Monk’s Hobbit posts for August 2013

Mission and Vision of Monk’s Hobbit

The Mission and Vision of Monk’s Hobbit is to strengthen the Catholic Faith of Filipinos worldwide. The blog posts are limited to the following labels: Business, Economics, Films, History, Literature, Liturgy, Music, News, Politics, Science, and Theology. These labels appear on the tabs at the top. Click on each tab and all posts with that label will appear. Click on the Monk’s Hobbit Title Banner and you’ll go to the home page to see all articles.

Memories of Mar Girgis Church in Egypt before the Great Burning

About a train ride from Helwan University is Girgis station. It is named after St. George the Dragon Slayer. In this place is the Coptic Church of Mar Girgis which was recently burned by supporters of Muslim Brotherhood. There were already 64 churches burned in Egypt in a single day. Unbelievable. Such wanton hate which reminds me of the burning of Minas Tirith.

Latin Mass at the Oratory of St. Ignatius of Loyola on 17 August 2013, 8:30 am

The Ateneo Latin Mass Society cordially invites you to a Latin Mass in Extraordinary Form in honor of St. Hyacinth, confessor with the Octave of the Blessed Virgin Mary and st. Lawrence on Saturday, 17 August 2013, 8:30 am at the Oratory of St. Ignatius of Loyola, Loyola House of Studies, Ateneo de Manila University. Fr. Tim Ofrasio, SJ shall celebrate the mass.

Ateneo Latin Mass 17 August 2013: Some pictures

Here are some pictures of the Latin Mass that was held today, 17 August 2013, 8:30 am at the Oratory of St. Ignatius of Loyola, Loyola House of Studies, Ateneo de Manila. The mass was celebrated in honor of St. Hyacinth with the Octave of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of St. Lawrence. Fr. Tim Ofrasio, SJ celebrated the mass. The Mass was sponsored by the Ateneo Latin Mass Society. Other pictures can be found in my Google Plus album.

Raise the Shire! Hobbits to gather in Luneta against Pork Barrel

There is a new Facebook page: “Million people march to Luneta August 26 sa araw ng mga bayani. Protesta ng bayan!” Below are the aims of the organizers of the march: “We, the taxpayers, want: the pork barrel scrapped, the senators and congressmen in the pork barrel fund scam investigated and charged accordingly, with full media coverage for the people to see.

Janet Napoles and Shelob the Great

Shelob is the giant spider-like creature that lived in Morgul Vale, guarding the secret path to Sauron’s realm in Mordor: “There agelong she had dwelt, an evil thing in spider-form, even such as once of old had lived in the Land of the Elves in the West that is now under the Sea, such as Beren fought in the Mountains of Terror in Doriath, and so came to Luthien upon the green sward amid the hemlocks in the moonlight long ago.”

Gandalf and Christ: Setting fire on earth and hearts

In today’s Gospel, Christ said: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!” (Lk 12:49). During Pentecost, Christ fulfilled His wish

Ang Kapatiran Party starts signature campaign vs Pork Barrel System in

This 21 August 2012, the National Holiday in commemoration of the death of Ninoy Aquino, Ang Kapatiran Party (Kapatiran sa Pangkalahatang Kabutihan or The Alliance for the Common Good) is making a signature campaign to abolish the Pork Barrel in Pangulong Benigno Aquino III: Wakasan na ang Pork Barrel System/PDAF. Please visit this site and sign the petition as I did. The petition is in Filipino. Here’s my translation.

Birth Control: Always winter, but never Christmas

In C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 2), a White Witch ruled Narnia for a hundred years, making it “always winter, but never Christmas.” In this post, I would like to reflect on the phrase “always winter, but never Christmas” in the context of the demographic winter and the Birth Control.

Book Review of Ricardo Semler’s “Maverick”: The glory of a company is man fully alive

I finished reading Maverick: The Success Story Behind the World’s Most Unusual Workplace by Ricardo Semler. I noticed that the principles that Semler used to run Brazil’s SEMCO are based on Gospel values, though he may not consciously do so. The overarching principle of Semler’s company management that we can deduce from his book is this: The glory of the company is man fully alive.

Vilma Santos’s Extra in Cinemalaya 2013: Mystery of the Face

Extra (The Bit Player) starring Vilma Santos is a movie entry to the Cinemalaya 2013. The extras are the hobbits in the movie industry governed by wizards (movie directors) and powerful lords (producers). Extra is a movie about the life of these little people that makes movies happen. As Loida (Vilma) said, it is the crowd that define the setting, for what is a restaurant without ordinary people eating or a street without people walking by? “I used to be part of the crowd, too, ” Loida told a young girl. “But look at me now, I am a still part of the crowd.” She laughed.

