Oh the Joy of Money

For people who are so engrossed with money or the lack thereof, we aren’t so business savvy, which to me is quite perplexing.

With our president saying the government is basically bankrupt (both in competency, morals, and monetary-wise) for the rest the year, and with taxes higher than any point in time in our history, with inflation higher than the interest rates of banks and also the increase of the salaries of normal workers, it makes me scratch my head as to why people are not paying more attention to business.

As much as money is a part of our lives, business is money, and so naturally one should mind his own business (i.e. money). Confusing? Yes, I too am rather confused.

But in any case, I wrote that statement out that way in order to illustrate the problem of communicating business to the public: it’s jargon.

For most Filipinos, especially those in the College of Mass Communications (CMC) here in the University of the Philippines Diliman, mathematics is a dreaded subject. A long running joke says that people go to CMC in order to get away from math.

I don’t really blame people for loathing mathematics. As a person who has had the pleasure (or not) of taking statistical mathematics, which incorporates algebraic, trigonometric, analytical, and calculus–yes, it the c-word… calculus!–all wrapped up into one bundle of pure ecstasy, if you’re a masochist, that is…

But the problem is that people associate that kind of hellish mathematics to ALL mathematics, which is totally unfair to mathematics as a whole. For one, percentage and ratios are basically common-sense, but we’ve somehow wired ourselves to think of them as “math”.

If there are 5 pieces of pie, and you’re 5 people, all of whom wants pie, you can easily divide the pie 5 ways and just give each person 1 pie. Simple fractions can allow one to understand, to an extent, how companies give dividends.

Simple addition and substraction can suffice when looking over balance sheets to determine whether this year was a profitable one or not simply by substracting the total expenses to the total profit.

It’s all simple.

But, as was already said, it’s the language that makes it Greek. Most financial reports come out as account statements, wherein you have a piece of paper with numbers on it and one needs to gleen from it what you need and without specialty, one cannot do so competently.

Therefore, business journalists are required in order to bridge the gap. To decipher the language of business and put it in plain English (or Filipino).

Business journalism is important, first because it safeguards society by keeping tabs on government and how they spend our taxes through investigative reports on government dealings and taking a closer look at the taxes of our politicians.

Second, it informs the public of market trends that affected, may affect, or is affecting them and their lives and businesses.

Third, it bolsters confidence in the public to go the distance–to brave the waters of business. And with more business, comes prosperity to all as it’s effects does not only improve employment, but the country’s GDP, global business-rating and competitiveness, and thus may increase foreign investments.

The aftermath of August 23

On August 23, a tragedy struck.

A bus full of Hong Kong tourists, on their last day in the Philippines and on their way to Ocean Park, was taken hostage by an armed former police officer who was recently dismissed due to the actions of his subordinates and thus ending his 30+ years in the force and more importantly also his pension–his deserved, hard-earned retirement fund.

Faced with such circumstances, I honestly would not know if I too would snap. As I run these scenarios in my head, most of them involves me getting violent. I mean, seriously, the guy REALLY had it BAD.

But all that seems to be of no importance due to the fact that that same depressed and distressed old man, who just lost his job and does not have anything to lie back on, and had a wife and family to take care of supposedly killed  9 Hong Kong tourists and, oh, that he was a Filipino.

I am downright outraged at how some of my fellow Hong Kong people have reacted to this event. It is one thing to be indignant and angry at the INCOMPETENCE and STUPIDITY of the operations of the police, but it is another to label an ENTIRE GROUP NATION as such. It is plain BIGOTRY and HYPOCRISY and people who’ve done so ought to be ashamed.

But, I am equally if not more infuriated at how everything transpired that day. The policemen obviously didn’t know what they were doing. Aren’t SWAT supposed to be SPECIAL WEAPONS AND TACTICS UNIT? Lulz!!!

Special Weapon: Sledgehammer

Special Tactic: Throw tear-gas without gas masks themselves.

Very impressive… [Reverse this statement]

The media didn’t help at all and even, very thoughtlessly added oil to the fire by broadcasting LIVE everything that transpired OUTSIDE THE BUS FOR EVERYONE TO SEE, EVEN THE HOSTAGE TAKER! WOW! Great job~!

