loans or guarantee employment.

Already, applicants for jobs are required to present a number of papers: NBI clearance, baranggay clearance, medical certificate, etc. Applying for services require a person to present several valid IDs (driver's license, BIR card, and employee ID) as well as a valid proof of billing (water, electricity, or phone bills).

It seems we're not the only ones tackling the pros and cons of a unified ID system. The United Kingdom has begun its tests. Privacy International has a site dedicated to National ID systems.

The technology is here, but are we ready?

Idiot lawmakers.

A group of scavengers have taken up residence in the vacant lot in front of Brown Villa. Despite the sturdy chain-link fence protecting the perimeter, the scavengers managed to get in and make a home for themselves. Where's a big German Shepherd when you need one?

The caretaker of the lot doesn't seem to mind, but I do. It's affecting my customers. If they're not happy, then I'm not happy. If they think the scavengers have to go, who am I to argue? Besides, if you let one in, more are bound to follow.

The baranggay people told us before that the lot owners have to file a complaint so they can do something about it. Huh? I guess Trespassing isn't a criminal offense in these parts. What a bunch of lazy bums...

There's some comfort in the fact that a squad car dropped by and ordered them to vacate the premises. They'll be back, though.

Stupid Lina Law. 'Out of pity' my ass! What about the land owners? Not all of them can afford to pay the 'informal settlers', and quite a number can't even afford a decent fence. He's lucky, he's got God on his side...After all, God watches out for children and fools.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Hobby? You mean hobbies.

A friend of mine asked what I do to relax. That's an easy answer. I build models, I play video games, and I read. Joey wondered in his blog entry at the 4J blog how many unfinished models I have now.

The answer is twenty. How many finished models since I started at age six? Thirty-seven. How many finished models still exist today? Eight. What happened to the rest of them? Ask my youngest brother, JR.

It usually goes like this: I finish a model, I paint it and put it on display. My baby brother walks in and sees the finished model. Of course, he wants to play with it and I say, "NO!" He goes off running to my parents or my aunt and cries. They would say, "Pahiram mo na, papalitan na lang natin pag nasira niya." ("Let him borrow it, we'll just replace it if he breaks it.") What took hours to make has been destroyed in minutes.

Over the years, he has outgrown his destructive habits, and I am, once again, safe to pursue my hobby. But when we moved to our present house fifteen years ago, and all my models vanished including a large B-17 Flying Fortress. By then, I've learned that it's all about the journey, and not the destination. The lost collection wasn't that big of a loss. I had fun building them, and that's the point.

I also have another, more expensive, hobby. And that is computers. Specifically, I love assembling them. I guess it stems from my penchant for scale model building. I just had to have the best and fastest thing around. Sometimes, I would but the first release of a new gadget, even though I knew that prices would drop sharply several months later. Luckily, running a business and working for a living has curbed my spending habits a great deal.

Now, I'm thirty, and I'm still quite into my hobbies. Fortunately, my loving wife understands and accepts the fact. Of course, she also has her hobbies. In fact, we both share a common pastime. TV. :)

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

I Feel for Them...

Yesterday, we had a function for 80 guests. My operations manager reminded the host the day before that we can only support at most 10% extra guests, or about 8 extra guests. No problem, they said.

Come function day, guests started arriving in droves. Instead of the planned 80 guests, a hundred and sixty people showed up for the event, yeah, 160 guests. What followed was the most hectic event we've ever had since 150 extra guests showed up for a wedding late last year. Luckily, we're quite used to such instances, no panic at all. What was amusing, though, was the reaction of the hosts.

The host was in for a shock when she was told that there were still a hundred more guests waiting to be seated. My supervisor later told me that her eyes nearly popped out when he told her. In the end, everything worked out. The food for the 80 extra guests were delayed by 20 minutes but that was to be expected and the host was informed of the fact.

But I feel sorry for the host. We would have asked the extra people to leave if we were ordered to, she chose to shoulder the extra costs instead.

I guess it has something to do with our society. You invite a friend, the friend invites another, and so on. Pretty soon, the whole neighborhood is knocking on your door. Of course, you'll feel obligated to accommodate them because of 'pakikisama' (camaraderie being the closest terms applicable here). After all, you wouldn't want to lose face and be called a bad host.

It also has something to do with you feeling obligated about sharing your wealth. What is even more annoying is the fact that others expect you to share the wealth. Stop me if you have heard this one:
An OFW steps off the plane and is greeted by the entire baranggay...
It's fiesta time in Barrio San Juan, and the Mayumi family borrows money to prepare a grand feast for the guests...

I have attended several weddings in the province, and most of them often include guests bringing their own pots and pans to the reception. For what? Well, where else would they put the food they'll take home after?

I'm in a position to see these things up close on a regular basis. And it's not a pretty sight.