Wednesday, August 27, 2008


What is interesting about the Olympics is that it is never just about the sports. Take for example, the Georgia-Russia beach volleyball match (I think the former won with Russia saying the Georgian players were actually Brazilians) while tension is still felt in their respective countries (I've read somewhere there were other sports the two batted each other out). Well, of course it is about the Olympics naturally, the biggest, grandest sports gathering of world-class athletes coming together in unity and solidarity through sports, but it's not without any political appetizers. In fact, Olympics is actually about the politics of that host nation.

And it's more resounding now because China is this year's host. And leave they will not with any political statement. Boy did it end blazingly glorious too. The opening reportedly costs a whopping $100M (jeez, imagine what it can do to offset the poverty incidence in the country). Both opening and closing ceremonies are powerful manifestations of what China is and will be willing to do. Aside from the Chinese evolution evoked in such grandiose fashion, the firework frenzy smartly reflects the Chinese culture itself. The visual grandeur of the Olympics has shown us not only the spectacle but the country's economic prowess; the strength of the 600++-strong delegation mirroring the Chinese's mounting political strength. And yes, they championed over The Superpower.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Basket case

Perhaps, that's why we hate them (well at least for NBA haters) so much. Because they are actually good. Unfortunately, their bravado exceeds a hundred times than their court prowess. Ok, so they beat Spain, basketball world champs. So they were redeemed from the 2004 Athens loss. But is this victory actually a bacon brought about by the sincerest aspirations to excel in the sport? To show to the entire world, that even without drafts it can actually prove its worth?

American basketball is one big slam-dunkin' marketing strategy, stupid.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Musharaff parallelisms, etc.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharaff resigned recently due to mounting political pressures and a resounding call for his ouster particularly from the rival party.

Musharaff resigned instead of facing Pakistan’s first-ever impeachment, but with a last defiant outburst of bravado.

"They want to impeach me now. Why do they want to do it?" a downcast Musharraf said in a televised address in which he denied any wrongdoing. "Do they want to cover their failure?"

...while few doubted he wanted a stable, religiously moderate Pakistan, his commitment to democracy was shaky. His popularity plummeted in 2007, when he declared a state of emergency and sacked independent-minded Supreme Court judges who could have barred his re-election.
He also became famous for “dragging” his nation into the US’s war on terror.
...the former military commando's decision to side with Washington after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks earned Western plaudits and an injection of much-needed aid that helped rescue Pakistan from bankruptcy and the status of an international pariah.
Matthew Pennington of Associated Press sums up Musharaff's 9 years in power.

The U.S. however is constantly doubtful of Musharaff's stance, with Pakistan's increasing propensity for terrorist coddling as political experts perceive Pakistan would be the next Al Qaeda stronghold. While political and public opinion have been increasingly unenthusiastic over the war, er, foreign policy on Iraq, US intervention would still likely to protract in the Middle East particularly in Afghanistan and Pakistan, though Iran may still be on on the sidelines.

Iran who has caught the US, er, the world's ire with its nuclear policies (mind you, the laboratories are terrifyingly amazing). Very funny and interesting though is that, Iran, whose President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is my current favorite president name, imported around $12 million worth of bull semen. What are they gonna use it for, hmmm? Jeez.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Despite the several ruckuses over the supposed fake, CG-ed fireworks during the opening, under-aged Chinese girls competing in the artistic gymnastics and even the shameless lip-synching, the games were fairly enjoyable and nothing quite short of remarkable. (I am enraged over the supposed lip-synching. The little girl who owned the voice was not only robbed of a worthy opportunity but she became a victim of a people beleaguered by an inferiority complex, a crush-US sentiment.)

I watched Wall-E during its opening night here last Wednesday so I stayed home over the weekends and yesterday (except Saturday evening) watching the games.

And gosh, did I already say that Phelps was a swimming god, god! He bagged his 8th gold medal during the 4x100 relay during the last day at the Olympic pool, making him the greatest Olympian by far, outshining Mark Spitz, the Olympic swimmer who reaped 7 gold medals in one Olympic Games in 1972. Though the last round was a dead giveaway, Australia almost stole that coveted medal by a margin. Phelps did really great on the butterfly round, his specialty actually. And gosh, did he cry when that Special Citation was given to him. Meanwhile, an unknown Tunisian with a the first name of the Al Qaeda leader, Oussama Mallouli swam the Men 1500 m grabbing the gold from previous title holder Grant Hackett of Australia.

In one of the most enjoyable bouts over the weekend, Rafael Nadal, with his trademark facial contortion when he serves, once again proved he’s the best in the world. Nadal, in three straight rounds, beat Federico Gonzales of Chile who struggled every set and round over the Spanish who was the favourite to win the gold. Elena Dementieva, who remained composed throughout the match, won for Russia the gold in the women singles division over fellow Russian Dinara Safina. Another Russian, Zvonareva bagged the bronze.

As a kid, I have always been amazed of the Olympics. I used to browse through a collection of Olympics encyclopaedia we used to own as an added treat to the voluminous Colliers which was pawned ages ago. The Olympics series was tattered, forgotten, lost.