The politicians really showed how “able” they are at their jobs: they’re NOT. They also showed who they really care about: themselves. I mean, please STOP making me RETHINK my notion of “stupid”. The previous sentence also applies to people who get swayed by the lies and stupidity of these snakes. Just stop.

Our PRESIDENT was… well… a big failure. I recommend him being the picture of “FAILblog.org” for being the most unleaderly leader I’ve ever seen! The whole debacle started around 10 a.m. but P-noy only issued directives at about 1:30 p.m. which begs the question, what the HELL was he doing for 3 HOURS AND 30 MINUTES. Well, it’s not surprising that a person who had been in congress for more than 20 years, did not pass any BILLS that he’s proposed himself, to amount to ANYTHING. Well, that’s the leader the Philippines (well, 13 million of us at least, excluding me) wanted. We reap what we sow? How true…

There were so many FAILS that day that I really was ashamed that THESE are the PEOPLE that will LEAD us, will PROTECT us, will INFORM us, and will GUIDE us? HUWWWWWWWWWWWWWWAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTT??!!

As a journalism student, I really was disappointed about the media. Is ethics dead in the Philippines? Did NO ONE ask the question: ARE WE DOING THE RIGHT THING? Are RATINGS… is THE MONEY the reason why we do journalism? Is Public Concern & Public Interest applicable? Well, during that time, of course people were INTERESTED AND CONCERNED about WHAT WOULD TRANSPIRE, but heck, did  NO ONE THINK that the FLEETING CONCERN and INTEREST of the PUBLIC on THOSE FEW HOURS would be OUT-WEIGHED BY THE REPERCUSSIONS OF SUCH AN INCIDENT IF IT GOES BADLY FOR THE SAID PUBLIC??? Huh… So disappointed…

And what’s with the media, who’s supposedly be a WATCHDOG for the people on the actions of the government to COPY the ones THEY’RE SUPPOSED TO GUARD AGAINST? Maybe birds of the same feather fly together does ring true… They should not have broadcast LIVE. Being a watchdog does not equal a MANDATE to SENSATIONALIZE things. Besides, there are WELL ESTABLISHED PROTOCOLS that ALL MEDIA NETWORKS ARE PRIVY TO taken from the HISTORY and EXPERIENCE of HUNDREDS OF YEARS OF JOURNALISM… THERE WAS NO EXCUSE FOR NOT KNOWING WHAT TO DO.

And everyone knows that the police is being made the scapegoat… well, at least I hope everyone knows. I hope against hope. I dream the IMPOSSIBLE DREAM. Anyways, you get picture.

On the social network side of things, it’s to be expected that the users (especially those in the BBS [forums], who are more anonymous than their Facebook-counterparts) are more likely to say something they wouldn’t normally say in public as the Internet provides us with a venue to say whatever we want with wanton disregard for our safety or repercussions of the said statements, defamatory or otherwise.

Well, anyways, I do not take what transpires in the social medias as seriously as those I see first hand. It’s one thing to type a message (with cussing or none), it’s another thing to really act on what you think. The DAB party of Hong Kong is just playing their usual game of being loud and rowdy to seem that they’re really for the people. HK politicians and Philippine ones are the same in that respect. China on the other hand is really the biggest hypocrite here because they’re pointing the finger of blame on us for, what…? Being incompetent… being ill-equipped… being-unprepared… The first two are true, but that’s just because we’re poor. We’re a freaking 3rd world country! Being unprepared, yes we also were. But, that’s because these kind of things don’t often happen… only once in a blue moon do we see someone take a bus full of tourists hostage on live television and I think that’s a good thing because, SOMETHING THAT HAS BEEN SAID OVER AND OVER AGAIN IS THAT THIS INCIDENT IS ISO-LATE-D. Again? Again! ISOLATED!

Well, I should go to bed.

This was a rant. I wrote this as a Filipino and also as a person that also calls Hong Kong home.

It broke my heart that these things would happen, but no one can do anything about it anymore. What can be done is to NEVER LET IT HAPPEN AGAIN.

I think that would serve as the BEST APOLOGY possible. An apology to those who lost their loved ones, those who felt attacked, those who felt betrayed, those who felt embarrassed, and anyone else who got involved.

ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS.