Being deep in thought

January 16, 2020

VERY often - sometimes too often! - the thought is back! If we wake up in the morning (or even many times in the middle of the night), the thought is back. Sometimes, the thought will not let us sleep. The "act of thinking". the "reflection", the "opinion" or the "serious consideration", no matter, how we describe it - our memory and conscience is always with us as a permanent companion. We brood over unsettled problem. Sometimes we bear unfair treatments, arrogance, ignorance, incompetent know-it-all-betters, and unbearable oddballs, who inexorable love to make our life a hell while living themselves a disorderly life. We would not like to be distracted, but we're toying with some good ideas how we could throw overboard all that "human garbage". What will come next is a matter of conjecture. Of course, I've got my ideas, but I'm not a mind reader. Too many trains of thought make us thoughtless and absent-minded especially in difficult and important daily life situations. Does waiting and/or sleeping solve our problems? Or is it just again in time? Our life's central idea should not be, that while waiting, time solves all our problems. Thoughts should intensify, condense and deepen plans follow by actions. It's good and helpful to carry thoughts in us all the time. Incomprehensible, or better unfinished and unmatured thoughts, no matter whether positive or negative, should be slept on, before tiredness outstrips us with supersonic speed. Sometimes, we feel that our thoughts and ideas can't be fulfilled with life. Where the heart is willing, it will find a thousand ways; but where the heart is weak, it will find a thousands excuses. If doubts begin to take roots, we should rouse from pink-tinted idealism or wear down and annihilate nightmares and erase and wipe out such thoughts and ideas. If our thoughts are good and have the chance to be fulfilled in action, especially if "the other side" is prepared and willing to step on to such a bridge of life, we might get a support and words of encouragement. And, if not? No action? Maybe it is God's will to keep and protect us from a careless, rash, disadvantageous and uneasy action. Every new day gives us new inexhaustible possibilities to survive, to bear trials and to start a new beginning. We overlook and fail to notice many chances in lie through our sluggishness and laziness while thinking and dreaming of unequaled and unfulfilled ideas. +++ Email: doringklaus@gmail.com or follow me on Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter or visit www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or www.klausdoringsclassicalmusic.blogspot.com.

Pinoy’s generosity and the single motorcycle woes

January 15, 2020

FIRST off,  let me commend the employees of the Mags store at SM City Cagayan de Oro Uptown for their gracious assistance to me when I dropped by their place recently. Special mention to the employee whose name is Francine for being quite generous with advice and assistance to me. Employees like Francine should be emulated by every store in the country and along with Mags’s beautiful creations, customers like myself would be enticed to go back for return purchases. Again, salutations and thank you to Mags Store at SM CDO Uptown.                                       ****************** The recent Taal volcano eruption showed as always the best and worst in Filipinos and unlike before where stories of both greed and generosity are reported only in traditional media, now they are being shared countless times among netizens around the world through social media. Topping the greed list are the pharmacies and drug stores who jacked up the prices of face masks by more than 100 percent or about seven pesos to P100 a piece, inviting both ire and attention from the public and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Their greed stands in sharp contrast to the generosity shown by everyday Filipinos who give and share what they can to the families displaced and severely affected by the eruption. Truly it is during times of calamity that we witness the best and the worst in humanity. May the stories of those who gave what they can, who helped when they can, inspire us more to also give our share rather than the greed of the moneyed few who will eventually be cast aside and their stench remembered by the public.                     *************** Single motorcycles—be they used for livelihood or personal transport—are quite an annoying and even dangerous presence during traffic congestion in Cagayan de Oro City’s limited road space and I hope the city government can do something about it though I won’t hold my breath for any overnight solutions anytime soon. Every time I come home to the City of Golden Friendship for months long vacation, my husband Ronnie and I would join the hundreds of motorists and commuters in navigating our way through the city’s busy streets which seem to get more crowded with each passing year. I do realize and even acknowledge that single motorcycles are the fastest and most convenient way for commuters to weave their way through the traffic but anyone riding a public utility vehicle (PUV) or driving their own car would be annoyed by the sheer number of motorcycles crowding the limited road space ahead of them just as the traffic lights turn green or the traffic aide gives the ‘go’ signal to proceed. Like cars, motorcycle stores and shops are selling their units cheaper to even bargain basement prices which enticed more Filipinos to buy them on installment basis. As if city residents already have enough problems dealing with car owners and discourteous PUV drivers. Then there’s Angkas, the single motorcycle transport service whose operations in Cagayan de Oro were stopped by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to the consternation of many commuters who found the service as their only hope to travel to and from their office and school on time.                                   ******************* The bottomline solution to this situation is of course, an effective, efficient and convenient mass transport system but setting it up takes years of transport studies and intensive lobbying to domestic and international financial institutions to fund the acquisition of units and infrastructure. But as the recent incident involving irate Bugo route jeepney drivers, the drivers operating the government approved modernized jeepneys and their passengers showed, change poses challenges and invites animosity from those who seek to avoid or oppose it for fear of losing their livelihood. Given this backdrop, it would take time for government and stakeholders to convince motorists driving their own cars and motorcycles to give up or at least limit use of their vehicles in favor of a mass transport system.  And yet the drivers and operators of these existing PUV units insist that they should be prioritized by both government and the public. The existing jeepneys, motorelas and what have you are unsafe, decrepit smoke belchers whose value lies in the fact that they’re the cheapest, most prevalent mode of public transport. It’s time for the commuters to speak up and demand better service not only from government but also from existing transport operators and drivers.

Middle East remains fragile, Pres. Trump’s reelection seen

January 14, 2020

THE advent of the year 2020 has everyone getting a glimpse of the challenges and opportunities ahead. The Iran-US conflict almost blew out of proportion. The community of nations followed the unfolding event, up close and personal. There is no doubt that the delicate Iran-US conflict brought every world leader on the toe. In some corners, those with fertile imaginations were already trying to configure the raising of the Armageddon curtains in the smoldering desert of the Middle East. WWIII! The unstable price of oil in the world market unprecedentedly moved while oil dependent countries, like the Philippines, expected gloomy days ahead. In fact, President Rodrigo Duterte called an emergency meeting to reactivate the “task force” that would evacuate Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) in the Middle East. The time of uncertainty was the call of the day. However, the fidgety international community heaved a sigh of relief with the US stepping a foot backward. Frisky US President Donald Trump cools down when no American casualties were reported. Iran launched a barrage of missile attacks on US bases in Iraq, a few days after the killing of Iran’s top General. The imminent conflict started with the controversial killing of Maj. General Quasem Soleimani, the top man of the Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Iran accused the US of assassinating Soleimani while about to board a car at the Bhagdad International Airport. The US accused Soleimani of killing hundreds of Americans in Iraq. Trump alleged that the killing of Soleimani was precipitated following intelligence report that Soleimani was plotting to attack and kill Iraq-based Americans. He said that the timely killing of Soleimani nips in the bud Iran’s sinister plot to kill Americans in Iraq. According to Trump, Soleimani was in the Order of Battle even before he became President. The plan to kill Soleimani was carried out on his order. An armed military drone killed Soleimani while he was about to board his car. The US prepares the possible consequences and shows that it is ready to meet force with force following the deployment of additional 3,500 US troops a day after the incident. Contrary to the cooling down of the Iran-US conflict in the surface, Iran’s simmering anger is seething in silence. Candidly, the peace and order situation in Iraq remain unstable. Anytime, the skies in the Middle East will turn into a fireball of an escalated armed conflict. God Forbids, Nostradamus prophesied that “in the year 2020 in the 10th month plus 10, the man in crimson seating in leather will push the red button. Weapons of war will scem in the sky That same year even holy men will become enemies They will unfairly attempt to suppress the sacred law The believers will die by war and shock.” In addition, Nostradamus predicted that “Turmp will be reelected US President in 2020.”

