Thursday, November 12, 2015

2015 Year Ending Songs

My Selection for 2015..

Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and A Very Good New Year..

Friday, December 20, 2013

2013 Christmas Collection

Somehow this year, the Christmas mood hitting me late, its just not very christmas-sy where I am travelling these days. Anywhere its still that time of the year and my choice of music for this year, a bit different

The first one is a jazz swing number that is very celebratory. There are many version but my favourite

Second choice, kind of reflect my mood:

but I am going to end my choices with



Sunday, September 15, 2013

The US: world's policeman or schoolyard bully?

Laos cluster bombs
Pax Americana: a beneficiary of US air superiority, Laos was bombed with 3m tons of ordnance, 1964-73. Photograph: Mines Advisory Group
New rule: 12 years after 9/11, and amidst yet another debate on whether to bomb yet another Muslim country, America must stop asking the question, "Why do they hate us?" Forget the debate on Syria, we need a debate on why we're always debating whether to bomb someone. Because we're starting to look not so much like the world's policeman, but more like George Zimmerman: itching to use force and then pretending it's because we had no choice.
Now, I'm against chemical weapons, and I don't care who knows it. And there's no doubt a guy like Bashar al-Assad deserves to get blown up: using toxic chemicals on unsuspecting civilians is purely and profoundly evil.
But enough about Monsanto. When it comes to Syria, I do understand the appeal of putting the world on notice that if you use poison gas, theUnited States of America will personally fuck you up: we will seek out the counsel and support of the entire family of nations, and then, no matter what they say, we will go ahead and fuck you up.
But however valid that argument may be, it is, I believe, outweighed by the fact that we have to stop bombing Muslim countries if we ever want to feel safe from terrorism in our own. The Chemical Weapons Convention is important, but to the jihadi in the street, it just looks like we're always looking for a new reason to bomb them. We keep calling this part of the world a tinderbox – and we keep lighting fires there.
Even worse, bombing seems to be our answer for everything.
Since 1945, when Jesus granted America air superiority, we've bombed Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Serbia, Somalia, Bosnia, the Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya and Yemen. And Yemen only because the tenth one was free.
How did we inherit this moral obligation to bring justice to the world via death from above? Are we Zeus? It doesn't make any sense. Our schools are crumbling, and we want to teach everyone else a lesson?
And look, like I said, I'm no fan of Assad. And I say that openly: I don't care if it costs me jobs in Hollywood. I think he's the worst kind of sociopath – the kind who commits unspeakable acts, but who looks like a menswear salesman.
I'm just pointing out that in recent years, our foreign policy debates look like the Facebook page of a loner who shot up a McDonald's. We're the only country in the world that muses out loud about who we might bomb next:
Iran, yeah we might bomb you … thinking about it … maybe, depends on my mood.
We did this with Iraq after 9/11, even though they had nothing to do with 9/11. We do it with Iran every day. And now, it's Syria's turn. We're like a schoolyard bully who's got every kid in the class nervous they're going to be next – and I don't know if anyone should have that power. Can you imagine going to work and sitting at the lunch table in front of ten people and saying:
Hey, you think we should … kill Bob? It would send a message to Steve.
Who acts like this?
People in other countries don't talk like this. Probably because, if they did, we'd bomb them. Is there no self-awareness about how arrogant it looks to sit around politely pondering who needs a good bombing?
And,we're the only nation – as we have seen in this Syrian fiasco – who threatens to drop bombs on you while telling you we don't want to get involved!
We're just bombing, please, don't get up – no boots on the ground, just a little light bombing, we'll be out of your hair in a week.
I remember being on the Howard Stern show 12 years ago this week, right after 9/11, and Howard said that, in retaliation for 9/11, America should bomb a Muslim country, any Muslim country, it didn't matter which one. And yet somehow, I was the one on trial for talking crazy.
And I thought to myself, really? Bomb any Muslim country – that's the policy? Get a map of the Middle East and just throw a dart at it?
Well, apparently George W Bush was listening that day because that's exactly what we did.

Friday, July 12, 2013

The C4 -Rice Project

One of the most fascinating thing that is happening in the Philippines is something called the C4 rice project that is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Philippine has one of the most advance, if not the most advance, research institute on rice, known as IRRI - International Rice Research Institute - situated in Los Banos, Laguna. It is a Global, Independent, Non-Profit research organisation that was originally fundedin 1960 by the Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation and the Philippines government.

The C4 project is potentially one of the most important project in agriculture in decades maybe even in a century. The immediate application is for rice but potentially its impact can be wide ranging..

Essentially the project seek to genetically engineer rice, through changing its photosynthetic process itself, to increase biomass, potentially increasing yield by 50%. The gist of it is that 98% of plant has a certain type of photosynthesis pathway called C3 but some, sorghum, maize, sugarcane, have something call C4, that is more efficient and converts more carbon, into more biomass. The project aim to identify the genes responsible for C4 and then using gene therapy insert it into existing rice species. 

The project idea actually began nearly two decades ago, but around 2005/2006, due to advances in genome technology, the idea resurfaced and in 2009, the Gates Foundation and UK Aid funded it for 3 years.

They have identified a good deal of the crucial genes for the C4 photosynthesis and started producing prototypes and testing them.. Its estimated the research will last another decade or so before it will produce a functioning C4 rice.

What is most fascinating is that the knowledge and techniques that will be accumulated will not only be also applicable to other crops, although potentially more complicated,  but it will also help with other vegetation even produce new species that would make better animal feed, better bio-fuel - possibly even solve global warming.

