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.