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Archive for the ‘literature’ Category

It had been months since the great book blockade bombarded book distributors and importers, especially the book readers.
I wasn’t brave enough to blog about this. Being a bookworm myself, I was shocked with the news of DoF and Customs.

I wouldn’t dwell on the Florence Agreement that the Philippine Government signed way back August 7, 1979 and how it is now possibly being violated by the Department of Finance.
I wouldn’t put any negativity on the huge demand and importation of “twilight” that caught the attention of the Bureau of Customs.

In fact, wouldn’t one be glad to know that book importation has a high demand?
Wouldn’t it mean that the country’s getting into reading alot?
In a country where illiteracy rate is high, wouldn’t it be of concern to encourage the people to read more and educate themselves.
Wouldn’t it be of concern to put more attention to education?
Rather than implementing tax on materials that would encourage people to read more.

In a place like the Philippines, where illiteracy is high, taxes on books shouldn’t be considered. I’m not only pertaining to the “non-educational” books that they’re saying but to “educational” books as well.
Why?
This is because both categories would have taxes, 5% and 1% respectively.
Yes, Elementary and Secondary schools use textbooks that are, usually, locally published. But Colleges and Universities doesn’t use them, more or less, college students use reference books that costs thousands.
These reference books are mostly internationally published and “imported”, especially the science and technology courses.

Anyone could reason out that there’s the internet, always available for research and reference. Sure it is!
But how about for those who couldn’t afford that? Those who only rely on books in their school library?

Here’s an excerpt from Undersecretary Sales’ statement:

Customs Undersecretary Espele Sales explained the government’s position to a group of frustrated booksellers and importers in an Orwellian PowerPoint presentation, at which she reinterpreted the Florence Agreement as well as Philippine law RA 8047, providing for “the tax and duty-free importation of books or raw materials to be used in book publishing.” For lack of a comma after the word “books,” the undersecretary argued that only books “used in book publishing” (her underlining) were tax-exempt.

“What kind of book is that?” one publisher asked me afterward. “A book used in book publishing.” And she laughed ruefully.

I thought about it. Maybe I should start writing a few. Harry the Cultural and Educational Potter and His Fondness for Baskerville Type.

Likewise, with the Florence Agreement, she argued that only educational books could be considered protected by the U.N. treaty. Customs would henceforth be the arbiter of what was and wasn’t educational.

“For 50 years, everyone has misinterpreted the treaty and now you alone have interpreted it correctly?” she was asked.

“Yes,” she told the stunned booksellers.

“A book used in book publishing.”
This statement just shattered me. This means that every word written, printed and published would be included. And not just the “non-educational” books, as well as the “educational” books. Even though it’s a mere 1% tax, the point is that they are still taxing the books.

They seem so proud of the Department Order that they’ve released.
But they haven’t realized what they’ve done.
They’re taking away a very valuable thing from the citizens. Haven’t they realized that by simply implementing this book blockade, they’re increasing the illiteracy rate in this country? They are taking away the opportunity to know how to read and learn.
It’s just like taking away a story book from a child and say “don’t read.”

They are literate people, they’ve even managed to interpret the treaty and say that it’s been misunderstood because of the lack of comma, and bravo for that.

But I’m wondering why this? Why the storage of knowledge?

Do they have any answer when somebody asks…
“Have you done something to help others to learn how to read?”

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On browsing my treasures again…I finally found the last letter that my best friend in high school sent me. We were first year college that time. She went to La Salle Dasma while I was left here in Manila. As far as I could remember it was my birthday when I got it.

Anyhoo, she wrote tons of quotes on the letter and card. But what I really loved was the poem she included.

Unfortunately, she didn’t wrote down the author’s name.

Here’s the poem.

Ode to a Jerk

He’s a numskull. He’s a moron
He’s an egoistic jerk
The human race will celebrate
If he vanished from the earth

He dances like an elephant
Who’s just come from the zoo
He thinks he knows everything
But he doesn’t have a clue

He’s conceited-over bearing
He’s as stubborn as a pig
I’d admit he’s pretty handsome
But his ego’s just as big

He can’t sing a decent tune
Without bringing in the rain
He’s an idiot – and a headache
But I love him anyway.

“O, ano ba sa to death ka ano, ganda ng mga message ng quote at poem na nakuha ko no!”

She wrote that at the bottom of the poem.

Love you Toots! hahaha

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Yesterday, May asked me to read her recent blog entry. And it was about her experiences at school as kinder.

I was inspired by that piece and had this story in my head. It keeps on bugging me to let it out hahaha!
Sorry, this is in Filipino.

~~~~~~

Umaga na naman.

Kailangang bumangon at maghanda sa pagpasok sa school.

Sa private school na puno ng mapanghusgang mga mata. Bawat araw pagsubok sa kin. Hindi ko lubos maisip kung paano ko naitatawid ang bawat oras ng hindi nasasaktan o iniinda ang sakit ng kanilang mga tingin at pasaring.

Nakakapagod ang ganito. Minsan gusto ko ng sumuko at tumigil sa pag aaral. Pero laging ipinaaalala ng aking ina na malaki ang kanyang inutang upang makapag aral ako sa paaralan na ito. Kung ako lang ang masusunod ayoko dito. Mas gugustuhin ko pa sa isang pam-publikong paaralan kung saan totoo ang mga tao. At katulad ko sila…mahirap. At siguro hindi nila papansinin ang kapinsanan ako.

Sa private school na ito, natuto akong maging manhid sa lahat. Para lang hindi ako umiyak at lalong pulaan. Naging manhid narin ako sa nararamdaman ng ibang tao.
Tinanim ko sa isipan ko na halos lahat ng nakaririwasa sa buhay ay pare-pareho.

Mapamintas at mapagmataas.

Sa araw araw na pinagdadaanan ko sa paaralang ito ay may mga nakaramay ako. Mga kaibigang kahit alam kong nakikita nila ang kapintasan ko ay patuloy parin sa pakikipagkaibigan. Hindi ko malilimutan ang mga pagtatanggol nila sakin kahit na ngayon ay alam kong karamihan sa kanila ay limot na ako.

Hindi pala lahat ng mayayaman ay ganon ang ugali. Meron ding mabubuti at mapagkumbaba.

Dahil sa kanila natuto akong maging matapang. Natuto akong harapin ang mga akala mo perpektong tao kung makapintas sa kapinsanan ng iba. Nagkaroon ako ng lakas ng loob upang makipagsabayan hindi lang sa pang akademyang apesto pati narin sa mga extra curricular.

Hindi man ako nagkaroon ng medalya pero masasabi kong kahit papaano naging masaya ang high school ko at maraming aral na iniwan.

Ngunit kailangang maghiwa-hiwalay sa pagpasok ng kolehiyo. Kailangang maging mas matibay ang loob ko sa pagharap sa malaking mundo. Kung paano ko ito tatanggapin at sya ako.

…………………

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