Monday, May 18, 2009

Barrio Siete dot com is UP!

Yes, it's time for the Barrio to emerge from the rice paddies and give the Filipino Blogsphere a respectable space for those who wanted to be heard. 

We have seen debauchery, pretenses, bias and elitists' jargons in the blogsphere, in which happens to mislead and distort a lot of minds. 

Are you an underdog? 

Do you feel that you're a small voice in the blogsphere? 

Were you disrespected or bullied, in a way, by fellow bloggers? 

Do you like social climbing? 

Do you want to feel relevant in the blogscene? 

Do you have a rags-to-riches story of any sorts

IF ALL OF YOUR ANSWERS ARE YES and BEAR A GOOD MORAL CHARACTER, then let's go back to the barrio and reflect to our good old modest days. Where we're free from pretenses and animosity. 

Everybody is welcome, with or without a barrio experience as long as your feet is on the ground. 

If you want to change your perception about life, to your fellows and your blogging habits. You BETTER BE HERE.

It all started in the Barrio.

After all, there's nothing wrong of having a barriotic background. Join the militia!

All images borrowed from Video 48.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Emerging Certainly, Influential Hopefully... My Response on my nomination

The Dubai Deathspire (a.k.a Burj Dubai) will be soon declared as the tallest building in the world. Do you know how much atrocities and lives lost behind it?

Johnonymous and The Blog
As usual, I publish my articles on a serious tone for the reasons that I want my readers to understand valuable information that I share. Just like many bloggers of the same nature, I wanted to provide an alternative insight -- particularly on Overseas Filipino affairs. Working overseas is not usually the key to personal success. In these modern times, there are many pitfalls in working overseas. 

My collection of past and present knowledge about Middle East life is what I tackle. I have experienced its ups and downs and the many bumpy dune rides. Middle East is a love and mostly hate relationship to me. I have seen bashed domestic helpers stranded in the consulate, a room that force fits a dozen, racism and nationality preferences, pay scale bias, distorted bureaucracy which falls to these words: IGNORANCE, APATHY and INTOLERANCE.  

I want my readers to have an informed decision about investing their time as an overseas worker in the Middle East... Social injustice is rampant on that side of the world... this blog will give you heads up while you're there or getting there. 

Influence and Involvement
My blogging affair started back in early 2008. A friend told me that someone in the blogsphere is on fire, he was wronged by a Filipino (which adds to my shame, and yours too). I have clearly studied the published articles and the person behind it. It was not difficult to know Brian Gorrell from a distance. He presents a strong case, he is credible and simply real. So yeah, Brian Gorrell is an influence to this blog's existence. 

Following my emergence, I have been blog hopping and participating to many discussion. There are a lot of brilliant bloggers of their own interest, from food to fashion and gossips to social activism. I am not a big fan of fashion, vanity and materialism -- I am comfortable with my own fashion sense but some bloggers in that sector are fantastic. Gossip blogs are tempting reads.  I am a fan of the arts and other sorts of creativity but most of all -- my biggest admiration goes to those who are into social causes and positive changes. It's something current and relevant compared to desires of material and insignificant fame. 

Dona Victorina and Reyna Elena are two of the blogs that I am greatly involved. They provide better alternative views compared to what the traditional media in the Philippines present to us. Most traditional media back there are notorious for news manipulation, political correctness, self-serving bias and have underlying business trickery. 

These blogs have different tones but share good taste, logic and awareness. They are not into elitism and pretenses, that's why I like them. I do encourage you to read these blogs I have mentioned. 

Nomination as 1/10 Emerging Bloggers
I am humbled to learn that my blog has caught the attention of veteran bloggers. Brian Gorrell added me to his special section of Social Activism 'must reads'. Reyna Elena decided to include me to his Top Ten Emerging Influential Bloggers.  

As my friend, Silver, said: Good Social Climbing Pays Off!

To those who voted me, I could not thank you enough. 

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Video of Torture by United Arab Emirates Royal

This is actually old news that did not make it big in the mainstream media...

Finally, ABC News took an exclusive! 

ABC News Exclusive: Torture Tape Implicates UAE Royal Sheikh
Police in Uniform Join In as Victim Is Whipped, Beaten, Electrocuted, Run Over by SUV

April 22, 2009

A video tape smuggled out of the United Arab Emirates shows a member of the country's royal family mercilessly torturing a man with whips, electric cattle prods and wooden planks with protruding nails.
An investigation into a savage torture by a royal family member of a close ally.

A man in a UAE police uniform is seen on the tape tying the victim's arms and legs, and later holding him down as the Sheikh pours salt on the man's wounds and then drives over him with his Mercedes SUV.

In a statement to ABC News, the UAE Ministry of the Interior said it had reviewed the tape and acknowledged the involvement of Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al Nahyan, brother of the country's crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed.

"The incidents depicted in the video tapes were not part of a pattern of behavior," the Interior Ministry's statement declared.

The Minister of the Interior is also one of Sheikh Issa's brother.

The government statement said its review found "all rules, policies and procedures were followed correctly by the Police Department."

Here is the video report from ABC:

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Dubai's Slumdogs and Millionaires

BBC's Ben Anderson and the 'slumdogs' of Dubai.

BBC's Ben Anderson took a journey to Dubai reported a great taboo in that very sand pit. He took a great risk of delivering an undercover report on the dire conditions of migrant laborers. I am PROUD of Ben on how he made his piece -- he dug well and deep on the topic. Perhaps his documentary was inspired from the movie Slumdog Millionare, hence it was titled as Slumdogs and Millionaires

Dubai is one of the many playgrounds of the rich and famous. Naomi Campbell held a low profile birthday party, Michael Jackson shopping while in an undercover abaya, and a lot of world-renowned celebrities on real estate madness

It came as a great surprise to me, as I watch BBC World news; the screen suddenly switched to image of laborers plastering a wall from a high-rise edifice. The same image shook me when that same laborer seems to be working without a safety harness. Following frame shows laborers crying, Ben's camera showing human feces all over the toilet from a laborer camp and a dozen of captured emotions. 

Somehow, it feels like my previous post was a prelude to this documentary, I mentioned about their living conditions and their proximity from the main civilization of Dubai. 

Laborers are unskilled and mainly hired from South Asia continent, at least a hundred of thousands work in Dubai. They are sourced from the most rural villages and slums. Monthly average salary is 650 dirhams (USD 176) including 60 cents for overtime. They have 12 hours of daily work, six days a week. They are brought to Dubai through a recruiter they paid for averaging USD 1,000 which is loaned and eventually paid in installments. 

The best way to get the cheapest laborer is by determining their literacy. These people have limited to none English skills, Arabic skills and even Hindi language skills. One must have a very low esteem so it would be easy to manage (dictate) them. It's not easy to complain when one is illiterate and mediocre.

Although housing is free, it is not for normal human beings to inhabit. In the report, an agent said to Ben, "You wouldn't keep cattle in this building." They live as a bunch in a cramped room. They have a kitchen but cooking gas is not provided by some employers. I would say this again, Ben's camera captured human feces scattered in the toilet on one of the labor camps. 

This guy works a 12-hours day and no washing machine. The sack on the bottom-left corner contains charcoal for cooking.

Hunger is another experience they have taken from time to time. Since their homes are from the isolated districts of Dubai, shopping centers are far. They cannot just use transport at their will since it's limited and costly. I also have a share of experience about this; I was with a PR company and our client was Aggreko (a rental power provider). It was Ramadan so our client decided to host an Iftar dinner in a labor camp, that was in the far west of Dubai where you'll see gigantic sand dunes and possibly some stray camels. It was a camp of 500 men. Of course, we have a minion of press people with pens and camera to cover the 'staged event' (oxymoron?). Food was great, a smorgasbord of Indian cuisine. But what noticed me most was the level of enthusiasm of the laborers. Some faces glowed, some had a great social time and some ate quickly - headed for the next round. In my point of view, the feeding event was like a temporary break from a dreadful exile... 

But these laborers are not stupid! After getting and work in Dubai, they described their lives like a prison sentence and after 2-3 years, they face home with nothing. Many of them even failed to cover their past debts (recruitment money). 

FOR YOUR INFORMATION: They are being used to build wonderlands for the ultra-rich of Dubai. All buildings in Dubai are built by them, the South Asians. 

Only mothers can love them so well and men should not deny their dignity.

