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Showing posts from October, 2009

Wendy Lee & Books For Cameroon: How To Change The World For $11,500 (An Exclusive Interview With A U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer)

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Wendy was studying for her postgraduate entrance examination when her friends Billy and Loǐc invited her to a dinner-party. Welcoming the break from Pythagorean theorems, she soon found herself in the midst of Bamilệkệ villagers and foreign missionaries speaking in English, Fijian, Korean, French, Spanish and German.
She does homework and blogs on Blogger and Facebook just like most of us, but she’s not your typical 23 year old Asian-American girl. Wendy Lee is a multilingual United States Peace Corps volunteer and literacy advocate, the driving force behind Books For Cameroon – the visionary project of building and stocking 30 fully-booked libraries in this West African nation.
The Republic of Cameroon, with an area of 475,442 square kilometers, is a microcosm of the African landscape, a convergence of diverse climate, vegetation and geography. The 2009 population estimate is 19,522,000 – but only 67.9% is literate.
The importance of being able to read and write is self-evident. The…

How On Earth Do You Prepare For The Coming Mega-Quake?

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A 7-8 magnitude earthquake is set to rock Metro Manila – literally destroying buildings, bridges, hospitals, schools, even the proposed evacuation centers, leaving millions homeless or worse.The warning came from no less than Chief Renato Solidum of Phivolcs (Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology), one of the few remaining officials in the Arroyo administration with an untarnished reputation for honesty and competence. In other words, I believe him.Portentiously, a 5.3 quake epi-centered in Mamburao, Oriental Mindoro last week. The quake jolted Looc, Lubang with Intensity 4; Batangas City, Iba in Zambales and Clark in Pampanga with Intensity 3; and Intensity 2 in Laguna, Cavite, Makati, Pasay, Pasig, Muntinlupa and Manila.The exact (or even approximate) date cannot be pinpointed at this point, but Chief Arjun Kartoch of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – Emergency Services Branch gave assurances that the “Doomsday” upheaval will come.…

The Return of Joseph "Erap" Estrada -- A Legal Precedent or A Constitutional Crisis?

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History is repeating itself but it doesn’t look that way. The formal announcement of former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada’s second campaign for the presidency is actually a field day for legal eagles and law students.The Philippine Constitution says the President will serve a single 6-year term with no re-election. Estrada was elected in 1998, so his term ended in 2004, right? But in 2001 came the Edsa 2 Revolution, and he ceased to be President.(This was when then Vice President Gloria Arroyo got the top post and since then has been refusing to let go but that’ another story.)Depending in where you stand politically, Estrada:ResignedTook a leave of absenceWas deposedThere’s no point in asking, “Can Erap run again?” because he already is. The question should be, “Is Erap’s campaign illegal?”Duh! Hello! says Romy Macalintal, Arroyo’s lawyer. Of course he will say that. Curiously though, he won’t file a motion.Nonsense! says Makati Mayor Jojo Binay, Erap’s running mate. Of course he’l…

The Great Greenbelt Rolex Robbery -- An Inside Job?

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MAKATI – Here’s irony in spades. One of the most daring heists in recent memory happened in broad daylight. 6 armed men nonchalantly strolled into one of the country’s most prestigious malls, the plan was derailed by two policeman while they were serving as bodyguards of a politician who didn’t even invite them for lunch. The target was Rolex watches, but instead they got Tudor watches, but they worth 8 million pesos ($164K+). One robber died from the shoot-out but the rest have escaped smoothly, as if there’s no security.This happened just last Sunday at the Greenbelt 5. Apparently the robbers told the security guards that they’re the Bomb Squad; they turned out to be the Alvin Flores hold-up syndicate.Taguig City Mayor Freddie Tinga was having lunch while his bodyguards, SPO1 Cesar Tiglao and PO1 Efren Ceniza, waited outside the restaurant. The two cops saw the thieves breaking the display cases and they opened fire.Where are the security guards? Or more precisely, why did they seem…

Do You Believe The World Will End In 2012?

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Before we arrive at the End of Days, I want to ask, “Do you believe in the Priory of Sion?” Oh, I have another question: “How good is your memory?” Jesus Christ, I have a third question! “Have you seen the Mel Gibson movie Apocalypto?” I haven’t, but if I remember right, it was set during the zenith of the Mayan civilization.That’s the rub, you see. I’m writing this in a public park at 2 in the morning, away from Google and my library that was already destroyed by the flood anyway, so I’m relying on memory. If you believe that Jesus was a divine bachelor, the Bible is enough. But if He wasn’t, there’s Holy Blood, Holy Grail and The Templar Legacy – not to mention The DaVinci Code – and that’s just for starters.The point is: we believe what we want to believe, and we can cite references to back that belief.This also applies to the idea that the Doomsday will come in 2012, three years from now. If you believe it – or just open-minded about it – I think I know where you’re coming from, a…

The Great Greenbelt Rolex Robbery -- An Inside Job?

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Here’s irony in spades. One of the most daring heists in recent memory happened in broad daylight. 6 armed men nonchalantly strolled into one of the country’s most prestigious malls, the plan was derailed by two policeman while they were serving as bodyguards of a politician who didn’t even invite them for lunch. The target was Rolex watches, but instead they got Tudor watches, but they worth 8 million pesos ($164K+). One robber died from the shoot-out but the rest have escaped smoothly, as if there’s no security.This happened just last Sunday at the Greenbelt 5. Apparently the robbers told the security guards that they’re the Bomb Squad; they turned out to be the Alvin Flores hold-up syndicate.Taguig City Mayor Freddie Tinga was having lunch while his bodyguards, SPO1 Cesar Tiglao and PO1 Efren Ceniza, waited outside the restaurant. The two cops saw the thieves breaking the display cases and they opened fire.Where are the security guards? Or more precisely, why did they seem to vanis…

Teaching Kids To Be Independent

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If I may paraphrase Alvin Toffler in Future Shock, parenthood is the area with the most number of amateurs. I believe that, more than education, the greatest legacy of a parent is an independent-minded and self-reliant child. This feature, Teaching Kids To Be Independent, is a synthesis of some of the best best ideas on parenting from the most respected experts in this field.Jimmy’s clan has lived on their Georgia farm for over two centuries. Despite their poverty, his parents were community leaders and Peace Corps volunteers, and he was able to enter the prestigious AmericanNavalAcademy. “But the early commitments of our rural family life never changed,” recalls former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. “We still believe in personal freedom, hard work, self-reliance and close family ties.”Everything begins in childhood. A child’s upbringing and environment will shape his character – and his destiny. With parenting comes responsibility, and based on Dr. Mel Levine’s New York Times bestselle…