Crowd estimate of Anti-Pork Barrel Rally at Luneta last 26 Aug 2013

A friend in Filipinos for Life asked me to make make a crowd estimate of the Luneta Rally last 26 Aug 2013. She sent me an aerial photograph of the crowd by Architect Paulo Alcazaren in Inquirer, which I used it as the basis of my crowd estimate, assuming there are no other persons outside the picture. There is also another excellent photo by Alcazaren in GMA Network.

SLSSG: Traditional Latin Mass Schedule for September 2013

Societas Liturgiae Sacrae Sancti Gregorii is an apostolate dedicated to the celebration, promotion and propagation of the Traditional Latin Mass of St. Gregory the Great, implementing the Motu Proprio, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM as envisioned by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

Is the viability of a fertilized ovum a condition for its humanity as claimed by Lagman?

Let’s state Lagman’s definitions, though we may disagree with him. For him, conception is different from fertilization. Fertilization is the meeting of the egg (ovum) and the sperm. Conception is the implantation of this fertilized ovum on the woman’s uterus.

Bernardo M. Villegas: Reproductive Health Bill is a Dead Issue

May 14, 2010

RH Bill Is A Dead Issue

Whoever gets elected as the next President of the Philippines, he would be well advised to assign the lowest priority to population management or population control among his immediate concerns during the first 100 days of his mandate. In fact, I would even say he should dismiss it as a dead issue. There are more positive, direct and effective solutions to mass poverty and unemployment that are free from controversy. Although I respect economists and other experts who strongly support population management as a means of combatting mass poverty, the truth is that there is absolutely no consensus among leading economists both here and abroad about the correlation between population growth and poverty. There are Nobel laureates and other leading international and national economists on both sides of the debate. The jury is still out about whether or not promoting the use of artificial contraceptives could be a major solution to mass poverty.

As a long-standing critic of population control, let me summarize here why a legislation like the RH Bill could be economically counterproductive. The most recent evidence that a large population is an asset and not a liability to a developing country like the Philippines is what I call the “VIP phenomenon.” During the Great Recession we have just experienced, only three countries in East Asia (with the exception of China) avoided a recession. These are Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines (the VIP countries of the ASEAN). A key explanation for the resilience of these three countries is their large domestic markets that partly insulated them from the depressive impact of a shrinking world economy. Even if they also experienced large declines in their exports like the tiger economies such as Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan (which all suffered a recession), their large populations served as strong domestic markets for their business enterprises, both large and small. In the next ten to twenty years, the countries with large populations such as China, India, Brazil, Indonesia and others will be the engines of growth, eclipsing the aging OECD countries who, with the exception of the United States, are all suffering from the devastating effects of the demographic winter.

Another strong argument against population control is the peculiar case of Thailand. Even prescinding from the ongoing political unrest, Thailand’s still relatively large population of over 60 million did not enable it to get into the list of the Next Eleven emerging markets that will dominate the global economy. Because of a very aggressive population control program in the last century, Thailand is in serious danger of growing old before becoming rich. Despite its extraordinary success in improving the productivity of its agricultural sector by investing wisely in countryside infrastructure, Thailand is still far from being a developed country. But its aging population is now growing faster than its labor force, threatening to engulf the country in a demographic winter too prematurely. To make matters worse, the aggressive distribution of condoms in the last century has made Thailand the worst victim of HIV-AIDS in East Asia, with some 1 million people infected with this dreaded disease. Being once considered our non-identical twin, Thailand should be a model for us in the area of agricultural development. But we should avoid literally like the plague its population control experience.

The next President knows very well that the most serious challenge to his Administration will be to raise government revenues in order to reduce the fiscal deficit, while still spending large amounts in infrastructures and in improving the quality of public education. Time and again, we have been told by international agencies, both public and private, that 400 billion pesos are being lost to corruption every year. About half of this is due to those who cheat the Government by not paying their taxes. This is private sector corruption, with the connivance of BIR officials. The other half is due to corrupt government officials in the Department of Education, Department of Public Works, Department of Agriculture and others who channel public funds to private pockets. By aggressively going after these corrupt people, as President SBY of Indonesia has done in his first five years, the next Administration will be able to significantly reduce the fiscal deficit while still having enough revenues to continue improving our physical infrastructure and the quality of education.

It would really be foolish for the next President to assign any importance to the RH Bill which can only divide the country needlessly and not even promise an immediate solution to the pressing problems of the national economy. As I have written so often, there are dozens of tried and tested solutions to mass poverty in the Philippines, solutions that can easily generate consensus. Among them are building farm-to-market roads, irrigation systems and post-harvest facilities; providing microcredit to the poor; developing small and medium-scale enterprises; putting up vocational and technical schools for the out-of-school youth; financing social housing for the poor; and teaming up with the private sector to assist returning OFWs in starting sustainable small businesses in which they can invest their savings. Let us ignore the voices of those in the new Congress who will try to resuscitate a dead horse, the very controversial RH Bill.
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