The rich denies the reality. They claim that it was built with pride... In reality, all Dubai structures from sweat, blood and tears... some even with their lives. These so-called ultra-rich have failed to reach out further on these wretched laborer soul. 
Do not be deceived, Dubai's luxury living is made up of million miseries of men. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Multiple Representation Breeds Differences

Photo credits to Wikipilipinas

Firstly, I would like to dedicate this post to a person I consider a friend in the blogsphere. This is for Yanah whom I shared few verbal grind. I find this lady really provoking, but in good spirit, as we communicate on the recent topic posted.  

I'd like to share a piece of experience whilst on my hey-days in Dubai. If you're the type of person who is fond of current community event cum social animal, I'm pretty sure this relates to you. And to those who are not, it's still relevant to you. 

Heard about the following organisations in UAE? Such as: 

1. Bicol Saro (Bicol 1)
2. BisDak (Bisayang Dako or The Great Visayan)
3. Cabalen 
4. Samahang Ilocano
5. Samahang Batangueno

etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.... (regional associations)

The first emotion that struck me was this equation: Bewildered + Alienated. 

Well, it's good to be proud of one's root but the older generations had passed us a very bad understanding about Filipino diversity. Visayans are always been a laughing stock with their accents. Tagalogs are too proud yet 'barriotic'. Ilocanos are tight and thrift, often accused of selfishness. Pampanguenos are usually show off or materialistic. etc. etc. etc. 

All of these, as I say again, were told by generations ahead of us. 

If you believe to such, you already allowed yourself to detach from the society. 

If you belong to any regional organizations, subject yourself in the beauty of diversity. 
If you want to represent, set your feet in the interest of every Filipinos. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Worthiness, Not Wordiness

I have been frequenting the blogsphere for sometime.

Blogging, in my view, has evolved into an art form of expressing individualism and social activism/agenda. 

If it's detailed, it's already journalism. 

If it's about political correctness, it's diplomacy. 

However, I would like to see more understanding expressed in few sets of words/sentences. Delivering the thought or message in fewer words depicts one's wisdom. 

Readers' interaction through comments depicts a dynamic blog. Diverse interaction from various readers will bring more radiance to the blog. Interaction from a usual set of readers may be viewed as eccentric (not at all cases), for a newcomer. 

The longer the post, the lesser the interest. Communicate the message, not the eloquence of words. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

An OFW's Life in Dubai

I have seen this article from different places in the net. A good one to share actually... I saw this from another blogger. It's all truth, I can truly relate. I will start my subject here.

- J

Akala ng mga tao na nasa Pilipinas kapag nasa DUBAI ka akala nila madami ka ng pera ng langis. Ang totoo, madami
kang utang, dahil credit card lahat ang gamit mo sa pagbili mo ng mga gamit mo. Kailangan mo gumamit ng credit card Kasi naubus na ang cash pinadala sa pinas, kase pag hindi ka nagpadala, iisipin nila nakalimutan mo na sila.

Akala nila mayaman ka at marami kang pera kasi buwan-buwan libo-libo padala mo walang palya at kapag pumalya iisipin nila baka nagbisyo ka na o may sinusustentuhang iba. Hindi nila alam food allowance na lang ang natitira sayo at pag kinulang pa umuutang pa at lista muna sa malapit na bakala.

Pag may okasyon sa pinas birthday, fiesta, anniversary, pasko, new year, at iba pa, padala ka agad panghanda sarap ng kainan nila, di nila alam ikaw tiyaga sa budget meal, kapsa, noodles o de lata at itlog na nakakabutlig na ng balat, hay naku!

Akala ni Tatay, Nanay, Ate, Kuya, anak, mga pamangkin at iba pa namumulot ka ng pera sa Dubai kada may problema text kaagad, kumusta sa una sa bandang huli kelangan ng ng pera! Hay naku…nakaka-alergic na ang text sa roaming puro gastos…minsan padala ka pa ng load! Load mo nga utang pa Pana! Hay naku bakit ba nauso pa yan dagdag gastos lang talaga at pag di ka pa reply aawayin ka pa!

Akala nila masarap maging OFW at tinatawag na bagong bayani….naku mas masarap pa yong nasa pinas na sa katas ni bagong bayani ay syang umaani! Utang sa DUBAI lalong dumarami.