Grammarly machine for research articles

January 13, 2020

IT is common for research journal publishers to use a software of grammarly machine. For English native speakers, writing academic articles is easier than the non-native speakers. To avoid grammatical mistakes, the journal publishers use a grammarly machine software. This machine is used for especially the articles written by the nonnative speakers. We can find both the strengths and weaknesses. As an editor and reviewer since 1989, I have found a number of interesting comments made by the grammarly machine. In some ways, this grammarly machine is very accurate. For example, when it deals with punctuation and complicated sentences (wordy sentences), it can detect them accurately. I am really amazed with this result. However, for certain aspects, this machine is weak. Not all of the specific terms of science have been adopted by the grammarly machine. For example, in linguistics, there is a term of interlanguage (language in the learning process). The grammarly machine gives a red line. It is stated that it is wrong. The machine suggests to change by giving the alternatives. It suggests to change the term of “interlanguage” into “international language.” If we follow that suggestion, the essence of the scientific article must be misleading. The reasoning power is scientifically decreased. In other words, the scientific article becomes unscientific. Another example, in economics, we have the terms "accounts receivable” and "accounts payable."  The grammarly machine suggests to change them into “receivable account” and “payable account.” In terms of head and modifier in English grammar, this suggestion is correct. But so far, that's what has always been used in economics: finance and accounting. All the keywords related to discipline of science above are declared incorrect. All the technical terms above throughout the text are underlined in red. The most uniquely, when the scientific article deals with medical science, including dentistry that is more specialist. Few years ago, I often received consultations related to scientific articles in medicine. There were many errors as identified by the grammarly machine. Grammatically, they were low and did not meet the standard of scientific journals. Many were red underlined. When I discussed it with the author face to face, I could get a clear answer. I asked for confirmation whether they were all wrong. Unfortunately, almost everything was not true according to the author. If they were changed based on the grammarly machine suggestion, they would be completely wrong. Not to mention other weaknesses. For example, grammarly machine cannot analyze the organizational side of reasoning. In scientific articles, there is the term "moves". For this, we can read my book about thought organizations in abstract international scientific articles published by the Jakarta Index publishing company. Every paragraph of scientific writing has a reasoning organization. For example, the main topic and the details. The main sentence can be either deductive or inductive (at the beginning and at the end of the paragraph). If the main sentence is at the beginning, it's a deductive type paragraph. If the main sentence is at the end, it is an inductive paragraph type. This is all the readers already know. There are also mixed paragraphs: the main sentence is at the beginning and at the end, although the way of writing is somewhat different. Among several paragraphs, there is also the “moves”. It is important for scientific journal editors to understand. The systematic thought and flow can lead to the end in the form of research framework. The good or bad points of scientific articles are precisely in this section. Unfortunately, grammarly machine cannot detect it. Foreign language editors always understand English written by a nonnative speaker. Editing the grammatical mistakes is easy but editing the organization is more difficult. The organization of scientific writing is more important because it is difficult to edit or revise if language editors do not master the fields or disciplines in the scientific article. The grammar machine cannot do it. Dr. Djuwari is the director of language laboratory at STIE Perbanas Surabaya, the editor of some research journals in the Philippines and Indonesia. He is also a journalist in some newspapers in Indonesia; the president of international association of scholarly publishers, editors, and reviewers (IASPER).

So much the better!

January 10, 2020

WE could spend all year living healthier, more productive lives, so why do we only decide to make the change at the start of the year? Why do we all make (and break) New Year resolutions? Many of us will start 2020 with resolutions – to get fit, learn a new skill, eat differently. If we really want to do these things, why did we wait until an arbitrary date which marks nothing more important than a timekeeping convention? British psychologist Tom Stafford asked this. And not only he. The answer tells us something important about the psychology of motivation, and about what popular theories of self-control miss out. Today is a very cool and rainy day. I am lazy. Not on the mood to do anything. It's even difficult to write this column. But my motivation gets bigger and bigger while writing. New Year resolutions? Many writers discussed about this topic already. Here are my two cents in. While celebrating during New Year's night, my family and friends found out, that what we want isn't really straightforward. At bedtime you might want to get up early and go for a run, but when your alarm goes off you find you actually want a lie-in. When exam day comes around you might want to be the kind of person who spent the afternoons studying, but on each of those afternoons you instead wanted to hang out with your friends. Believe me - I heard it many times from my students. You could see these contradictions as failures of our self-control: impulses for temporary pleasures manage to somehow override our longer-term interests. One fashionable theory of self-control, proposed by Roy Baumeister at Florida State University, is the 'ego-depletion' account. This theory states that self-control is like a muscle. This means you can exhaust it in the short-term – meaning that every temptation you resist makes it more likely that you'll yield to the next temptation, even if it is a temptation to do something entirely different. A corollary of the 'like a muscle' theory is that in the long term, you can strengthen your willpower with practice. So, for example, Baumeister found that people who were assigned two weeks of trying to keep their back straight whenever possible showed improved willpower when asked back into the lab. But, and more importantly, that theory doesn't give an explanation why we wait for New Year's Day to begin exerting our self-control. If your willpower is a muscle, you should start building it up as soon as possible, rather than wait for an arbitrary date. Another explanation may answer these questions, although it isn't as fashionable as ego-depletion. George Ainslie's book 'Breakdown of Will' puts forward a theory of the self and self-control which uses game theory to explain why we have trouble with our impulses, and why our attempts to control them take the form they do. The virgin page of a new calendar marks a clean break between the old and new you - a psychological boundary that may help you keep your resolutions. And, so to speak with Tom Stafford again, Ainslie gives us an answer to why our resolutions start on 1st January. The date is completely arbitrary, but it provides a clean line between our old and new selves. The practical upshot of the theory is that if you make a resolution, you should formulate it so that at every point in time it is absolutely clear whether you are sticking to it or not. The clear lines are arbitrary, but they help the truce between our competing interests hold. Let me ask you now,  my dear readers: How about your 2020 resolutions! +++ Email: doringklaus@gmail.com or follow me in Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter or visit www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or www.klausdoringsclassicalmusic.blogspot.com.

