Sunday, July 15, 2007


So, I am not sure if I just got made it all worse, but the position with the college of nursing is going to be quite a job. Anyway, it would seem there are a number of dedicated people there, so I think we can get productive things done, and actually feel good about it. It is quite refreshing to see a group of enthusiastic people, putting aside their pride, working together.

Anyways, I have a bunch of things to do now, and we are through with the preliminary exams. Karen is talking me into seeing Harry Potter sometime soon. I will go along. I am becoming a real fuddy-duddy. I hope it is not too late to turn back! Really, there are no interesting movies being played in the Philippines. Just huge blockbuster extravaganzas like Spiderman (ugh!) and the Fantastic Four (UGH!!).... We saw the Transformers, and actually I liked it, (a wonderful flashback from my youth in the 80s) but in all honesty, I just don't need to be blown out of my seat every 7.2 seconds anymore. Can I just have a quiet thought provoking drama? Please? Luckily for us, going to the movies is super cheap, so at least when we are disappointed, the "hit" is minimal.

My friends downstairs are having some kind of immigration problems. Al has been in Manila for almost a week, visiting his embassy. I think this problem is actually about their own embassy's requirements, not the Philippine's.

We have joined the school gym. I am not making any more embarrassing promises, just hoping to get back into that good old habit of working out everyday and eating right. SO hard to break bad habits, they feel/taste so good!

I spoke with my brother for a while last night. My "little" brother turned 30 years old. We were laughing about how close our ages are, how old we are now, etc. He and Yavon are having some challenges real estate wise these days, and we are really pulling for them to get some good luck, though they are real troopers about it. We always laugh real hard when we talk. Everyone needs more of that.

I am still pullin' for Ron Paul. I really believe that Dr. "No" is the only chance for America. We are on the verge of all kinds of problems, not just Health Care, Foreign wars, etc. But a slow systemic meltdown if we don't change everything soon. We have given away all of our freedoms, the greatest asset we have as Americans, and we do so willingly for some reason. The problem is that both sides of the political spectrum are really on the same team. And it is us (the people) versus them (the government) They don't realize that they are working on our behalf. It is real disgusting what we have squandered away to be "safe"... "The Patriot Act", "The War on Drugs", The CIA, FBI, EPA, UN, FED, BATF, BLM, IRS, DEA, DTRA, FEMA, FTC, FDA, DHS, IRS (ok I mentioned IRS twice, but come on!)..... I could keep going, but think, have these institutions really helped, or are they just there to create power and wealth for themselves and to get in between you and your rights? The 2008 ticket is going to have Guiliani, the only American to go through 9/11 apparently, and Hilary, perhaps the most obscenely political person to ever take up the "profession".

To the 3-5 people reading my blog may I present the following links. (the goods) (a very simple, but great 4 minute video) (a great source of libertarian essays) (a great article) (a great free eBook) (two great men, Mike Gravel who got us out of Vietnam, and Ron Paul being interviewed by GS ... watch the end of each interview, GS belittles everything that these men have worked to achieve, and undermines the value of our political process. These are the only two candidates who want us out of Iraq TODAY, and don't want us in any more wars period. Well, at least GS gave them airtime)

Anyways, gotta get back to the work. And yes, I noticed that I used the term "great" to describe all of the websites....

Friday, July 13, 2007

I am so excited!

Well, you heard it here first....

I will not be seeking the re-election for Foreign student president. I need to focus on two major factors, first, Karen, who has stood by my commitments to the college and everything else. She has missed a lot of her own free time due to my commitments and I need to balance that out.

Also, my own sense of satisfaction. The group that I was running was apathetic at best Here is an experiment for you, go ahead and just try to make people interested in something.... Are you back yet? It doesn't work. Most of my accomplishments went completely unannounced, back deals keeping our room foreign student only, having to convince the school administration not to shut us down on a nearly weekly basis, apologize for inexcusable behaviors on the part of some foreign students, pleading for budgetary funding, intervention on behalf of students with their problems with teachers, faculty, each other, etc.. I am worn out. To top it off, the very students that I have defended are now the most vocal dissenters, and quite frankly, my patience is gone. I slept soundly last night after I made my decision. I will quickly thank the outgoing members, and hopefully endorse an appropriate sucke--I mean "candidate" for the position this year going forward. It is a big relief.