Those who think Philippines is not a "happening:" place, just have no idea. These stuff are trully cutting edge.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Visit Churches in Philippines

I have always wanted to write about this subject for a long time - the churches of the Philippines. Given that Philippines has the largest Christian population in Asia and Catholic at that (3rd largest in world in fact), its no surprise it has many churches and grand ones.

While there are many bigger and spectacular churches in other countries in Europe, US and Latin America, I found the churches of Philippine unique - there are similarities to churches in Europe particularly but there are definite uniqueness. More important attendance at these churches are very high unlike in many places in US and Europe where attendance have been in long term decline for a long time.

Thank you Inquirer for the video..

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Understanding the Sabah Dispute

My personal view of the ongoing in Sabah is that for all intent and purpose, the claim on Sabah either by Sulu Sultanate or Philippine is practically impossible no matter what the legal claim is. But to get an understanding of the legal issue, Artemio V. Panganiban, chief Justice of the Philippines wrote this in the Phillippine top newspaper.

To understand (1) the claim of the Sultan of Sulu over Sabah, (2) the standoff in Lahad Datu town in Sabah, (3) the stand-down admonition of President Aquino directing the followers of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III led by his brother Datu Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram to withdraw and return peacefully to the Philippines, and (4) the enforcement actions of the Malaysian authorities that sadly resulted in death and injury, I think it is best to begin by discussing the concepts of sovereignty and ownership.

Sovereignty is the perpetual and absolute power of a state (not of an individual) to command obedience within its territory. This power is manifested through the state’s constitution and laws, and is enforced by governmental agencies and officials. When needed, the state’s military and police forces can be called to back this enforcement.
Sovereignty has external and internal aspects, external being the state’s ability to act without foreign intervention. It is often equated with independence. Internal sovereignty refers to the power of the state to rule within its borders and to govern both citizens (at home and abroad) and aliens staying in its territory. In the exercise of internal sovereignty, it maintains peace and order, fixes the relationships of people, and governs the rights to own properties situated within its borders.

Ownership, on the other hand, has a limited scope. It generally refers to the right to control a thing (including land), especially its possession, use, disposition and recovery. Ownership rights, especially over land and natural resources, are controlled and regulated by the state.

Sultan’s claim. 

In brief, the Sultan of Sulu claims ownership, not sovereignty, over a huge tract of land called Sabah. He alleges that his forebears leased the property to the British North Borneo Company, which in turn ceded its leasehold rights to Malaysia. Up to now, rentals for the property are paid the sultan.

In 1963, after an alleged referendum showing that the residents did not want to be part of the Philippines or of the Sultanate of Sulu, Malaysia incorporated Sabah as part of its national territory. Since that time, Malaysia has exercised sovereignty over the area, keeping peace and order, regulating the relations among the people, and governing the ownership, possession and enjoyment of property rights.

Obviously, then, the sultan’s claim is subject to the sovereign power of Malaysia and Malaysian laws. The stealthy entry of the sultan’s followers into Sabah violated Malaysian immigration and other laws; hence, they could be held accountable by Malaysian authorities. Even assuming that as proof of ownership, rentals are being paid in perpetuity, the sultan, as lessor, cannot deprive Malaysia, as lessee, of its possessory rights by force and illegal entry.

Since the sultan and his followers are Filipino citizens, the Philippines started diplomatic initiatives with Malaysia to secure their safety and wellbeing, and to enable them to leave Sabah voluntarily and peacefully.

However, as such citizens, they may be held answerable, after the observance of due process, for violations of Philippine laws. The Department of Justice is reportedly poised to investigate them for “inciting to war, or giving motives for reprisals; illegal possession of firearms; illegal assembly” and other crimes.

If, say, a Malaysian sultan is granted ownership rights by a past colonizer of the Philippines (like Spain) over a vast tract of land in Mindanao, the armed followers of that Malaysian sultan cannot just cross Philippine borders and occupy such property without the permission of the Philippines, regardless of whether Malaysia or the sultan has pending claims of sovereignty or ownership. By parity of reasoning, the Philippine government, in the exercise of its sovereignty, can take immigration, ejectment and other enforcement actions.

Philippine claim. During the term of President Diosdado Macapagal—in the 1960s, at about the same time that Malaysia took over Sabah—the Philippines asserted a sovereign claim over the property, then known as North Borneo. Since then, however, the claim has largely remained dormant.

The Philippine Constitution “renounces war as an instrument of national policy, adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity with all nations.”

Moreover, the United Nations Charter (Art. 51) obligates its members, including the Philippines, to settle international disputes only by peaceful means—that is, by negotiation, good offices, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement in the International Court of Justice, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, and other peaceful methods. The Philippines cannot employ war or other nonpeaceful ways to resolve the dispute.

To conclude, I believe the Philippines should continue pressing its sovereign claim via the peaceful methods I mentioned. Meanwhile, the Sultanate of Sulu should abandon nonlegal methods and respect the actual and existing sovereignty of Malaysia. If the sultan so desires, he may avail himself of the internal legal processes there to validate his ownership claims.

Should the Philippines succeed in its peaceful quest, then the sultan may continue his ownership claims in the Philippines pursuant to Philippine laws. This, I think, is the peaceful and legal way of settling the dispute.


The fact of the matter is the days of monarchy claims of soverignty are impractical. No one wants to be ruled by a monarchy anymore so the issue goes beyond a monarchy claim. Its simply impractical to make claims without the people's wishes.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

Generally my motto this time of the year is the older the better but these two are my choice to play this year: