The fallacy of SanrioTown and Hello-Kitty-not-a-cat announcement

Netizens woke up to bad news on Thursday.

No, it was not President Aquino’s statement accusing the Supreme Court of uber meddling. It was not even the very long press conference of Chief Justice Sereno.

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Netizens all over the world learned that their beloved cartoon character Hello Kitty was not a cat…but a girl all along.

Read: http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/169833/hello-so-this-kitty-isnt-a-cat-after-all

So the cat is now out of the bag…well in this case, the girl.

“My life is a lie,” many young women posted on Twitter.

If we were led to believe that Kitty was a cat then what else could we have missed out on?

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Breaking news and breaking bones

On Wednesday, an accident at the Metro Rail Transit left at least 36 people injured. The wayward MRT coach was derailed and overshot the railings at Edsa-Taft station. People were shocked, to say the least.

My photo of the derailed MRT coach, several hours after the accident.

My photo of the derailed MRT coach, several hours after the accident.

I was at the media center at that time and was among the first who noticed the news. It was just a flash report, a four to five word breaking news head flashed at the bottom of the television screen. Reading the words aloud caught the attention of those seated beside me. For the next few minutes we scoured social media and found pictures and more reports on the accident.

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Ode to Sundays

On Sundays I wake up to the sound of my alarm then steal another 5 minutes of slumber. I close my eyes and imagine the nearly deserted roads outside.

For a change, I’m in a good mood, taking time to chat with my mother. I remember the years I lived alone in the city, the simple joys of making pancakes and scrambled eggs during days when I am already gloriously late for work.

On Sundays I let my skin breathe — just a touch of powder and a swipe of lipstick.

There are no long lines at the terminal or at the MRT. I breeze past deserted streets in Makati while listening to the soundtrack of the day. No radio news for me, let me worry about that when I get to the office.

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Rewind: Estrada 1-2-3, De Lima’s inspiration and Nora Aunor

Looming pain

Did you know that loom bands can make your pets ill? To be honest, I have no idea how and why loom bands became popular among Filipino adults — to the extent of Senator Jinggoy Estrada considering taking it up as a hobby while in jail.

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I surrender – Estrada 1

Speaking of Jinggoy, the beleaguered lawmaker on Monday surrendered to his father, former president and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada. Smart move. Was it the Estrada camp’s tactic to maintain dignity and save face? But then, did it really make a difference on the public’s perception?

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Kapitapitagan

While President Aquino was busy meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, MILF chairman Murad Ebrahim and Jica officials in Japan, comedienne-singer Cynthia Patag was apologizing to netizens for her earlier rant against “Yolanda” victims. Were all the victims “squatters”? But more importantly, after the unprecedented tragedy that hit the Philippines, don’t they deserve the right to seek government assistance and humane treatment? Fortunately, Filipinos were quick to accept Patag’s apology.

Instascrutiny – Estrada 2

Uh oh. Another lifestyle check via social media. Jinggoy’s son Jolo Estrada came under fire after allegedly posting photos of his “extravagant” lifestyle. Netizens have started comparing him to Jeane Napoles. Looks like our netizens are on a roll this week.

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Bon voyage, Mang Lauro

Dear Kuya Lauro,

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Kuya Lauro at San Juanico Bridge.

I had just arrived in Manila from a short trip to Mindanao when I received my editor’s message about your untimely death  caused by heart attack. It was the first message I received upon turning my mobile phone on.

My first thought was that you would have probably wanted to come with us…had you learned that we were going to the MILF camp in Maguindanao. The next was that I just saw you smiling last week.

I couldn’t really remember but I bet you had asked me about when we’ll be going back to Samar.

It was an indeed unforgettable trip for us. Our road trip to Samar and Leyte last November was like no other. It was an opportunity to learn about what our brothers in Eastern Visayas experienced during the onslaught of Super Typhoon “Yolanda,” what they were going through after the tragedy, and what we could do to help them. It was perhaps one of the most difficult coverages I had been through, especially since I was just a new reporter then. But you made things easier for us.

