Post for Apr 1-7 2018

TaN: In the controversy regarding the pull out of Uber from the Philippines, it suddenly dawned on me that the concept of TNVS (transport network vehicle service) is ride-sharing — which implies that there are car owners who use their cars for only a small segment of each day and the rest of the time it is simply sitting there doing nothing productive.  It is probably an idea borrowed from the SETI (search for extra terrestrial intelligence) project where a collaborative effort to use the “down time” of global online computers as a massive integrated “supercomputer” — or, if not, it is very similar in concept.

In the same manner, the TNVS shares this same concept — whose purpose is to augment the existing taxi system that may not have enough units to service the demand of the riding public.  My epiphany is that it is supposed to be a ride-sharing scheme and this implies the use of pre-existing but “idle” cars already in the system.  However, what has happened, in the case of the Philippines, is that people went out to buy cars in order to take advantage of this (new) scheme of augmenting the family income.  This runs counter to the whole idea of ride-sharing because the cars, instead of being pre-existing, became deliberately bought for the principal purpose of creating income and not simply to capitalize or optimize the “productiveness” of idle cars.

In other words, they are — for all intents and purposes — mere taxis and just using another term to define them, but you know what they say, A rose by any other name would smell as sweet (a quote from William Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy “Romeo and Juliet“.

But I digress.  So going back to topic, I have always and consistently and persistently maintaining and advocating — in all pertinent TaNs in the past — that foreign investments should not be a priority, not even foreign lending institutions that address or provide financial assistance facilities for public projects such as infrastructures.  These only push the country deeper into debt and is a principal source of corruption.

Even “no-strings attached” foreign financial assistance (from other countries) are never really “no-strings” — as the saying goes, “There is no such thing as a free lunch” and “One does not get something for nothing“.  There is always a catch.

In any case, foreign investments is good or beneficial but I would not pin my hopes in them too much.  Investments, whether foreign or domestic, have only one (common) concern…the bottom line.  In the case of foreign assistance or aid, the angle is not so much the profit but other “amenities” that are to be had — such as gaining access to natural resources, receiving special incentives or advantages over rivals, or some other “tit for tat”.

In the case of Uber, it would appear that, true to form of the modern profit-driven corporation, it is only in for the profitability.  Once it is no longer profitable — i.e., in the modern context, profitability is defined as experiencing ever greater or increasing financial returns (and not in the traditional “outdated” definition of achieving a positive fiscal net return or bottom line at the end of the fiscal year) — it is time to pull up stakes and look for greener pastures, never mind the concerns and plight or status of those poor souls dependent on the business for their income and financial needs and leave them to fend for themselves.

It is really sad and deplorable that such manners of doing business goes unchecked and as the culture of profit-only mentality spreads progressively, though it is expected for it has already been written in the Holy Scriptures for over two millennia.

TaN: Whenever we do something, regardless of whether the deed will affect others or not, we should always (at the onset) think about the possible consequences and subsequent impact on other people or how we can do it so others will not be burdened or disadvantaged due to our action.

It is very irresponsible and insensitive of and for any person to simply think only of one’s own enjoyment and pleasure without the slightest consideration if our enjoyment will — deliberately or not — negatively impact others, like openly and brazenly flaunting our wealth and affluence in full view of people who are obviously struggling just to make ends meet, like beggars and the homeless who cannot only watch (and probably salivate or drool) longingly to have even just a whiff of the orgy of excessiveness they witness.

To add insult to injury are the gossip shows and programs that display the lavish lifestyles of the rich and famous amid a society dominated by morass of mass poverty and starvation and deprivation.  It is indeed callous of and for the wealthy if they should deliberately and shamelessly display their extravagant and ostentatious (to say the least) lifestyles, although it is quite a different story if they try (their best) to lead private lives while the paparazzi actively seeks them out.  And then there is the gray line where the wealthy live their posh lifestyles and away from the public eye (like exclusive resorts and islands, such as the Riviera and Maldives and other such known places that cater mostly to the rich, powerful, and famous) because they have no intention of unabashedly display their wealth but there is still the matter of the staff and the service people who man the exclusive resorts and hotels et al as well as the locals who support the staff and the service people — providing the supplies (such as food)?  They will still see the lavish lifestyle and they may still feel sorry for themselves, their plight in life.

In any case and in conclusion, in everything that we decide and do, we must always keep in mind of how we will impact other people, although other people should not be overly sensitive or reactive as to be offended at the slightest and unintentional act or display of others.