Akala nila masarap sa DUBAI di nila alam di ka na nga makauwi kasi roundtrip tiket kina-cash pa mapadala lang at ibayad sa utang.

Akala nila sosyal ka na kulay ng buhok mo uso pa at naka-highlight pa, di nila alam buhok mo namumuti na sa stress at problema at pag minalas pa nalalagas pa!

Akala nila masarap sa DUBAI kasi pag-uwi mo mestiso ka, maputi at mamula-mula ang balat mo, di nila alam babad ka sa opisina at kulong sa bahay mo dahil no choice ka, mga kapit bahay mo di mo kaano-ano, walang paki-alaman at kung lalabas ka sunog ang balat mo, init ng araw sobra!

Akala nila mayaman ka na kase may kotse ka na. Di nila alam hulugan pa ito!

Ang totoo, kapag hindi ka bumili ng kotse sa dubai maglalakad ka ng milya-milya sa ilalim ng init ng araw o kaya sa winter na kasama ang asawa mo dito sa dubai .. O kaya naman tiyaga kang mag –abang ng RTA Bus or Coaster na ubod ng babaho ng mga pasahero at pagbaba mo amoy putok ka na rin, grabe! Walang jeepney, tricycle o padyak sa dubai .. madami mga indianao, Bangladesh na driver na ubod ng baho. Pag minalas ka paskitani na taxi driver na rapist pa!

Akala nila masaya ka kase nagpadala ka ng picture mo sa Burj Al Arab, Desert Safari, mall of emirates, Atlantis, Al Mamzar Beach, at iba pang attractions. Ang totoo, kailangan mo ngumiti kase minsan minsan ka lang makakapicture para mapadala mo sa mga mahal mo sa buhay.

Akala nila malaki na ang kinikita mo kase dirham na sweldo mo. Ang totoo, medyo malaki pagpinalit mo ng peso, pero
dirham din ang gastos mo sa dubai . Ibig sabihin ang dirham mong kinita sa presyong dirham mo din gagastusin.
Ang P15.00 na sardinas sa Pilipinas AED3.00 sa Dubai , ang isang pakete ng sigarilyo sa pilipinas P40.00, sa
Dubai AED 6.50, alangan namang puro cafeteria food ang kakainin mo aba mamatay ka sa highblood o heap nyan kasi nga umaapaw na sa mantika madumi pa! Mga kadiri , kaya lang pag naubusan ka ng pera no choice you have to take the risk .

Akala nila buhay milyonaryo ka na kase ang ganda ng bahay at kotse mo.nag pa-lypo kay calayan at nagparetoke kay vicky belo, Ang totoo nag loan ka lang sa Mashreq ,HSBC o CITIbank na huhulugan mo ng limang taon. Ibig sabihin, alipin ka ng bahay at kotse mo at ng luho mo at ng bansang ito !!kasi nga magloan ba naman dahil sa luho bwahahaha!

Madaming naghahangad na makarating sa Dubai . Lalo na mga nurses at mga medsec at eto pa pati cleaners, mahirap maging normal na manggagawa sa Pilipinas. Madalas pagod ka sa trabaho. Pag dating ng sweldo mo, kulang pa sa pagkain mo. Pero ganun din sa ibang bansa katulad lalo na kaya sa Dubai madaming outlet ng stress mo !kasi walang bawal!!! . Hindi ibig sabihin dirham na ang sweldo mo, yayaman ka na, kailangan mo ding magbanat ng buto para mabuhay ka sa ibang bansa.

Isang malaking sakripisyo ang pag alis mo sa bansang pinagsilangan at malungkot iwanan ang mga mahal mo sa buhay.Hindi pinupulot ang pera dito o pinipitas o iniigib. Hindi ako naninira ng pangarap, gusto ko lang buksan ang bintana ng katotohanan.

Mahirap mangibang bayan…sino ba ang may kasalanan na iwan sariling bayan?

Manilbihan sa dayuhan at malayo sa pamilya ay may kahirapan.

Hangga't may pinay DH na nangingibang bayan na simbolo ng ating kahirapan, kawawang bayan ni Juan patuloy na mapag-iiwanan.

Kaya Juan iwan ka ng pera para sayo, para sa kinabukasan mo!