This section contains my notes and change logs on life. When I'm not busy tinkering with things, I try to find some time to write about what I've been missing while I was tinkering with things. Please don't be surprised to find this section as a disorganised heap of thoughts with random changes in language and subject matter. Here, I will rant about the smallest of things, repeat other people's ideas that I think are very good, and praise what can be a very trivial thing for most others.
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Several months ago, Inez and I were on a pedestrian lane that was some fifty metres away from the nearest intersection. We were crossing the street while traffic was stopped, thinking that under those conditions, it was safe. But when we reached the middle of the road, I heard a screeching sound from my left— a speeding, counter-flowing motorbike trying to stop when the blind-sided idiot of a driver saw us crossing on the pedestrian lane. Good thing the motorbike was able to stop a couple of feet away from me; otherwise, I and/or Inez might have been hurt or killed. Good thing too that the incident completely shocked me; otherwise, I could have hurt or killed the driver.
I assume that the driver of that motorbike has a non-professional driver's license, like most everybody else. Now, that can be taken as an excuse for his serious lapse; that had he not been an amateur, he shouldn't have committed such an awful mistake. But in the Philippines, the professionals (truck drivers, bus drivers, jeepney drivers, taxi drivers) are much worse because they do not merely commit mistakes— it is normal for them to put people in danger because of their unlearned driving.
Yes, in the Philippines, getting a professional driver's license is more a matter of being able to shell out the fees and getting one over the narcotics exam. It is less a matter of proving to an examiner that the applicant has excellent knowledge of road rules and the right attitude to put up with the challenges of operating a vehicle and transporting people as his livelihood.
And no, this isn't an unfair generalisation. I am aware that there are places in the country, like Subic, where majority of drivers are more or less “normal people”. But those places are the exception rather than the rule. Just go out of Subic and one would see the monstrosity that is the Filipino motorist.
This aspect of life in the Philippines is a popular argument for some who wish for the country to return to a dictatorship.
Obviously, we have a problem with discipline and this can be seen in the conduct of our motorists. Filipinos who know the rules of the road consciously forget the rules when they know that they can get away with it. Filipinos who are tasked to impose discipline on their fellows by enforcing the law conveniently forget the law if conditions are (and usually the price is) right. Filipinos who make laws for the good of everyone readily become unlawful in their quest to go above everyone else.
Dictatorship is supposed to solve this problem by dealing quick and harsh punishment to those that consciously, conveniently, and readily break rules and laws— without burdening itself with due process and any kind of accountability. Dictatorship is supposed to keep this problem solved by using its past actions as a deterrent to future rule breaking.
When I think about my own experiences with nasty people, I'm tempted to accept the need for a dictator. I entertain thoughts like, “Inez and I would not have been 'almost run over' if that idiot was afraid of going on counterflow and simply used the road like a normal person would in the first place.” Some times, I can be comfortable with the idea that people need to be afraid so that they will do the right thing.
But what people who argue for dictatorship don't realise is that dictators themselves don't need to follow rules. A dictator dictates on the legislature and on the judiciary so that rules are made and bent to suit the dictator's current vision. But there is no such thing as a perfect vision as there is no such thing as a perfect person. So while we can believe that our would be dictator has only our best interests in mind, he can never ever be 100% fair to everyone.
The problem with being on the wrong side of a dictatorship is that no matter how legitimate or logical your stand on something is, you will always be wrong; because the dictator simply cannot be wrong— otherwise, the dictator will need to share his power with checks and balances, the existence of which are contrary to dictatorships. And it goes without saying that because you are wrong, you will be punished— quickly and harshly.
People who do not realise this, I suspect, are people who live inconsequential lives. They do not make mistakes and therefore, cannot learn from them. They also do not make breakthroughs and therefore, do not contribute to the improvement of their industry or community.
No matter their profession, occupation, or vocation, those people are seldom missed when they disappear. They might be good at what they do but that's only because they've been programmed to be good at it. And that's what dictatorships are good at: programming people. They are so good that two generations after the last dictatorship fell, people are still defending it— or at least, the idea that the dictatorship was responsible for our country's past economic strength; when the truth is, our country started to nosedive just as the dictatorship was unfolding.
Sabah Invasion Fail
Clearly— giving this royal army the benefit of the doubt— they are not so stupid as to think that their little excursion was going to effect a change in Sabah's national affiliation. Any reasonable person would expect Malaysia to come to a member state's aid. And by the numbers, this royal army couldn't hope to win in any firefight; not even if the AFP got involved and this blew up into an all-out war.
People Overestimating Themselves
Don't get me wrong, I sure as hell don't want Binay making laws for me! But the point is, our “expert” lawmakers aren't always competent in the things that they are making laws for anyway. They know this, that is why they conduct consultations with various stakeholders when they draft new laws.
Discussions with “Frustated Professionals”
I really need to learn how not to get myself caught in a discussion with people who think they're smarter than most people. It's a waste of time and effort as, from what I've seen, discussions involving those kinds of people are never about exchanging knowledge but merely seeing who's got the more authoritative sources.