53 Best Songs I Have Heard This 2018

2018 best songs heard

Album/maxi single cover of the songs I love in 2018

2018 has been a good year for me in terms of music. I have been discovering a lot of them, thanks to Spotify. Jpop remains to be the staple of my year-end music list. Some choice Chinese pop (Cpop), Original Pilipino Music (OPM), and rock tracks made it to my list.

53. Celeina Ann, “Love & Sweet“. A “feel good” song by a Japanese singer of American descent who reminds me of Becky, a Japanese singer of British descent whom I first heard five years ago. She’s pretty too.

52. Sheena Belarmino, Krystal Brimmer and MNL48, “Dalawang Pag-ibig Niya”. Probably one of the best OPM tracks released this year. This is also the best contest piece in the Himig Handog since 2013 4th placer “Scared to Death” by KZ Tandingan and the best pop-rap contest piece since 2013 Philippine Popular Music Festival (Philpop) winner “Dati” by Sam Concepcion, Tippy Dos Santos, and Quest.

51. Cyndi Wang, “Dang Ni”. 2018 has been a year of Chinese pop, (Cantopop, Mandopop, whatever it is as long as it’s Chinese). The pop-sy romantic feel of this bubblegum pop song, which title means “When You” in English, hints at the singer’s profound longing for and memory of the subject of her song.

50. 2Ne1, “I Don’t Care”. Kpop artists sound better singing (their hits) in Japanese than they do in their native Korean, thus downplaying the Hallyu Wave. Of course, there is no other way to break into the world’s 2nd largest music market than to sing in Japanese.

49. Fahrenheit ft. Hebe Tien, “Zhi Dui Ni You Gan Jue”. If only they had the chance, the Taiwanese boy band would give their more popular compatriot F4 a run for their money and fame. By the way, the title means “Only Have Feelings For You” in English.

48. Desmond Ng and Kenny Khoo, “Yi Gang Ke Gang”. Is there an Asian version of the Eurovision Song Contest? If there is, Singapore should enter this song… and win. This empowering pop rock song is an OST to a TV series and its title translates as “Fighting Strength with Strength” in English.

47. F.I.R., “Lydia”. This goodie from a Taiwanese pop-rock band could serve as an appropriate closing song for an aptly titled movie or TV drama series about the titular character… if there is one. Too bad, there isn’t.

46. Élan Rivera and Jamily Gray, “All We Wanna Do”. 2001 was a great year for pop music and Pokémon madness. This classic OST brings back memories of my Pokémon viewing on Friday nights. It also reminds me of how pop music used to be.

45. amina du Jean, “seppuku✟”. Japan’s first black – African-American – idol leaves the Japanese pop scene with a song about ritual disemboweling. It should be one of the most underappreciated Jpop songs and one of the best songs performed by a black artist.

44. MNL48, “Gustong Makita”. AKB48’s third sister group in Southeast Asia (after JKT48 and BNK48) released their long-awaited infectious debut.

43. Kawaii 5, “Kawaii 5”. Before there was MNL48, there was Kawaii 5, which released their self-titled debut maxi single in 2016. Their songs are written in Tagalog and Taglish (Tagalog-English) and give out flavors that fans can find in many Jpop songs: fun, catchy, and addictive. How come FM stations don’t play their songs?

42. Keyakizaka46, “Glass wo Ware”. Jpop group, known primarily for their dance steps rather than their looks, delivers their best track since their 2016 debut. On the other way round, they are more popular for their dance choreography than for their songs.

41. LeAnn Rimes, “The Right Kind of Wrong”. One of the best tracks from the OST of a long-forgotten, mildly successful, Piper Perabo-starred 2000 movie Coyote Ugly that is about an aspiring singer-songwriter who struggles to break into the music industry.

40. Yanaginagi, “Harumodoki”. The opening song to the second season of Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru Zoku, shortened to Oregairu meaning “My Teen Romantic Comedy Snafu Too”. The title means “imitation spring” in English. Sounds beautiful and refreshing, doesn’t it?

39. Vishal Dadlani, Nakash Aziz & Pritam, “Selfie Le Le Re”. This song best described a Hindu’s devotion Lord Hanuman, who is also famously known as Bajrangbali, and his vocation. This is the OST to the 2015 Bollywood blockbuster Bajrangi Bhaijaan.

38. Ex Battalion feat. Alden Richards, “Superhero Mo”. Probably the only hit I will like from social media sensation AlDub’s other half Alden Richards and Ex Battalion, the most popular Pinoy hip hop group since Salbakuta in 2002. This is the theme to the short-lived critically panned fantasy series Victor Magtanggol on GMA 7.

37. Kawaii 5, “L.O.V.E”. A playful Jpop-inspired Taglish puppy love song. This is all I can say.

36. Kawaii 5, “Tambayan ng Tropa”. One of the best OPM songs I have listened to this year… for the reason that almost all of the lyrics are written are written in Tagalog. Besides, this is an enjoyable affirmative song of friendship.

35. Little Glee Monster, “Gyutto”. A track with a soulful pop sound.

34. Hugh Jackman, Keala Settle, Zac Efron, Zendaya, & The Greatest Showman Ensemble, “The Greatest Show”. One of the most memorable songs – and perhaps the most glorious of them all – from The Greatest Showman.

33. Morning Musume ’17, “Gosenfu No Tasuki”. Though no longer the most popular and best-selling female music group in Japan, Morning Musume still impresses listeners with their choicest tracks, including this song, which title means “A String of Music Staffs” in English.

32. John Basil Dungo ft. Bukas Palad, “Your Mercy is Great”. Surely¸ the god of Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte does not inspire musical creativity. The God of the performers behind this song of praise does… and His mercy is great.

