Monday, January 31, 2005

Unforgettable Sunday

It was another Sunday for Milan to forget as the Rossoneri made it two defeats in a row after a 1-0 set-back to Bologna at a chilly San Siro. Coach Carlo Ancelotti’s side dominated possession for the whole game but fell to a Tomas Locatelli goal after 27 minutes in what was the visitor’s one clear-cut chance. The result also left Milan eight points behind Juventus who won at Atalanta. Milan had already seen a wonderful Vikash Dhorasoo volley disallowed before the Rossoblu scored and then lost Andriy Shevchenko to injury. The second half continued the one-way traffic and substitute Massimo Ambrosini had a header cleared off the line but at the end of the day there was little to warm the home support.

Marat Safin won the Aus Open, winning three straight sets after bungling with the first set 1-6.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Tiger's No. 1 again in earnings

Tiger ended his 16-month drought in PGA Tour stroke-play events by winning the Buick. And he did it without his "A" game, hitting just 25 fairways, the fifth-worst driving accuracy performance of his career. Luckily for Tiger, his putter was hot. He is No. 1 again in earnings.

Roddick lost to Hewitt in 4 sets. Hewitt plays the first ever night finals at the Australian Open. He could become the first Aussie since 1976 to win the Open if he beats giant-killer Marat Safin.

19 years

Today marks 19 years since I made the greatest decision in my life. I was ending my freshman year at university, marked by alternative classes because of political upheavals in the country then. I think that situation also helped me pray and think through this decision. I am happy.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Sports update

It's an All-American women's finals on Saturday, Serena disposing of Maria to battle Lindsay who beat Nathalie in their semis. Marat Safin beat Roger Federer in 5 sets to meet the Roddick-Hewitt winner in the men's finals on Sunday.

Watch out for this boy wonder: Brazilian phenom, 9 yr old Jean Carlos Chera is catching the attention of pro teams like Manchester United. As SI says: At this rate, sonograms will become a soccer recruiting tool pretty soon. Another Freddy Adu?
It was an exciting evening of Italian Cup action at the San Siro as Milan overcame Udinese 3-2 in their quarter-final first leg. It was also a special night for three Rossoneri stars in particular as Massimo Ambrosini grabbed two goals and hit the post, Serginho scored the winner, with a wonderful curling free-kick and Pippo Inzaghi made his long-awaited return from injury, coming on as a substitute in the second half. However, the popular striker injured his hand in a collision with goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis and x-rays on Thursday confirmed he had fractured and discolated his thumb. Hopefully, it will not mean another extended stay on the sidelines for Pippo. The Rossoneri will now take a precious lead into the return leg in Friuli, but just as importantly, it was the perfect way to overcome the disappointment of the Livorno game and prepare for the Serie A encounter with Bologna at the weekend.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

A drop of blood

Cut myself shaving today. And with a Gillette Mach3, that meant three cuts in one go, bloody mess.
But nothing compared to all the blood spilled on the streets of Cebu City, where vigilantes (Hizzoner says he might have inspired them) have permanently disabled more than 20 "criminal elements" in less than two months.
Pros and cons. A lot. And a lot of talk. A lot of killings too.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Sports news

The Rossoneri (AC Milan) lost Sunday to Livorno (0-1) to fall back 5 points from Juventus (47-42) in Serie A play. Forza Milan!

Tiger Woods ended his stroke-play drought with final-round 68 in the Buick Invitational for a total 16-under 262 and earned $864,000, putting him atop the PGA Tour money list for the first time in 16 months. He last won in stroke-play 16 months ago in the American Express Championship in October 2003.

Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova will meet in the semis of the Australian Open with almost similar scores in their quartes. Serena beat Amelie Mauresmo 6-2, 6-2, while Maria lost the first set to Svetlana Kuznetsova 4-6 but took the next two 6-2 6-2. As they say, screeching Maria versus sexy Serena.

Agassi plays Roger Federer in their quarters later Tuesday.

Inter-island travel

Since a little over a year ago, I have been making fortnightly trips to Cagayan de Oro City. I usually take the overnight boat trip (to and from CdO) on one of the passenger vessels of either one of three major compannies (Cebu Ferries, Sulpicio, and Trans-Asia). The boat ride is usually uneventful, but sometimes, the trip can be memorable.

I've met old friends and acquiantances on board, happy to have talked to them again after a long time. I've befriended some on board too -- there are passengers who are regular travelers on these boats, so they are like old friends too. There are movies on board, and movies are good. One company has Dream Satellite tv and that makes for good entertainment. One company shows DVD movies, although probably bootleg. The other one shows only free tv shows -- although I heard that passengers with suite accommodations never had it so good with DVD movies. These are the good memories.