I figured out that I am not really like most of the other foreign students anyways. Most of them are locked into their ethnic groups and/or are really just looking for an "extended family" of sorts. I have to remember that they are still young. Here I am, trying to get them to think that they should try to understand the Filipino culture as I do (or think I do anyway). I feel that they must go through a process to understand it themselves. I always wondered why if you come to a foreign country would you not even want to participate and integrate yourself into the new culture. I know why now. Its not that they don't want to, its that they can't.

I regret misleading our new adviser with my "vision" because I actually don't think that my vision is a reflection in any way of the average foreign student here. Most of our population of 200 is either Korean or Fil-Am. I think that they have nice close ties with one another, and they are generally satisfied with the arrangement. They likely enjoyed the role of FOSA for the semi-private office space that we provided and that is about it. The Fil-Ams play another low profile role. As Americans, they more or less integrate with the local population of Filipinos. It is the nature of Americans to do this, as we generally require it of incoming immigrants. So, they generally don't wish their differences to be showcased. The rest of the population of students have various needs and wants, but desire to gather in their ethnic groups rather than a 'international one", most obviously the Africans and Iranians.

Yet let's remember that the majority are in their late teens or early twenties, have full course loads at school, and busy social lives. Result? There were a handful of us who actually felt obligated to act. This was obvious as during several general meetings held, that myself and our secretary where the only two participants.

The "new face" (this "new face" is none other than my EX-vice pres) of FOSA looks keen to create foreign student IDs, hold parties with other foreign students from other schools, and create a distinct status for themselves. I am not interested in that at all. And though I see that there will be a very small group controlling a proportionately larger one, making decisions for them that they do not understand or endorse, I will not intervene to help. They need to learn lessons about themselves and their relationships with others.

I will be able to focus my efforts into my course of study and my life with Karen as a result of this. Another step in the right direction for me.

Sunday, July 08, 2007


We have been super busy with school lately. 6 days a week, 10:30AM-5:30 pm.... Sundays are little breaks that we stop and catch our breath.

I was cajoled into becoming the College of Nursing's 3rd year Representative, to help my friend Ray run as Governor. After a bunch of weird red tape, we had to water down our party and since he was only eligible for vice-gov, we took on an indy running gov for our top spot. With very little time to campaign properly, we were generally defeated in the top two spots, Ray could not overcome the sweeping popularity of his competition, a guy who's father is a popular professor at the school and clinical head who spoke up during the campaigning debate, much to our dismay. As well, he was allowed to run with "larger than allowed" campaign posters. In spite of all if this, my man lost by only 13 votes, and the clincher votes were the 4th year votes that we had nearly no contact with. Most of the 4th year students are out of the college 75% of the time and just voted on name recognition, or a candidates' openly "gay-ness", yes, there was a "Gay party" that took a large percent of the vote. Their platform? They want to have a "Gay "Miss Nursing Pageant". I am friendly with everyone at the school, gay and otherwise. I generally think that running on being "gay" is simply not valid, but my views on homosexuality are probably more "refined" than the average conservatively raised yet newly expressive Filipino student. I just don't see them as different in terms of ability or accomplishment, whereas they are something of a force in todays Filipino culture because of their "newness" and popularity in mass media, etc. If I were gay, I would hate to run as a "Gay guy". That doesn't seem to be enough to formulate ideas or programs or communicate effectively between the administration and student population. As predicted by many, I swept the 3rd year rep position, and will now have something of an "opposition" role, keeping checks and balances between Super popular kids of teachers / openly gay candidates and every other student in the school who just wants to graduate from college and get their degree in nursing. I get to complain on behalf of my classmates, write nasty letters and make recommendations. In short, heaven. Philippine politics is amazingly more confusing than American politics..

Anyways, Ill try to get things done as I have done in the Foreign Student President position that is coming up. We had a nice presentation from the guidance office for the foreigners followed by a "quick meeting" that quickly turned ugly as my VP from last year degraded all of the hard work we all accomplished to further his own hopeful presidential aspirations. He was met by a lot of opposition and though I really admire his enthusiasm as always, his ideas seem too far reaching for an organization in its infancy. We have accomplished a lot of good, and I was upset to lose momentum, arguing about a discontented 5%. In the end, our team triumphed and we are set to promote interesting programs and tap into the underutilized 95% of our school facilities. Cultural exhibits, fun fairs, English and Tagalog lessons, peer/academic counseling.. that's what we started, and that's what we are going to build upon. I really look forward to working with our new adviser from the Office of Student Affairs. He is a really nice guy, quick thinking and can solve problems and create programs for us.

School work has been kinda weird. The pace is slow, but awkward. We are having our preliminary exams next week, I have about 1001 things to get done before I can crack a book open, and I guess I'll get to that.