31. Rexband, “Rise Up and Dance”. Though not as popular as their Born-Again/Evangelical Protestant counterparts like Hillsong and Planetshakers, this Catholic Charismatic band from India continues to bring joy and music to believers who had seen them perform at the World Youth Day events.

30. NSYNC, “I Guess It’s Christmas Time”. Christmas is more than just a celebration. It’s a universal feeling and an ideal way of life. I realize these facts for the first time in my life… only after listening to this track multiple times.

29. Xiao Feng Feng & Xiao Pan Pan, “Xue Mao Jiao”. “The Million Dollar Question: Why Does the Web Love Cats?” said the title of an article in the website Mashable. Perhaps the addictive melody and catchy lyrics of this of this will explain why. For the love cats and cat persons, the title means “learning to meow” in English.

28. Hugh Jackman & Zac Efron, “The Other Side”. In The Greatest Showman, Barnum sings to Carlyle about “a deal that seems worth taking”. Carlyle looks forward to go to “the other side” but not without first asking for his “percentage of the show”.

27. Namewee ft. Wang Leehom, “Stranger In The North”. A haunting rap track about economic migrants in Beijing… rapped by Malaysian Chinese rapper – and one-time economic migrant – Namewee and Chinese American crooner Wang Leehom.

26. Silence Wang ft. By2, “You Dian Tian”. One of the best Cpop tracks I have listened to this year. The title means “A Little Sweet” in English. A love track but not too much, which is why it is one of my definitive songs of 2018.

25. Audrey Assad, “Even Unto Death”. For its beautiful sound and profound lyrics, this song of worship – or rather, an anthem of love for Jesus – serves as a faith-awakening accompaniment to Matt Maher’s “Christ Is Risen” and “Because He Lives”.

24. GReeeeN, “U R not alone”. The most empowering Jpop song of the year. Powerful and uplifting for the lost souls who, despite having it tough in life, still move forward, brimming with determination and resiliency.

23. Little Glee Monster, “Ashita e”. The Jpop female group with the best vocals dazzles with this track. They never fail to amaze me since I heard “Suki da” way back in 2016.

22. Gavy NJ ft. Sunnyside MJ, “Sunflower”. While many people settled for BTS, Twice, and Momoland, here is just one of the most underappreciated Kpop songs out there.

21. By2, “Because of You”. This song affirms that there are good soundtracks to Chinese TV shows out there… that are sung in English… and I am searching for them one by one. Anyways, the lead female is sooooo beautiful.

20. AKB48, “Sentimental Train”. Japan’s best-selling female music act released a senbatsu single… without the senbatsu winner Jurina Matsui. This is their best song since 2015’s Haruka Shimazaki-centered “Bokutachi wa Tatakawanai”.

19. Matt Maher, “Because He Lives (Amen)”. This is an anthem of worshipful acknowledgement of one’s own insignificance and Jesus’ great victory over death. This is a fitting song to sing when making an altar call on the Sunday of the Risen Christ.

18. Upchurch, “Legend”. American rap makes a return in my consciousness. For the first time ever, I was exposed to country rap – hip hop for the predominantly white country folks down south of America… way cooler than gangsta, Eminem, Beastie Boys, Mac Miller (rest in peace)… even Vanilla Ice. Country pride rhymes!

17. Sixx:A.M., “Skin”. If rock music is about self-empowerment, then this is it. This slow rock track promotes inner beauty and provides listeners an opportunity to self-reflect and the motivation to develop their self-esteem.

16. Sixx:A.M., “Oh My God”. Gone is the age of social consciousness in rock. Social documentaries are best delivered in and through rock music.

15. Sixx:A.M., “This Is Gonna Hurt”. Two words that best describe this song: pure badass! Now imagine singing this at church or any religious gathering. In my opinion, this is a song about coming to terms with the life you have wasted.

14. Aimyon, “Marigold”. The theme or feel of the song is somewhat similar to “Nakitai Kurai” and “missing you” only that it gives off a ‘feel good’ vibe.

13. Simple Plan, “This Song Saved My Life”. Rock, in all its many diverse sounds, is dead and long gone from the Billboard charts and MTV. But for true music fans, the spirit of rock music lives one and its flame will burn forever.

12. Hiragana Keyakizaka46, “Otoko Tomodachi Dakara”. Penned by AKB48 and Nogizaka46 creator Akimoto Yasushi and delivered solo by Kato Shiho, this is perhaps the best ballad from the 48/46 universe. The song’s title translates as “Because He’s a Guy Friend” in English and tells much about a girl’s forbidden love for a boy.

11. Boyzone, “I’ll Never Not Need You”. An old and forgotten pop ditty from the Irish pop vocal group who made it to the 2000 edition of the Guinness book of world records and whose record was later broken by fellow Irish world record breaker Westlife. For the delight of the people who listen to old boy bands, Boyzone released new singles this year “Because” and “Love” and so are the Backstreet Boys with “Chances”. British-Norwegian A1 is back as a four-man band for the first time since 2002 and Westlife returns to tour to celebrate their 20th year anniversary.

10. H△G, “Itazura na Kiss to Love Song”. A late favorite. One of the answers to the question “Why I Love Jpop?”

09. Goriki Ayame, “Tomodachi yori Daiji na Hito”. I don’t know much about this lady but I read that she is an actress and people were amazed she could sing and dance. The title in English means “A Person More Important Than Friends”.

08. Ohara Sakurako, “Nakitai Kurai”. The title means “I want to cry” in English. And in the first two minutes of the first time I heard this song, I was instantly blown away. This is the best song I have listened to with ‘cry’ or ‘crying’ in the title since “Cry” by Mandy Moore in 2001.

07. Kana Nishino, “missing you”. The best track from her 2015 best album Secret Collection ~RED~. For a love that never goes away, a romance that refuses to die though you have already moved on, this is the song to sing.

