opinion

Uncommon, odd, unaccustomed

October 12, 2019

OUR globe and its population bear innumerable strange facts. Following many people's opinion, this world shows mostly worried characteristics and symptoms nowadays. No wonder. Just try to consume and digest today's headlines and news from all around the globe. Yes, I'm experiencing very strange feelings while watching and reading the daily news. On the other hand: It is a world with quickly bridged distances -  our Mother earth is becoming smaller and smaller. Any tourist, even with little time and with only a small budget, can travel to other faraway cultures. But joining them as well as different races and religious communities requires first of all, great care, tact, instinctive feelings, empathy, and logical ideas. The stranger whom we meet for the first time during a business meeting, for example, maybe an uncommon, odd and extraordinary guy. He may be someone from a foreign country, who speaks another language and whose skin is of another color. He may be a migrant, a restless hiker or the expatriate in our neighborhood. The foreigner beside you and me can become a provocation or a challenge. Strangeness can become exoticism. Maybe, that's why my family and I decided to move to the Philippines. On the other hand - going abroad can open other and even better horizons. We must not feel as "a stranger in paradise". By the way, I never did! However, a migrant bears a juxtaposition of optimism (even calculated optimism!), confused feelings, nostalgia, and homesickness. Yes guys, during the first  years of my expat's life here in the Philippines, the round trip ticket was always in my mind, because no one among us can escape his native roots. But, I am really a lucky guy. I experienced an amazing tolerance in the Philippines. A real practicing tolerance. Until  now! Already, during my first business meetings, I met supportive, forbearing and  broad minded people. A wonderful mix of different cultures without giving up own identities... . The following quotation remains always in my mind: "I have nothing to offer but blood, sweat and tears!" - The British statesman and former Prime Minister Sir Winston L. Churchill (1874-1965) said this in 1940 - certainly, in a sad interrelation during World War II. Anyway, I like that remark. Blood, sweat and tears. Because of new challenges and changes - also as an expatriate in the Philippines doing business here. Every new challenge in a strange country means a change. Changes in life are necessary and important. Let's alter or make a difference; let's put one thing for another; let's shift; let's quit one state for another; let's take fresh clothing. Let's burn the "lock fat" away. Blood, sweat and tears - and remember: nothing comes from anything. +++ Email: doringklaus@gmail.com or follow me in  Linkedin, Facebook or Twitter or visit www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or www.klausdoringsclassicalmusic.blogspot.com.

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No one is clean after all

October 7, 2019

VALENCIA City — “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone” — John 8:7 After a series of Senate inquiry on the alleged “recycling” of confiscated shabu, PNP Chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde is now in hot water of being dragged into the drug trading mess. Albayalde might end up his retiring too soon as pressures on him get hotter by the day — on the allegation that he protected ‘Ninja Cops’ during his time as PNP provincial director in Pampanga.    But for one senator, Gen. Oscar Albayalde still has still the time to regain  public trust before he officially steps down on November 8 - his retirement day. Sen. Panfilo Lacson defended Albayalde saying that no one has come clean in public service. Perhaps the former PNP  Chief-turned- Senator has this biblical verse mind: He that is without sin among you, let him first cast the first stone. investigations are now underway by the Senate and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año before deciding on whether or not to fire Albayalde over his alleged involvement in the so-called ninja cops issue. Asked to air his thoughts on allegations against Albayalde, President Duterte, now back from Russia said he would rather not “preempt” the investigation being conducted by the DILG chief. Duterte expressed confidence that Año would be “in his proper equanimity” when he begins the investigation. Meanwhile, Duterte has admitted that dismissing a top cop should be done “for a good reason” and with “enough proof.” Albayalde has  expressed hope that the allegations hurled against him would not affect Duterte’s trust and confidence in him or the campaign against illegal drugs. It would be up to the President to decide on his fate, he says. · That said, Albayalde is no exception  to the rule. Like anyone of us, he is a sinner and sinners abound elsewhere and everywhere. Shalom! (ruffy44_ph2000@yahoo.com)