Then there are the not so pleasant memories. Among people-memories come the sound sleepers. With them around, they are the only ones who can sleep soundly for their nocturnal sounds prevent the others from having their own restful slumber -- and they are fast sleepers too, they beat us to the draw. Good thing is that these boats sell beer, so for the really hard-to-sleep people, alcohol can help hasten drowsiness.

Sometimes, reservations are all messed up, and you end up with a group of women in a cabin. They are as scared and uncomfortable as you are. Usually, housekeeping can sort out the mess.

Then again, there are also the sloppy ones. While eating in the cabins is not tolerated, a little snack and drink is fine. But eating a full dinner in the cabin is not exactly courteous -- but some get to sneek some puso (rice) and barbecue that leaves the cabin a little unpleasant.

For the cabin traveler -- do not put your stuff in plastic bags. They really make noise. Since these trips are at night, passengers want to sleep (a normal desire really) -- volume of tv, radio, conversations should be at minimum.

Then there are the boat-matters. On some occasions, the trip is delayed (at times even cancelled and we are left to fend for ourselves on the next trip)and either we get off or stay on until the boat leaves. I had my best sleep on the boat when our departure was moved to 5am the following day -- I don't really get to sleep on moving transportation. There is of course the fear that if the delay is due to engine problems, and the voyage continues, the ship's engine could stop in the high seas -- I only experienced this once: 15 minutes adrift near Panglao in Bohol (the curious dolphins playing around to "touch the butt (boat)" took away some of the worries. At times, the boat could come back to port for various "emergencies".

Once the boat did not have airconditioning and being in a cabin was a guarantee for a sleepless night. The one time it happened to me (yet?), I took a bunk at the economy section of the boat, amidst the loud conversations and snoring, the sounds of a girl-child-in-her-mom's-heeled shoes-stomping-up-and-down-the-metal-staircase, the noise from the rock band (the bar had both doors opened because airconditioning was not available), and the heat.

Accommodations can be memorable too. The thin bed mattress, the oh-so-called airconditioning and the flimsy linen for a blanket (some have woolen ones also), the cramped cabins (in some), the ticket inspection that comes just when one is about to go to REM, the very-loud-but-which-you-cannot-change volume of the PA system in the cabin.

I usually take the cabin because my trips would always be with one or two other persons. I would not know much about the experiences of those who take other accommodations on the over-night trip to CdO.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Dad's in charge

for Dads, from CNN . . .

Dad's in Charge in New TV Ads
Monday, January 10, 2005
By Catherine Donaldson-Evans

They say sex sells in advertising, but apparently, Daddy changing a diaper can also lead to big bucks.

Fathers are watching the little tykes without Mom around in ads for carpeting, department stores, nasal spray, wireless technology, cereal and other products — a move that experts say reflects the modern family.

"More and more fathers are engaged in child care and purchasing patterns that used to be the exclusive decisions of women in the household," said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of The Advertising Council (search), which conducts ad campaigns for public awareness. "We see it play out in the actual advertising itself."

While most people are happy to see dads starring in more TV ads, there's controversy going on behind the scenes about how they're being portrayed.

Fatherhood rights' groups complain that more often than not, the TV ad Dad is just a big clown who can't handle parenthood without his very together mate, Mom.

"There's still this myth of dads falling into the ‘3Ds' — Dumb, Dangerous or Disaffected," said Vincent DiCaro, spokesman for The National Fatherhood Initiative (search), one of the big daddies among such advocacy organizations.

Among the companies that have taken heat for their Dad ads is Verizon Wireless, for a commercial that shows a father helping his young daughter with her homework until Mom comes in, sees the exasperated look on the girl's face and tells her husband, "Tom, leave her alone."

A Wyeth FluMist nasal spray ad featuring a mother sick in bed while a father fumbles through getting the kids ready — eventually sending them out in winter weather with summer clothes on — also came under some fire.

And JCPenney got e-mails — mostly from a fathers' rights advocate, according to Penney spokesman Tim Lyons — critical of a commercial in which a mother shops happily at a Penney's sale while the father stays home trying to feed their unruly baby. At one stage, Dad asks the child, "When will your mother be home?"

But the advertisers — many of whom are fathers themselves — don't see a problem with any of the Mr. Mom ads.

"I don't think there's a campaign out there trying to depict fathers as useless," said Gary Johnston, global brand manager for Stainmaster Brands — which has an ad showing a dad wrangling with a fussy infant until the soft Stainmaster carpet lulls the babe to sleep.

JCPenney's Lyons agreed, saying his company's "When will your mother be home?" commercial was meant to be light and funny — and was aimed primarily at women, since about 80 percent of the department store's purchases are made by female buyers.

"It's something men and women can relate to," Lyons said of the ad. "Dad is home taking care of the kids. He may express frustration, but it's done in a lighthearted way. As a father, I could see a little of myself in that spot, taking care of small kids when my wife is away. It's challenging, but you deal with it. When I first saw that spot, I laughed."