06. JAY’ED ft. Ms.OOJA, “Mata Kimi To”. I am not much into R&B, especially Japanese R&B but I seem to be at loss for words to describe this track. This is one of my best R&B tracks. The title means “with you again” in English.

05. Hiroya Ozaki, “Glory Days”. An empowering Japanese rock track bursting with hope, energy, and positivity. For the listener who goes through a tough time, this is his/her anthem.

04. Maneki Kecak, “Ariyorino Ari”. Give this girl group a moment or two to shine and they will prove better and far more fun and entertaining than AKB48 and Nogizaka46.

03. Marit Larsen, “Please Don’t Fall for Me”. A soothing pop track from a soothing voice of pop’s yesteryears. Marit Larsen is one-half of the Norwegian pop/pop-rock duo M2M that sang “Pretty Boy”, “Everything You Do”, “Mirror, Mirror”, and “The Day You Went Away”.

02. Nikmat HaTraktor and Ohad Naharin, “Chair Dance (Echad mi Yodeah)” Another late favorite. Both song and video are hypnotizing. This is one of the three songs I love to listen to this year on my commute. The other two? “Missing you” and “Mata Kimi To”.

01. Hugh Jackman & The Greatest Showman Ensemble, “From Now On”. Probably the best song from what I considered to be the best movie of 2018. It is the best music at the best moment, the most awakening moment, of the film.

Hope you will listen to all these songs, share them on Facebook and Twitter, give them a like on YouTube, and include them in your Spotify playlist.

 

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5 lessons business-owners can learn from AKB48

AKB48 the largest pop group

The largest pop group in the world and the best selling female artist in Japan. (Image from wallfordesk.blogspot.com)

(So-called) International artists like Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, The Weeknd, Eminem, and BTS may top music charts and sell millions of records worldwide. However, they did not rule one side of planet Earth. That turf belongs to AKB48, the largest pop group in the worldwide music industry.

AKB48 is short for Akihabara48, named after the famed pop culture district in Tokyo, where their theater is located. Formed 18 years ago by Yasushi Akimoto, an entertainment producer, university professor and the group’s main songwriter, AKB48 has proven to be a music superpower, despite the fact that they do not often tour outside Japan.

AKB48 singles

Some of AKB48’s singles. Composite images from stage48.net/wiki

The world’s largest pop group has built a large following in just a few years, from seven people who showed up at their first public performance up to the thousands of fans who fill stadiums to capacity. AKB48 has set a number of music records; below are some of the records I have compiled from reliable sources throughout the internet:

  • Most consecutive year for best-selling singles from 2010 to 2017
  • Best-selling female artist in Japan (record achieved when they overtook Ayumi Hamasaki in 2017)
  • Most consecutive number 1 singles for a female artist, with 26 (record achieved when they broke Ayumi Hamasaki’s previous record of 25 in 2015)
  • First group to sell their 20 consecutive singles in 1 million on the first week
  • First female artist in Japan to surpass 30 million units sold (record achieved in 2014)
  • Female group with most consecutive years with No. 1 singles
  • Third best-selling music artist in Japan (57.51 million records sold by September 2018)
  • Fifth best-selling girl group world with claimed total record sales of more than 20 million (58 million by September 2018)
AKB48 singles

AKB48 singles. Composite images from stage48.net/wiki

Many fans would know that AKB48 is not only a phenomenal music group but also a blockbuster business—a fact that many businesses in Japan know. What has the group done to attain tremendous success right in their own backyard? Entrepreneurs, learn:

1. Offer something different

Akimoto formed AKB48 to give fans the opportunity to meet their showbiz idols. Years before AKB48, fans cannot approach their favorite idols, who were generally aloof. Moreover, Akimoto wanted his creation to perform regularly, not occasionally, for the fans.

2. Give customers what they want

To assure the commercial success of all of AKB48’s singles, Akimoto gives fans an opportunity to play an important role in the group’s marketing.

AKB48 senbatsu winners

Winners of the 2013 Senbatsu. (Image from Fanpop)

In the early years of the group, he used their feedback to select a new member in 2006 (Mariko Shinoda, who ‘graduated’ in 2013) and to determine what song to release (“Sakura no Hanabiratachi”, which landed in the top 10 in 2006). Since 2009, the group has held some sort of popularity contests, called the senbatsu, in which fans vote which members should appear more often in the group’s productions and appearances.

Fans are part of Akimoto’s marketing strategy.

3. Protect your wares

Akimoto imposes a strict ‘no dating’ policy on AKB48, prohibiting members from engaging in romance. This is to ensure romance doesn’t interfere with their careers and studies. Offenders are either demoted or expelled. Draconian the rule may be but it helps stave off potential scandals and prevent loss of business.

4. Offer more

AKB48 gives their fans more than what they pay for, thus not only ensuring fan loyalty but also preventing piracy and counterfeiting in Japan, where physical sales thrive. They tuck in add-ons in CDs such as photos, lyrics, and tickets to ‘handshake’ events where fans can meet the group. Fans also get free posters, keychains, and other AKB48-related merchandise with their CDs.

Mayu Watanabe at the AKB48 handshake event

Mayu Watanabe at the AKB48 handshake event. Image from AKB48 Wikia – Fandom.

5. Expand the business

Akimoto ‘expands’ his business by creating ‘sister’ groups in different locations in Japan and around the world. The first sister group he produced was SKE48 (Nagoya (Aichi Prefecture in 2008) and the first international sister group was JKT48 (Jakarta, Indonesia in 2011).

To date, there are 12 sister groups, seven of which are international, all based in Southeast Asia: NMB48 (Namba, Osaka in 2010), HKT48 (Tenjin, Fukuoka in 2011), NGT48 (Niigata in 2015), STU48 (2017), BNK48 (Bangkok, Thailand in 2017), MNL48 (Manila, Philippines in 2018), AKB48 China (reformed China sister group; first team, Team SH, announced in 2018), Team TP (reformed Taipei, Taiwan sister group), SGO48 (Saigon, Vietnam in 2018), and MUM48 (projected Mumbai, India sister group).