You not only drove us to our destination but also made the trip worthwhile. You made us laugh during an otherwise depressing week. You made sure we had something to eat and were comfortable in our sleep.

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The bearer of bad news

I should be happy now that I’m doing what I have always wanted to do. But I can’t help but think of the terrible news we have been writing about. I don’t believe in the idea of having/being a “jinx” but ever since I started writing news, really bad things started to happen in the country — monthly.

In August, there was flooding caused by the “habagat” that inundated Metro Manila and nearby provinces. In September, the Zamboanga City clashes between government forces and the Moro National Liberation Front. In October, the Bohol quake, which also hit Cebu and other areas in Visayas and Mindanao. And in November came supertyphoon “Yolanda,” which washed out many villages and killed thousands of people.

Guiuan, Eastern Samar two weeks after supertyphoon "Yolanda" (Haiyan) devastated the region with its terrifyingly strong winds and deadly storm surges.

Guiuan, Eastern Samar two weeks after supertyphoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan) devastated the region with its terrifyingly strong winds and deadly storm surges.

What is happening to our country?

These do not even include the incessant media killings and blatant assassinations. Just a while ago, at least four people were killed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). Meanwhile, politicians waste time mudslinging instead of tending to policies and laws that will improve the lives of many people.

I don’t know if I’m just more sensitive now because I monitor the news almost everyday but even the old people say that things are getting worse. I can imagine that it will continue to happen until…until change happens. Hopefully.

In the meantime, I ponder…Is this a good time to be a journalist? No. If you think about the killings and the lies and the lack of accountability in the government. But also Yes. If you’re going to write and report about the truth (the real truth, not the ones peddled by a few) and the real situation of the people on the ground. Yes. If you are going to be part of a group that is not afraid to question the status quo. If you are someone who is determined to explain the news to the reader, to enlighten the public.

It is a perfect time to be a journalist because it is a perfect time for change.

(If you are not for change then what are you writing for?)

 

It has only been less than five months and I feel that I’ve been through a year of stories. I have been learning a lot and I expect to learn more in the years to come. There are days when I love the challenge, others when I fear it. But I have also learned to embrace that fear and use it to my advantage.

To be honest, I am scared of what will happen next year. I am afraid to fail. I am afraid that I would get lost. Almost everyday I wonder if what I did was right. If I wrote that story the way that it should be. If I let myself be used unwittingly by spin doctors.

We are always chasing stories. Sometimes we are running so fast we fail to read between the lines.

I am young. I have my faults. But I’d like to think that I am not that naive.

 

It is true. We are the bearers of bad news. We count the dead in our stories — reducing the heroes, the brave, the martyrs and even the criminals (poor and rich) to mere statistics. But it doesn’t have to be that way always. Many claim to be objective, to the point of being indifferent. But I would also like to think that the straight facts and clear language that we use make people feel something about the news.

I’d like to think that we write about those things not for the shock value or the controversy or the views but for people to draw lessons and strength from it.

We are the bearers of bad news but I hope that will push people into doing something good.

 

 

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P.S. If you’re a new reader, you should understand that I tend to write based on my stream of consciousness. I seldom edit myself when I write in a blog. But sometimes I do revise my work for the sake of clarity.

Some readings: The Story of 2013, Our Road Trip to Ground Zero (coming soon)

Changing lanes

Much has happened and changed this year. In fact, change is an understatement.

I’ve changed careers, relationship status (and back), and priorities.

It has been a rollercoaster ride these past few months and I struggled to deal with such big changes, mostly on my own.

Since I was a small child, writing has been my outlet. Now, I do it for a living. But there are still a lot of other things — some personal, some work-related — that I want to share with the world.

I hope that by reviving my blog, after more than a year of hiatus, I would be able to make sense of what I am going through and what is happening around me.