TaN: Among the most stupid people in the world are celebrities and famous people who wear (whether garments, shoes, jewelry, or whatever) that has the name or brand of the product or business entity emblazoned for all to see — i.e., to be a walking advertisement.  Imagine.  It already costs “an arm and a leg” (though not necessarily for them because they can easily afford it) and they voluntarily and foolishly advertise it for free.  What idiots!  What nincompoops!  What a terrible waste of a human being!

But I take it back (momentarily) with an explanation.  The actual idiots are those who not only unwittingly parade brand names and logos and business images around but even shell out good money to be walking advertisements.  The most obvious case in point are the so-called collectibles from fast-food chains — which used to be given away for free but corporate got wise and realize there are so many fools in the world who will even gladly pay to advertise for free — like those from hyped up movies or concerts.

Not to be left out — and just as idiotic and foolish — are those who are “interviewed” in “exit polls” from movie theaters, concerts, and whatever hyped-up events (mostly in the entertainment world) and even go the extra mile by encouraging, nay aggressively and emotionally convincing, others to patronize what they have just watched or attended.

It is sad that there are people so foolish as to permit themselves to be used and exploited and without any corresponding and appropriate “compensation” in return for their trouble or consent (whether witting or not).  Well, as the saying goes, There is one born every minute — sad but true.

TaN: Large tracts of (especially arable) land that has remained idle for an extended period of time, say one calendar year, should be made available for anyone for personal (i.e., for subsistence or personal or familial consumption purposes only) or the barangay with jurisdiction over it can “expropriately borrow” it for public use but with due notice to the landowner.  The only grounds for disallowance for availment should be that the landowner can show convincing proof and valid and satisfactory reason for the delay in the development or use of his/her/their land.

Even with (relatively) smaller urban (or suburban) land plots, any idle land should be made available for personal or public use — size is (almost) irrelevant (because one can even grow vegetables in sando bags and small tin or plastic cans or any other use for as long as it is not for financial gain or profit or for the common good).  Should the land be used for planting, the intended crop to be planted is determine largely by the size or dimensions of the available land (area), among other considerations or factors.

Moreover, it is a terrible injustice that there are perfectly productive land that are “owned” by private individuals or groups and depriving the needy its benefits.  Given this, I must agree and concede with the late Nito Doria that idle land must be taxed 100% — or, in the case of public land, be made freely (i.e., no taxes or fees or charges shall be imposed or levied) available to any person who so desires to avail of it but only for personal purposes and not for financial gain or profit.

As for public land, any person — not limited to citizens — should be able to make productive use of it, for as long as there is proper notification and permission. In addition, whether public or private land, if financial gain or profit will be derived or result from the use of the idle land, proper rental charges should be imposed but the rent should be fair and not be a burden to both parties, especially the needy.

Making idle land legally available to anyone who wants to and can use it is not only moral but will force and ensure that land will not be left to idle.  Furthermore, this ensures that those who want to be productive and possesses the ability or capacity but not the means can rightfully be productive and contribute to society — aside from not being a burden as to be a dependent or recipient of charity or a one-sided assistance.

One last thing regarding this matter is that the user (i.e., not the government or the private individual land owner) should be the one directly working the land and is not permitted to sub-lease or sub-contract or otherwise pass on the use of the land to another party. Plus, the use of the land must be environmentally sustainable.

TaN: Just the other morning, as I was cleaning up after breakfast, I suddenly realized that there are certain words we have become accustomed to substituting and using as proper and daily for words that have been neglected due to under-usage but are more appropriate and accurate.

A case in point is the Tagalog term of “tama” to mean or refer to being “correct” when the proper term is “wasto“.  “Tama” actually means “hitting the target” or just “hitting something”.

In addition, it is likewise possible that there are identical terms with differing uses or meanings due to different origins — as there are terms in one language that happens to have an identical phonetic twin in another but with a different meaning or connotation, such as the term “daan” in Tagalog which either means “path or way” (as in “ito ang daan” or this is the path or way) or “hundred” (as in “isang daan” or one hundred).

Finally, this is most likely one of the principal reasons behind some of the confusion (semantics) in communicating in these globally interconnected days.  It is very important that our terms and communication be as accurate as possible and that idiomatic expressions, unless the recipient/s is/are familiar with what will be or is being used, should be avoided to avoid confusion or misunderstanding or mis-interpretation.

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