AKB48 sister groups

AKB48 sister groups

(SNH48, the Shanghai, China-based former sister group was founded in 2012 but went independent in 2016 so I excluded them from the equation. Akimoto reformed with AKB48 China.)

As if it is not enough for Akimoto, he even formed Nogizaka46, the ‘official rival group’ to AKB48. Yutaka Ueda mentioned in the study “Image Strategy of Nogizaka46: How Do Young People Perceive It?” submitted to the Bulletin of Seikei University in 2016 that “AKB48’s image is that of female students at a public high school in Japan, and it is full of local color. On the contrary, Nogizaka46 was intended to portray students in a private all-girls high school in a suburban area of France.”

Businesses can emulate the success of AKB48. All they need to do is to offer something new and exciting to their market and give customers many reasons to stick with them for years. The success of the world’s largest pop group is about paying (more) attention to the customers, every business’ biggest asset.

Afterthought on the 2018 Asian Games 2018

Filipino medalists at the 2018 Asian Games

Filipino medalists at the 2018 Asian Games. (Image by Rappler)

More power to the Filipino athletes!

Congratulations to all Filipino athletes for a great job at the recently concluded 2018 Asian games!

After 15 days of tough battles in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia, the Philippines brought home 4 gold, 2 silver, and 15 bronze medals – coming in at 19th place. This is an improved performance for Team Philippines:

  • Most gold medals won (since 2006 Doha)
  • Most bronze medals won (since 2002 Busan)
  • Most medals won of any color (since 2006 Doha)
  • Improved overall ranking in the medal tally (since 2014 Incheon)

All 46 members (plus a unified Korean team) of the Olympic Council of Asia took part in the 2018 Jakarta / Palembang. 37 managed to win at least a bronze medal.

China, Japan, and South Korea remain as the top three Asian sports superpowers. There is no beating them… yet.

Completing the top 10 positions of the medal tally are host Indonesia (spurred by winning 14 of 16 gold medals in the regional sport pencak silat, an Indonesian traditional martial art), Iran, Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), Uzbekistan, India, Kazakhstan, and North Korea.

Coming in at 11th to 18th are Bahrain, Thailand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Qatar, Mongolia, Vietnam, and Singapore.

Shout-out to certain Filipino athletes

I want to give a shout-out to Filipino-German Christian Standhardinger (of San Miguel Beermen) and Filipino-American Jordan Clarkson (of Cleveland Cavaliers).

Thank you very much Christian Standhardinger for the ‘biggest sacrifice’ you made for the country during the 2018 Asian Games. You skipped your sister’s wedding just to help ensure the national team’s medal chance at basketball. Fortunately, we lost to South Korea and we failed to advance into the semifinals. Nevertheless, thank you very much!

Jordan Clarkson Gilas Pilipinas vs. Japan

Jordan Clarkson lays up against Japan. (Image from Rappler)

Thank you very much Jordan Clarkson for donning the country’s flag and colors in Indonesia. I praise you not only for your love for the motherland (your mother’s land) but also for your positivity. You never gave up on your dream of playing for the Philippines even if the NBA initially disallowed you from playing in the Asian Games, which is a non-FIBA event. You delivered and you impressed us. Thank you very much and to your parents who encouraged you!

To Coach Yeng Guiao for leading the Philippine national men’s basketball team again in an international competition and to the PBA, particularly the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters for lending their core players to the national team, thank you very much!

To Asi Taulava for his untiring and undying service to the national basketball team! Thank you very much, sir!

To Yuka Saso and the Philippine women’s golf team, thank you very much for putting the three stars and the sun back in Asian golf! More power to you, ladies!

To boxers Carlo Paalam, Eumir Marcial, and Rogen Ladon for winning boxing medals! No Philippine victory is complete without a boxing medal. Thank you very much, sirs!

To the taekwondo jins (Pauline Louise Lopez and the men and women’s poomsae teams) and the wushu artists (Agatha Wong and Divine Wally), thank you very much for making your respective sports a medal mine for the Philippines!

To Cherry May Regalado, Jefferson Rhey Loon, Dines Dumaan, and Almohaidib Abad, an excellent job for preventing an Indonesian medal sweep of their sport… and for bringing a medal too!

To the Filipino-Japanese martial artists, especially silver medalist Kiyomi Watanabe and bronze medalist Junna Tsukki, you could have played for your father’s country but you chose to play for your mother’s country – your mother land. Dōmo arigatōgozaimashita!

To the Philippine women’s softball team for a great 4th place finish, thank you very much! Great job for beating South Korea and eventual bronze medalist China in the preliminaries!

To all the athletes who failed to win medals but nevertheless, reached the finals and finished strong, thank you very much for making the three stars and the sun proud until the very last round!

My biggest shout-out goes to the OFWs in Indonesia. Thank you very much for cheering for the country and for supporting our athletes in many ways! You are their heroes… you are our heroes.

Girl power at the 2018 Asian Games

It was Pinay pride at the 2018 Jakarta Palembang. All our gold medals were won by women:

  • Hidilyn Dian in weightlifting
  • Yuka Saso in golf
  • Margielyn Didal in skateboarding
  • Women’s gold team (Yuka Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan, and Louise Kay Go)

Sportswriter Ding T. Marcelo, in his article “Girl power at Asia” for Spin.ph, wrote, “It’s a sight never before seen. The ladies took the cudgels for everyone in the Philippine team at the Asian Games! The country has so far won four gold medals — all them delivered by the so-called distaff side.