Track and Field was one interesting category for me for instance not only because of the excitement on who’s going to be the recent fastest man/woman on the planet, it also offers an array of sports, some of them date back to ancient Athens like the discus throw. This year, the steeplechase category was added which is quite similar to the hurdles except that all athletes are required to jump over a long, single hurdle plus some water obstacles.

I think T&F is officially named now as athletics and boy are the Jamaicans on fire! Fastest man and woman on the planet are courtesy of them Usain Bolt (a very apt name indeed) now holds the world record of 9.69 seconds. Ethiopia, a famished country in Africa has gold and silver to the Men 1500 m. A relatively unknown country Cameroon also has gold in athletics.

The winning athletes are ecstatic during the victory ceremonies, some teary-eyed while their national anthems are being played, donning their precious medals and clutching their simple bouquets, waving to their fans and posing for the cameras. Glorious moments.

Meanwhile in the Philippines, Mindanao is confronted with beleaguered MILF troops who wreaked havoc over the past days on some areas leaving a number of civilians dead and hundreds of evacuees. Caught on tape is the President, furious at the unpreparedness of her staff on an abrupt press briefing. Despite some supposed teleprompter mishaps, she managed to say that amidst the atrocities, “we’re all in this together” in the quest for peace. The whole country now beholds.

Photos thru the 2008 Beijing Olympics site courtesy of: (1) Cameron Spencer/Getty Images; (2) Vladimir Rys/Bongarts/Getty Images; (3) Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Last Sunday I almost tripped the hot soup I was transferring onto a bowl while watching the Argentina-Australia football (soccer) match. I think I must have shouted too. You can feel the anguish and anxiety in the Argentines’ kicks and butts and after 77 minutes of nil Argentina scored their single goal.

I remembered watching the World Cup with Italy-France battling in 2006 in a European owned bar in the city where my former German friend and colleague Peter treated me to endless booze. The crowd was roaring and the intensity of the game was just hot. Even though the Arg-Aus game was not even finals yet the intensity was just there. Hey, it’s the Olympics for Chrissakes.

After watching a grueling performance the other night, where I gaped in awe at the immense weight these women have to endure, I have now a strong sense of respect for the women weightlifters. Chen Yanqing of China is unbelievable. Unlike the Korean who looks almost like a man and who seems like she’s going to deliver a baby any minute, the Chinese’s composure was truly admirable. Even when she’s shouting and doing the final lift, it’s as if she’s walking the runway.

Michael Phelps is an unstoppable swimming god. To date, he is now the person in Olympic history who’s got most gold medals, and I surmise in any sporting event. Uh, he’s only 23, right?

The U.S. Dream Team is doing their basketball rampage. But after crushing Yao and China, they were given a run for their money with the match with Angola. I would like to see Argentina crush these bastards once again like they did in Athens. But the team looks formidable with the LeBron-Kobe tour-de-force.

Georgia, who’s being bombed by Russia now, is in 10th place, and a relatively unknown country called Azerbaijan is in the 14th overall rank. So are other –tan countries like Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan who also have their medals to boot. China has the most number of gold medals, with 17 but US has the most number of medals.

The Filipino athletes who competed already failed to clinch a medal. Hidilyn Diaz, the 17 year old Filipina weightlifter is promising though.

Meanwhile, in the Philippines, the entire nation will behold the oral arguments on the MOA on Ancestral Domain tomorrow.

Photo credit: Beijing 2008 website

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

quatre coups

(A) Four places I go over and over:

Davao-Bukidnon-Cagayan Road – I’d trade a plane ride for a land trip in this long strip of Mindanao landscapes.

Booksales of Victoria Plaza and NCCC Mall – In about a year, I will prolly memorize every book in every nook and cranny in these sections of the local malls.

Piracy havens of Davao City -- Because of the intensified campaign of OMB, I’d rather not divulge the specific locations or else I wouldn’t enjoy scouring my precious films anymore.

The bathroom -- how in the hell would i get clean...hehehe... (*evil grin*)

(B) Four people who e-mail me regularly: people of the Mindanao Bloggers forum; people at Google Alerts who keep updating me on
Mindanao, BIMP-EAGA and peace and development news; wait that’s a lot of people already…

(C) Four of my favorite places to eat? If you’d see me now then you’d prolly say I’d eat anywhere as long as there is good food…

(D) Four places you'd rather be? A wheat farm in
Oklahoma or fishing village in Rhode Island; a vineyard or apple orchard in the French Riviera; a stone house in one of the islands off Sicily; or a nipa/makeshift hut in the Phi Phi Islands of Thailand.

(E) Four people I think will respond: ugh, I hate to impose but bad sex daw for 4 years (*evil grin*) JP, Chard, Mauro, and Kuya Jon (you have to ‘Ya, hehehe).

(F) Four TV shows I could watch over and over: Arrested Development, The Practice, Six Feet Under (even though I haven’t finished all seasons yet), and
Roswell or X-Files.

Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family, Choose a f—king big television. Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance. Choose fixed-interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose a three piece suit on hire purchased in a range of f—king fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the f—k you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing f—king junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, f—ked-up brats you have spawned to replace yourself. Choose a future. Choose life . . . But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life. I chose somethin’ else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you’ve got heroin?

Renton, Trainspotting