Other dad's-in-charge commercials have similar strategies in mind, with the modern and presumably more domestic father as a secondary audience and the lady (and primary purchaser) of the house as the main target. After all, women tend to find men with babies sexy.

"What we're trying to do is appeal to women, that 25-plus audience, [and show] it's safe to leave them on their own," Johnston said. "They might have a few problems but … Dad can handle it, and if he's got a Stainmaster carpet in the house, he has a little extra help."

The portrayal of fathers on television, in both ads and entertainment programming ("Everybody Loves Raymond, "Yes, Dear" and others have gotten flak in the latter category) has recently been a hot topic of discussion in political and media circles.

Last month, The Advertising Council and The National Fatherhood Initiative announced they were launching their latest public service announcements encouraging more fatherly involvement with the kids.

The new PSAs, airing soon with actor Tom Selleck (search) doing the voiceover, conclude with the tagline, "It takes a man to be a dad." One features a father dancing with his daughter in the living room and, according to the Advertising Council's Conlon, tries to speak "directly to fathers of the importance of being engaged in their children's lives."

And while fatherhood activists are grumbling about some of the ads they see as daddy mockery, they're also taking note of what they call "father-friendly" commercials.

The NFI names a handful of companies each year that it believes demonstrate such positive marketing. Cheerios, Marriott and New York Life were among the television winners last year; this year's TV nominees include Kraft Singles for a heartstrings-tugging spot about a dad helping his little girl make a grilled-cheese sandwich.

Daddies themselves have had a mixed reaction to seeing themselves portrayed more domestically in ads. Some aren't fazed by any of the commercials, even the dopey dad ones, and think the offended parties are overreacting. Others are happy to see that some ads have moved away from painting them as comically clueless.

"I think it's a very positive development that Madison Avenue [known for advertising] is trying to portray fathers as real people instead of bumbling stereotypes," said USA Today media reporter Michael McCarthy, the father of two tots. "Dads need all the support they can get these days.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Being a Filipino Male in America

This is from Romina Saha who writes for Filipinas Magazine . . .

Being a Filipino Male in America: Who Cooks the Adobo?

Traditional gender roles no longer work in the U.S.

My wife tells my friends that I wear the pants in the family … but she dictates what color.”
Remigio Tabangin, Jr., 63, a deputy clerk in Delaware, makes light of my question: “Do you consider yourself the head of the household?” But his answer was actually revealing: gender roles in Filipino families, whether in the Philippines or in the United States, are sometimes reversible and not hard and fast.

I wanted to know if some Filipino males’ views on gender roles and their attitudes and behaviors as males changed after they migrated to the U.S. I ran an informal e-mail survey among nine men, six of whom responded back. Not a bad return rate, according to Dr. Leo Paz, professor and chair of Philippine Studies at the City College of San Francisco.

Paz himself says he had “evolved” since he arrived here 14 years ago. As he completed his master’s degree, his wife helped support him, a necessary measure. “Society here is more open and attitudes are more liberal,” Paz says. In the Philippines, the husband is still widely expected to be the breadwinner.

The running joke that the Filipino husband wears the pants in the household but the wife picks the color is a tongue-in-cheek allusion to the Filipino family structure. Gaspar Sardalla, a professor of Philippine history at City College of San Francisco and researcher of Philippine social issues, points out that Philippine society likes to perpetuate an illusion that it is patriarchal because of the “machismo” concept introduced by the Spanish. That is “fiction,” he says, and the reality is that it is matriarchal.

Sardalla’s observations are quite astute, if not borne out by statistical research: The mother holds the purse strings and allocates financial resources. Most Filipinos know more relatives on the mother’s side than on the father’s side. In case of the father’s death, the mother can maintain family solidarity more easily than if it had been the other way around. In the 1970s, when thousands of men went overseas to work in the Middle East oil fields, many women proved they could hold their families together as single parents. When the situation was reversed in the 1980s and more women went abroad to work as domestic helpers or nurses, many men were left at home feeling emasculated and unable to maintain family unity.

Sardalla’s views, of course, may be pure conjecture but are certainly food for thought. Asked how Filipino cultural dynamics play out in the American setting, Sardalla says because the social constraints are no longer present here, the wife feels freer and becomes more assertive, especially if she has found a job better than her husband’s. The husband, who saw himself as the dominant partner back home, now feels powerless and not in control, resulting in frustration or sometimes depression. This situation has sometimes resulted in male violence against the wife and children.
In the Philippines, the wife cannot berate the husband for his shortcomings because she was taught that she should not make him feel like he is less of a man, Sardalla explains. Also, the extended families – a support system not always present here – intervene during marital disputes before matters get worse, he adds.