Philippine national women's gold team

The PH national women’s gold team are all smiles after winning gold medals. (Image from ABS-CBN News)

“For the Philippines, this is the most surprising development in the Asian Games being held in Indonesia. In past Asiads, men medalists always greatly outnumbered women. In fact, only one female athlete had won an Asian Games gold medal since 1990: Mikee Cojuangco in equestrian at the 2002 Busan Games.”

Girl power intensified when judoka Kiyomi Watanabe won the country’s first silver medal in the 2018 Asian Games.

Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte, a known misogynist who casually makes sexist remarks and finds no trouble making rape jokes at certain occasions, should look at the facts:

All gold medalists were women.

  • Of the 21 medals won at the 2018 Jakarta Palembang, 13 were won by women.
  • Of the 15 bronze medals won, 8 were won by women.
  • 11 of the 18 individual medalists were women.
  • 2 of the 3 team medalists were women.
  • 8 of the 12 medals in martial arts were won by women. (Be careful, Duterte, or these ladies will kick your sorry ass.)

Marcelo finished his article by saying, “What can one say? Girl power has just saved Philippine sports!”

Missed opportunities

It pains me that North Korea, Uzbekistan, Bahrain, Qatar, Mongolia, and Singapore managed to win more gold medals or overall medals despite sending fewer athletes than the Philippines and that our Southeast Asian neighbors performed better than us and ranked higher above us.

Filipino-American triathlete Kim Kilgroe

Filipino-American triathlete Kim Kilgroe places 9th in her event. (Image from Philippine News Agency)

The Philippines failed to win a single medal in the following medal-rich sports: athletics, archery, bowling, equestrian, fencing, gymnastics, kurash, sailing, sepak takraw, shooting, squash, tennis, swimming, triathlon, and wrestling. Disappointing, isn’t it?

In the afore-mentioned sports, a great number of our men and women failed to qualify for the semifinals. Those who managed to do so finished strong and better than their Southeast Asian peers.

On basketball, it pains me that the Taiwanese basketball team ranked a spot higher than the Philippine team, 4th place compared to 5th place, respectively. No offense to the Taiwanese readers of this blog.

Too bad the Chinese, with two NBA players, outlasted us in a tight contest. Not even the presence of NBA player Jordan Clarkson could save us. Anyways, we gave them one hell of a fight. We scared them.

We also lost to the Koreans. The Korean curse lives on to haunt us Filipino basketball fans. I can never forget how they beat us in 2002 Busan. We did beat them, though, in the 2012 William Jones Cup and the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship.

I believe the Philippines can beat South Korea again. How? When? Coach Yeng Guiao seems to already have the answer.

It must be known that the Philippine team was only formed less than two weeks before the 2018 Asian Games. This hastily-formed team did beat Kazakhstan (who defeated us for the bronze in Busan), Japan (which sent 4 players home due to a prostitution scandal), and Syria.

I expected too much from the canoe kayak dragonboat team. Our paddlers failed to bring home a medal but they did finish top 10 strong in the sprints and traditional boat race events. Too many expectations lead to disappointments.

Our fighters were cheated once again in their respective combat/contact sports events. Take the case of featherweight fighter Nesthy Petecio who gave her Chinese foe a great beating but was declared the loser via split decision, despite being the more aggressive and more tactical fighter than the Chinese.

Bronze medalists Carlo Paalam and Eumir Marcial were both robbed of opportunities to advance to the finals as they were also victims of poor decisions by (incompetent) judges (or by the manipulations of the boxing mafia, allegedly forged among China, Korea, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan). Asian amateur boxing will remain controversial forever.

A taekwondo jin also lost in controversial fashion to another Chinese. Pauline Louise Lopez settled for bronze after losing the controversial women’s 5 kg match to a taller opponent. She is just one of the many Filipino sportspeople who fall victims to unfair officiating.

In the future, I hope Filipino fighters will have more power and more guts to floor their opponents, pin them down, and send them to the canvas as not to prolong their agony… so that biased judges in the employ of the sports mafia will have no choice but to declare the real victors. This will also send a message to opponents that they cannot win through dirty tactics and unfair officiating.

Bemedalled cyclist Ariana Dormitorio quit the Philippine national cycling team after her heart-breaking loss in the 2018 Asian Games. She and her father felt mistreated by the Integrated Cycling Federation of the Philippines (Philcycling).

The elder Dormitorio said, “My daughter lost the tournament because she sustained a sprained quad muscle on her left thigh. Philcycling did not include me in the delegation to serve as head coach and trainer for Ariana. We requested that I pay for my own expenses just so I can be included in the official delegation, and gain access to and assistance from the organizer.”

He also expressed his disappointment to Philcycling for not doing anything when Ariana’s bike arrived late in Indonesia due to cancelled flights at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) last week.

More opportunities

Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Ricky Vargas said, “I realized that despite the improved performance, there are so many things that we still need to do.

“It is obvious that grassroots development and talent identification have to be ramped up. The emergence of young talent in these Games point to the fact that fresh young faces with boundless energy, fierce determination and gung-ho spirit are coming to the fore. We need to find more of them.”

Indeed, there is still more work to do, especially in the other sporting departments. Vargas pointed out that our Southeast Asian rivals got the bulk of their medals in medal-rich sports, such as aquatics and athletics. “There are medal-rich sports which we need to focus on, such as aquatics and athletics. Our neighboring countries are killing us in these arenas.”

As a sports fan, I would like to recommend that sports officials and future talents also look into the following sports:

  • Weightlifting: We may not be as tall as the Chinese and athletic as the Koreans but we got the muscles – and the power – to lift heavier things. The victory of Hidilyn Diaz should convince both the government and the sports education sector to develop a culture of weightlifting.
  • Golf: While we are at it, we must start developing a new generation of Yuka Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan, and Louise Kay Go. We have enough golf courses to accommodate future golfers in the mold of Dorothy Delasin and Jennifer Rosales.
  • Bowling: The bowling front has been quiet for quite a long time now. It pains me that we failed to win a medal at the 2018 Asian Games. Filipino bowlers must start winning again. To all mall owners in the Philippines, any plans to accommodate bowling halls?