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SALT

October 7, 2019

  "You are like salt for the whole human race" (Matthew 5, 13). JUST being back from Manila staying in my office. I found some old clippings from my late grandmother (born 1899!). She taught me many things regarding daily life. I really admired her and didn't care to travel hundreds of miles to her house located in the former East Germany - just to spend a few hours there. The wall and border which divided Germany into two, aggravated such journeys many times. Maybe, I just remember that time, because I happily joined the great celebration of 29 years Germany's unity being in Manila for some days. That's what I kept in heart and mind from my grandmother. There are innumerable thoughts how to convent bible sayings into reality. Salt of the earth: People during various activities and occupations. "Black" and "white" meet each other, shake hands, smile... . And old woman selling vegetables in the market. She looks tired but her features still show hope and peace... . Young people, walking through a shopping mall - laughing, joking, being happy... . Fishermen at the shore doing their work in sorting nets... . Salt on earth: Many things can be like that. Not only during mass service in the church. Not only by preaching. Also these touching hands of my distressed friend, listening to my lonely neighbor; remembering someone and writing him or her a letter or an email. I join others by helping, working, laughing, playing, singing. I listen to love's melody. Salt of the  earth: Christian life doesn't always mean possessions or property. Christian life is doing something, it's collecting one's thoughts. It's giving and receiving. It's a hug or a smile or comforting talk. Christian life means having as Christian acting people in my surroundings. Salt on earth: Of course, as we all know: too much salt is also dangerous to our health. But if we plan to live without any salt, we might fail to survive also. Do you know, that wars have been waged and nations have been extinguished because of salt. Salt is more than a simple stabilizer. Before the refrigerator was invented, salt was a miracle of daily life. Salt made foodstuff keep well. So, let's think about it: if we are part of earth's salt, who are we? Do we bring rottenness or do we preserve and keep well our surroundings? We should be salt on earth as in  cleaning, helping and healing, but not salt, that brings caustic, corroding and mordant poison in other's life. Salt on earth without being dumb, mute, silent, stale, and incompetent! +++ Email: doringklaus@gmail.com or follow me in Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter or visit www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or www.klausdoringsclassicalmusic.blogspot.com.

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On the exit of coal: not in our lifetime?

October 7, 2019

WITH Germany’s recent announcement to close its 84 coal power plants by 2038, is our country ready to follow suit? To date, some 20 coal-fired power plants are operating in the country today. Yet, some of the developed countries like Germany are slowly getting away  from the use of coal. No other country burns excessive coal as Germany. Around a quarter of German electricity comes from the carbon-heavy fuel, also known as brown coal.  Coal is cheap,  mined domestically and  responsible for around 20 percent of  Germany's greenhouse gas emissions. If Germany is dead serious about its target of cutting  emissions to half what they were in 1990 by 2038, dirty coal has to go. That said, the  Movement for Blackout-free Mindanao is sending this distress call  to President Duterte:  stop building coal-fired power plants  under your watch.  Enough with the existing coal plants, and shift on the use of renewable energy as early as now. We badly need your intercession  to address with a sense of urgency the country’s power headache by presenting renewable power solutions acceptable to the people. You promised us about the changes we fought side by side  during the campaign, and one of those was to provide sufficient, adequate, sustainable, environment-driven  and reliable power supply for the country’s inclusive growth. But to address the country’s power lack  through the  dumping  of coal plants all over the islands is another story and something we are dead serious about. We feel worried about what this coal would  bring as far as protecting our people from the discord of environmental collapse.  Fact is,   there are new coal-fired power plants being built right now in Mindanao and elsewhere in the country, some are already in, while others are in the pipeline.   Given this development, these coal plants would definitely translate into additional capacities the island would need to meet its growing demand in the next five years and beyond.  But in this case, power consumers would have   to pay the price of development:  toxic emissions and greenhouse gases. Now, we  would like to invite the President to take a pause and  think for a moment. Do we really need these coal-fired  power plants? We the Movement for a Blackout-free Mindanao, as volunteer watchdog for the efficient and uninterrupted delivery of electricity support this move of ridding the country free from dirty coal unconditionally A win-win solution is what it takes to strike a sustainable, efficient and environment-driven power supply for the country.   The previous administration had been working on a 30-30-30 fuel mix goal to reduce the country’s coal dependence. The remaining 10 per cent comes from oil-based power plants.                 The country’s energy  policy is primarily focused on sourcing out about  30 per cent of its energy requirements from coal, 30 per cent  from renewable energy, and another 30 per cent  from natural gas. Energy sources has revealed that 70 per cent  of the 5,000 megawatts (MW) of power-generating capacity that are being built and will be built until 2020 are coal-based.   Environmentalists  had openly opposed for the use of coal, it being tagged as “dirty energy” because of its toxic emissions.    The use of fossil fuels like coal as an energy source is the number one driver of global warming being a top emitter of greenhouse gases. We are all aware that the cheapest of all fossil fuels is natural gas, and this kind of power source is aplenty  elsewhere in the country.  Why have  we not tapped fully the geothermal sources of electric power? Power consumers  deserve the full attention of the government. (ruffy44_ph2000@yahoo.com). Ruffy Magbanua is chair of the Movement for a Blackout-free Mindanao, a volunteer watchdog for the efficient and uninterrupted delivery of power sourced out from renewable energy.