Equal Rights

The men I surveyed seem more upbeat, all expressing a belief in equal rights between men and women, whether in career or housework. All place more responsibility on themselves as individuals rather than on cultural or social determinants.

“The responsibility of making a house a home rests not solely on the shoulders of the woman but on both partners,” says Noel G. Samonte, 47, a mortgage loan agent in Vallejo, Calif. “Not losing sight of the focus that family unity is priority makes decisions on adjustments easier. Physical presence or absence per se does not determine success or failure in homemaking.”

Tabangin believes the Filipino-American male is more focused on family. “Because of the lack of ‘yayas (nannies)’ and ‘katulongs (maids),’ the Filipino male tends to bond more with the children.” Children in the Philippines tend to grow up with the maids, he says and “dad spent more time with the ‘barkadas (male friends)’,” Tabangin adds.

Christian Manansala, 34, an educator and writer in San Francisco, says “any woman should have the right to work outside of her home if that would make her happy and complete.” In the Philippines, “men are still more powerful than women,” Manansala says. Thus, he says, “being male in the Philippines is much more of an advantage than in the United States” where more laws are in place to protect both sexes in careers and education.

Willy J. Vasquez, 42, of Carson City, Calif., agrees. “A woman should work to augment the family income and for her own self-esteem,” he says. More to the point, he says Filipino men in the Philippines are “consumed by the macho mentality.”

Sanny Leviste, 49, management consultant, of, Mountain View, Calif., hesitates to call himself the head of the household. “It is a partnership, depending on the situation,” he says. “Each one of us allows the other to take the initiative.” Leviste has an interesting proposition: “Men should stay at home more often. Call it cross posting or gender sensitivity. Whatever it is, women are as capable as men in doing work so why limit their potential?”

Philip A. Samatra, 35, an investment consultant in San Francisco and admittedly gay, says communication is vital between partners when making career decisions. Doing household work, Samatra says, is “a matter of dividing work at home. Work rotation is the key word.”
While having a querida or mistress is often tolerated among Filipino men in the Philippines, with the typical rationalization that “men don’t lose anything (walang mawawala sa lalaki)” if they have an affair, my Filipino American respondents agree that infidelity on either side is unacceptable.

Broader View

Stereotypical beliefs about gays in the Philippines – that is, that gays are flamboyant, flippant, and excel only in the fashion and beauty trades – are still prevalent. As Samonte observes, “generally, homosexuals are ridiculed in the Philippines.”

Conservatism within predominantly Catholic families make it hard for some homosexuals to be accepted even within their own families, often forcing them to isolate themselves and live among other gays. But Paz points out that particularly in California, where the gay population seems larger and more open, there is a higher likelihood of straight men coming in direct contact with gays and actually getting to know them.

“Some of the best and most talented people I’ve met here are gays,” he says, pointing out that he may not have had the same opportunity of interacting with homosexuals in the Philippines because they were in more isolated groups. With such openness, we see gays as no longer limited to just being fashion designers or beauty experts or stage performers. Homosexuals here could be openly gay in any field – except perhaps the military – academe, science and technology, finance, or even government.

Samatra, himself gay, works at a bank and considers himself of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” persuasion. He is “not necessarily hiding,” he says, “just telling the truth when confronted.”

It is normal, perhaps even to be expected, for immigrants, especially those who relocated when they were already adults, to change their attitudes and behaviors, even on matters that would seem deeply culturally ingrained. This process, according to the U.S. Surgeon General, is called “acculturation, or adoption of the worldviews and living patterns of a new culture.” The average number of years the six men in my survey have been living in America is 15 years, long enough for acculturation to occur.
All six Filipino American men in my survey express a belief in equal rights and equal opportunities for women, particularly, in employment. They also believe that no specific household chore is the exclusive domain of either the wife or the husband. (“The only limiting factors are opportunity, physical strength, and ability,” says one. “If (the husband) is good at cooking, let him make the adobo,” says another.) Assigning household chores should be based on the “level of competency,” they say. All of them say infidelity on either side is not right. All of them also expressed a greater tolerance, or at least awareness, of homosexual’s rights and roles in society.

But perhaps Samonte’s remarks reveal more than what some men are willing to admit: “The Filipino male in America is like an eagle taken out of its natural habitat” that had double standards in his favor. “The habitat he is in right now forces him to play by different rules. Many a macho ego have been crushed by failure in landing ‘decent’ jobs behind desks and in high-rise buildings and being forced into jobs that were looked down upon in the old country. Matters are made worse when wives land jobs that make real money and (these women) become stars at their workplaces.”

Romina D. Saha considers herself an unpaid full-time chauffeur, social secretary, manager, shopping specialist, Internet researcher, teacher, and chef. She moonlights as a writer.