  • Judo, karate, pencak silat, taekwondo, and wushu – Martial arts never fail to bring home a medal. However, it seems that we are not doing much to encourage young people to take up martial arts. Strengthen martial arts programs now!
  • Skateboarding: The victory of Margielyn Didal should convince sports officials and community leaders to treat skateboarding and other roller sports as serious sports. More skate parks please and less malls!
  • Softball: The Philippines should not be content with just ruling the sport in SEA Games and winning little league competitions. We should start beating Japan and Taiwan. We must become more competitive in Asia.
  • Volleyball: Philippine volleyball has a long way to go. The exposure at the 2018 Asian Games should build them up for the long term.
  • 3×3 basketball: It pains me that the Philippines failed to qualify for or send teams to the 3-on-3 basketball in 2018 Jakarta Palembang, despite the sport becoming popular in the country. The PBA and MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League), plus the UAAP, NCAA, and the various SCUAA should incorporate this fast-growing basketball format in their programs.

Let us not settle for the classification round. Let us not be content with just reaching the semifinals. We must advance to the finals, the medal round.

Let us not just advance but win.

Let us not just settle for the bronze. Let us not just be content with the silver. Let us aim for the gold… the precious gold.

Why the gold medal?

In the Bollywood movie Dangal, a father, who is a former amateur wrestling champion, tells his wrestler-daughter on the night before her gold medal match, “You have to fight in a way that people remember you. If you win silver, sooner or later, you’ll be forgotten. If you win gold, you will become an example. And examples are given, child… not forgotten.”

By winning gold medals, we tell the world that Filipino athletes are not to be taken lightly.

There is the 2019 SEA Games that the Philippines will host. When asked whether the Philippines has the chance to emerge as overall champion in next year’s SEA Games, Vargas said, “To be honest? No!”

He added, “To aim for No. 1 is very difficult, but to aim for the top three is possible – it depends on how we manage the events and the sports.”

What sports officials should do next?

Vargas said it better, “It is obvious that grassroots development and talent identification have to be ramped up. NSAs [national sports associations] need to clean up their act. We cannot allow bickering and power struggles to weigh down our athletes’ efforts. They [NSAs] must foster inclusivity, transparency and accountability.”

He added, “Cooperation with the PSC [Philippine Sports Commission] is vital – this is a no brainer. Coaches’ development should be given impetus. We need to look at improving in sports where we can be competitive in.

“In the end, it’s all about the athlete. Train them well, provide for their needs, keep them motivated, inspired and focused – and shield them from politics. They can and will deliver.”

If we want our sportspeople to become the world’s best, we must be proactive in giving them the support they need.

Sprinter Eric Cray, who experienced his worst race at the 2018 Jakarta Palembang, said, “Next year, I’m hoping that I get some type of help and funding and train full time and not have to work a job, and come to the SEA Games ready and prepared… I receive the help. They care for me but, well, hopefully I can get a little bit more help.”

Onward, to the future, Filipino athletes!

#LabanPilipinas
#LabanPilipinongAtleta
#parasainangbayan
#AsianGames
#AsianGames2018

AKB48’s “Sentimental Train” makes me think about Jurina Matsui

Don’t forget to read Did Jurina Matsui make history at the recently-concluded Senbatsu Election? too.

Jurina Matsui’s place in 48 music history

By the time she graduates from SKE48, Jurina Matsui will have become the most famous member of the 48 music collective.

Having joined the Nagoya-based sister group when she was still eleven years old in 2008 and being the first member of any sister group to land a solo cover on an AKB48’s single release and to appear in a AKB48 senbatsu, Miss Jurina is undoubtedly the face and the ace of all the 48 music groups, whether the fans of other sister groups like it or not.

This I say not as a Jurina bias (because I am more of a Yuko Oshima, Haruna Kojima, and Mayu Watanabe bias if you ask me) but as a listener who looks to the past to better appreciate the present and to strongly believe in the future of the 48 music collective.

Jurina Matsui SKE48

Jurina Matsui

Jurina Matsui is the first member in the 48 music collective to win the senbatsu election and the janken tournament. She placed 1st at this year’s senbatsu election. Prior to that, she won the 4th Janken Taikai in 2013.

Miss Jurina is one of the three surviving living links (the other two being Minami Minegishi and Yuki Kashiwagi, both of AKB48) to the earliest era of the original Kami 7. The original Kami 7 is composed of, in order of graduation, Atsuko Maeda, Mariko Shinoda, Tomomi Itano, Yuko Oshima, Minami Takahashi, Haruna Kojima, and Mayu Watanabe.

Place Miss Jurina alongside the aforementioned divine idols – and they become the Infinite 8. (No offense to the biases of Miichan and Yukirin.)

She also happens to be the last surviving member of SKE48 first generation. The graduation of Rena Matsui (one half of the WMatsui) in 2015 puts Miss Jurina as the only remaining first-generation role model to look up to.

She has even outlived the other notable first-generation members of AKB48 and other sister groups: AKB48’s Tomomi Kasai (2013), Sayaka Akimoto (2013), Sae Miyazawa who also served with SNH48 and SKE48 (2016), Haruka Shimazaki (2016), and Rie Kitahara who also served with NGT48 (2018); NMB48’s Miyuki Watanabe (2016); and JKT48’s Melody Nurramdhani Laksani (2018).

Jurina Matsui

Jurina Matsui in her early days

She has also outlived the notable first-generation members of AKB48’s official rival Nogizaka46: Mai Fukagawa (2016), Nanami Hashimoto (2017), and Rina Ikoma (2018).