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No one is clean after all

October 7, 2019

Valencia City — “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone” — John 8:7 After a series of Senate inquiry on the alleged “recycling” of confiscated shabu, PNP Chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde is now in hot water of being dragged into the drug trading mess.       Albayalde might end up his retiring too soon as pressures on him get hotter by the day — on the allegation that he protected ‘Ninja Cops’ during his time as PNP provincial director in Pampanga.        But for one senator, Gen. Oscar Albayalde still has still the time to regain  public trust before he officially steps down on November 8 - his retirement day.       Sen. Panfilo Lacson defended Albayalde saying that no one has come clean in public service.       Perhaps the former PNP  Chief-turned- Senator has this biblical verse mind: He that is without sin among you, let him first cast the first stone.      Investigations are now underway by the Senate and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año before deciding on whether or not to fire Albayalde over his alleged involvement in the so-called ninja cops issue.      Asked to air his thoughts on allegations against Albayalde, President Duterte, now back from Russia said he would rather not “preempt” the investigation being conducted by the DILG chief.      Duterte expressed confidence that Año would be “in his proper equanimity” when he begins the investigation.      Meanwhile, Duterte has admitted that dismissing a top cop should be done “for a good reason” and with “enough proof.”      Albayalde has  expressed hope that the allegations hurled against him would not affect Duterte’s trust and confidence in him or the campaign against illegal drugs. It would be up to the President to decide on his fate, he says.      That said, Albayalde is no exception to the rule. Like anyone of us, he is a sinner and sinners abound elsewhere and everywhere.      Shalom! (ruffy44_ph2000@yahoo.com)

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How Recent Protests Have Impacted Hong Kong Retail

October 7, 2019

As anti-China protests drag into their fourth month, Chinese tourists, feeling the animosity from tourists, are not going to Hong Kong anymore.      In July, mainland Chinese tourist arrivals fell 5.5 percent year-over-year to $4.16 million, accounting for 80.1 percent of total tourist arrivals in the city.      Retailers such as cosmetics chain Sasa International and jewelry chain Chow Sang Sang have fallen 23 percent and 24.5 percent, respectively. Department store chain Sogo saw a 37 percent decline in foot traffic as it shut down its flagship store in Causeway Bay multiple times, due to the protests.      The Hong Kong International Airport, previously one of the world’s busiest airports, canceled flights twice and flight ticket prices have been hammered as protesters attempt to block the roads.      Protests aside, the Chinese yuan has also weakened and Chinese consumers are shifting luxury purchases to mainland China, where consumption taxes have been lowered and e-commerce is more prevalent. The situation has gotten so bad for the retail industry that Hong Kong retail sales fell 11.4 percent in value this past July, the steepest drop in three years.      Notably, 20 to 30 percent of retailers have begun to send full-time employees on unpaid leave, after already laying off part-time workers. The Hong Kong Retail Management Association has already reached out to landlords to ask for a six-month 50 percent rent reduction to help small retail businesses weather the storm.

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