Trump’s gambit and the signal shutdown

January 9, 2020

AS I write this, US President Donald Trump has signified at least publicly that he won’t order retaliatory strikes against Iran which launched missiles at two American bases in Iraq after a Jan. 2 US raid that killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and for now I join the rest of the world in breathing a collective sigh of relief for now. Like a lot of people, my husband Ronnie and I were convalescing/relaxing with family and friends in Cagayan de Oro City and Tagoloan town, Misamis Oriental when we were stunned by the news of the US raid which took out the general that was blamed for a lot of attacks that claimed the lives of American troops. And while I know that it will invite derision from a lot of Trump critics, I do support Trump’s decision to order the US raid and based on what I read online,  Trump’s statements are both measured and firm, signifying that his administration won’t contribute to escalating tensions with Iran but neither would he back down from any further aggression. Much as a lot of Pinoys are joining others across the globe in calling for peace in the Middle East, we have to admit that we can contribute little if at all in easing the ongoing tensions between the US and Iran other than daily prayers.  And Trump knows that the missile attack won’t be the last reprisal from Iran for Soleimani’s death. Then again, life goes on for the rest of us ordinary people and amid the unease created by these global incidents, Filipinos especially the government should take stock of these developments and institute safety nets that would cushion the obvious fallout such as rising oil prices.                         **************** I also take note of the signal shutdown implemented by the Philippine National Police (PNP) for the Jan. 9 Black Nazarene procession in Cagayan de Oro City that drew hundreds of Catholic Kagay-anons in the streets and I wonder, owing to my infrequent trips back home to my land of birth, whether this is now official policy for the country’s law enforcement agencies for major events. The official explanation as far as I can read online is that the signal shutdown is a preventive measure against any terrorist bomb attacks which can be triggered by phone. And I understand that this is also being enforced for the Sinalog Grand Parade in Cebu City on the third week of this month. Am not really that familiar about the latest security developments around the world but I can imagine that signal shutdowns are not being enforced in First World countries like the US which had its share of terror attacks however infrequent in both pre and post 9-11 eras. Which is why I question, however well intentioned, the effectively of signal shutdowns in stopping terrorist bomb attacks.  There are those who even made derogatory remarks about it, saying that the PNP is being lazy by relying on signal shutdowns to stave off any bombing attempts, however high tech, crude or remote these may be. But based on my reading of public sentiment, a lot of city residents may be pissed off  by this but they are supportive, however grudgingly, of the signal shutdown despite the temporary inconvenience it may cause to them.  And I trust that, as I write this piece, that the shutdown was lifted not long after the Black Nazarene procession.                           ****************** By the time this piece comes out, all of us would have marked the first week of 2020 and there are still so many stories I hope to write to you my dear readers while I’m still vacationing in Cagayan de Oro City with husband Ronnie and the rest of my family. Of particular interest of course—and knowing Pinoys especially Kagay-anons to be quite fond of this aside from showbiz and basketball—are the political developments in both the local and national fronts.  I’ll try to keep both eyes and ears open for any that would be of serious consideration for discussion now and in the future.


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