Of course, given that Miss Jurina joined the 48 music collective at a young age (plus if you also take her age into account), it seems too early for her to call it quits and to let her go. The 48 music collective’s main man Yasushi Akimoto could even ship her to Keyakizaka46, Nogizaka46’s more dancerous sister group, or MNL48, which is based in the Philippines.

She can fit into any group within the collection. Notice the senbatsu in the 2013 single “Suzukake no Ki no Michi de “Kimi no Hohoemi wo Yume ni Miru” to Itteshimattara Bokutachi no Kankei wa Dou Kawatteshimaunoka, Bokunari ni Nannichi ka Kangaeta Ue deno Yaya Kihazukashii Ketsuron no youna Mono”?

Did you find that single’s senbatsu entirely different from the others, especially the single that came before it (“Heart Ereki”)? Miss Jurina was the only member to be included in both.

Her veteran presence would inspire new idols in the 48 music collective and her experience would give new sister groups a boost.

That’s Miss Jurina for you.

AKB48 Sentimental Train

AKB48 senbatsu in “Sentimental Train”

The best MV since 2012’s “Gingham Check”

Just after becoming queen of the 48 music fandom, Miss Jurina went on medical leave. She took a break from all her activities, including Produce48. From there, I have heard little to nothing about her, which caused me to wonder: Could AKB48 release the 53rd single without the senbatsu winner?

Impossible, I thought.

When AKB48 announced that they would proceed to release the single without Jurina Matsui, I admit I was not outraged. However, I deemed it disrespectful towards the senbatsu winner.

How could they do that to the queen?

How dare they disrespect Miss Jurina?

AKB48 Sakuratan and Juritan stand-in Sentimenal Train

A stand-in for Jurina Matsui (in a dress with vertical stripes) prepares to watch the nigh sky with Sakura Miyawaki

On the day the music video to the mid-tempo pop “Sentimental Train” was released, I did not watch it right away. I was busy being worried about Miss Jurina’s health condition. I only watched it three days later because I had nothing to do after coming from work.

And man, I was instantly blown away by the song, the music video, and its storyline.

Beautiful!

In my opinion, this is probably their best music video since “Gingham Check” in 2012 and “Kokoro no Placard” in 2014.

“Sentimental Train” helps me forget their other singles this year, “Jabaja” and “Teacher Teacher”, which, for me, are their worst singles ever.

Jurina Matsui manga sketches in AKB48 Sentimental Train

Jurina Matsui manga sketches in “Sentimental Train”

With “Sentimental Train”, AKB48 scored their best storyline since 2011’s “Ue Kara Mariko”, centered by Mariko Shinoda, whose name Miss Jurina shouted while being photographed for the cover of “Oogoe Diamond”.

“Sentimental Train” has one of the best MV settings I have ever seen. A museum serves as the setting. The theme of the music video is friendship. Photography, astronomy, nature, and piano playing serve as wonderful backdrops to the setting and theme.

Miss Jurina – or rather, the management – “made her presence felt” through CG images and manga sketches. The music video begins with a disclaimer written in Japanese. The text reads as follows (according to the English text on ARAMA! Japan):

For this release, SKE48’s Jurina Matsui served as center but due to poor health, she did not participate.

Because of that, Jurina Matsui’s planned scenes are presented using drawings and CG images, so there are some incomplete parts.

When Matsui returns, filming and editing will resume to finish the incomplete parts. As an incomplete work, we decided on this plan to still send something to the fans. Thanks for your understanding.

A CG Jurina Matsui in "Sentimental Train"

A CG Jurina Matsui in “Sentimental Train”

The decision to cast Jurina Matsui as a CG image and manga sketch has received mixed reviews. “Interactions with center Matsui Jurina get reduced to sketches as though she were otherworldly. Things are even stranger when title cards of Jurina’s story-boarded self-appear in dance shots with descriptions of her choreographed positions,” said an article in New School Kaidan.

Still, this is better than releasing a song and video without the senbatsu winner. Kudos to management and the people behind the music video for creatively reminding us that Miss Jurina is queen.

No matter how many idols in the 48 music collective, it would still be empty without Jurina Matsui.

AKB48 Sentimental Train

The climax

A future without Jurina Matsui

“Sentimental Train” is the prettiest music video in the 48 music catalog.

New crushes, new hope?

While the “Sentimental Train” music video made me ponder a 48 music collective without a Jurina Matsui, I found out the future cannot be bad after all, even if she graduates.

It is because the members in the music video show promise and potential to lead not only their respective groups but also the collective.

AKB48 Sentimental Train

Senbatsu idols having a conversation

 

Jurina Matsui stand-in in AKB48 Sentimental Train

The girls look at (the stand-in for) Jurina Matsui as she passes them by without looking at them.

 

Jurina Matsui and Sakura Miyawaki

Sakura Miyawaki stops to look back at (the stand-in for) Jurina Matsui

 

AKB48 girls looking at Jurina Matsui playing the piano in Sentimental Train

The look on the faces of AKB48 as they watched Jurina Matsui playing the piano.

 

AKB48 Sentimental Train

Just one of the many pictures taken by (the stand-in for) Jurina Matsui

 

Ogino Yuka AKB48 Sentimental Train

NGT48’s Ogino Yuka touches the globe.

 

AKB48 Sentimental Train

The girls watches a astronomical phenomenon.

To the collective, these senbatsu members would give a brand new start. And to the fans, something new to love and to hope for.

Take Miss Jurina out and there is still Yui Yokoyama who is also gifted with leadership and a wealth of experience and whose veteran experience will also benefit the collective.

Take Miss Jurina out of SKE48 and there is still Suda Akari, Oba Mina, Furuhata Nao, Soda Sarina.

Take Miss Jurina out of the collective and there is still Sakura Miyawaki, Nana Okada, Yuka Ogino, Tomu Muto, Juri Takahashi, and Akari Yoshida.

They are pretty idols too. I could always look for a new oshimen. If my oshimen graduates, I already have a contingency plan.

There are loads of pretty idols in the collective… prettier than Jurina Matsui.

However, we will never find anyone like Jurina Matsui. There is only one like her.

No matter how many idols in the 48 music collective, it would still be empty without Jurina Matsui.

The questions:

Are we ready to face such a future?

Can the 48 music collective move forward without a Jurina Matsui?

To Miss Jurina, please get well soon. Your subjects await you.

Roundup on Philippine Sports

Philippine Volcanoes 2018 Asia Rugby Championship Division 1

Philippine Volcanoes wins the 2018 Asia Rugby Championship Division 1 title. (Photo from Philippine Volcanoes Twitter)

Roundup on Philippine Sports

Excitement build up for the 2018 Asian Games

For serious Filipino sports fans, it is a great time to talk about sports, to argue with fellow countrymen about the direction and future of Philippine sports, and to relish the country’s victories in international sports competitions.

The 2018 Asian Games (officially the 18th Asian Games and also known as Jakarta Palembang 2018) draws near. For sports fans who want to focus on sports that is not basketball and boxing, the Asian Games provides a big picture perspective on the state of Philippine sports and on the quality of sportspeople that we produce.

That is, if we open our eyes enough to see the big picture.

Will the 2018 Asian Games expose the weaknesses and limitations of Philippine sports? Will it reveal the broken and incompetent sports system of the Philippines? Save your curses and hexes after the games.

Down with the career politicians who occupy positions of power in Philippine sports!

Long live our athletes!

Ateneo Blue Eagles

The Philippines, represented by the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Blue Eagles, placed fourth at the 2018 William Jones Cup, with a 5-3 record.

The Gilas cadets were supposed to represent the country at the annual invitational basketball contest in Taiwan but due to the basketbrawl between Smart Gilas and Australia Boomers at the Philippine Arena, the Blue Eagles – the first-ever collegiate team to compete in the tournament – were tasked to wave the flag high and proud. They did not fail.

Imagine if a team of the best Filipino college players was assembled for the Jones Cup. Imagine if Gilas Pilipinas played instead of ADMU Blue Eagles.

Batang Gilas

With a 2-5 win-loss record, the Batang Gilas placed 13th out of 16 countries that participated in the FIBA Under-17 Basketball World Cup in Santa Fe, Argentina. The team defeated Egypt (70-69) and New Zealand (73-51).

Kai Sotto Batang Gilas

Kai Sotto helps lead Batang Gilas past Bahrain. (Photo from fiba.basketball)

After beating Bahrain 67-52 in the quarterfinals of the FIBA Under-18 Asian Championship in Thailand, Batang Gilas earned a berth in the FIBA Under-19 World Cup for the first time, thanks to the hard work of Kai Sotto and Filipino-Nigerian AJ Edu.

Prior to their contest with Bahrain, Batang Gilas trashed Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, and China (which is their most impressive win in the tournament) in the group stage. However, they lost to the taller Australian team in the semifinals and to the vengeful Chinese in the battle for bronze.

The future remains bright for Philippine basketball.

Softball

Tanauan LL Softball Team Little League

Tanauan LL Softball Team wins 2018 Little League Senior League Softball World Series. (Photo from Little League Twitter)

The Philippines, represented by Tanauan LL Softball Team, won the 2018 Little League Senior League Softball World Series after beating USA, represented by Texas District 9 Little League of Waco, Texas. It was the first time that a team from the Asia-Pacific has won the tournament.

With a 2-8 record, the Philippine Blu Girls placed 13 out of 16 in the 2018 Women’s Softball World Championship held in Chiba, Japan. Their two wins came at the expense of South Africa and the Netherlands.

How will the Blu Girls fare against Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea, the big three Asian superpowers in baseball and softball?

More support needed for softball in the Philippines and the national team.

Bowling

The drought has ended!

Thanks to the heroics of Ivan Umali, Kenzo Umali, Praise Gahol and Merwin Tan, the Philippines salvaged a bronze medal in the team of four event at the 2018 World Bowling Youth Championship in Detroit, Michigan.

Can Philippines win a bowling gold medal or two in the 2018 Asian Games? I pray the country can revive its bowling glory.

2018 ASEAN School Games

The Philippines finished sixth at the recently concluded 2018 ASEAN School Games held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. They went home with nine gold, seven silver, and 20 bronze medals. The athletics team delivered six gold, four silver, and six bronze medals. (Maybe we Filipinos should pay more attention to and invest more in athletics and track and field.)

Nazareth School-NU 2018 ASEAN School Games basketball

Nazareth School-NU celebrates their golden win at 2018 ASEAN School Games. (Photo from Nazareth School-NU Bullpups Facebook page)

The Philippines, represented by the Nazareth School-National University Bullpups in the boys’ division and the under-18 team, swept their opponents in their respective battles for the gold.

Paddler Jann Mari Nayre clinched the gold in the boys’ singles event of table tennis. In the process, he earned a place in the upcoming 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Argentina.

I pray these kids get more encouragement and support so that they will represent the country in SEA Games, the Asian Games, and the Olympics.

Rugby

The Philippine Volcanoes beat Singapore in two straight matches to clinch the 2018 Asia Rugby Championship Division 1 title. In the world standings, the Philippines (56th) rank two places below Singapore.

I would like to see the Volcanoes beat Japan, Fiji, England, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand someday.

To all the Filipino athletes competing at the 2018 Asian Games and in all international sports competitions, good luck and God bless. LABAN PILIPINAS!

#LabanAtletangPilipino
#TeamPHIsaAsianGames2018
#ParaSaInangbayan

#AsianGames

#AsianGames2018

Open letter to Kuwaiti Instagram star Sondos Al Qattan

Sondos Al Qattan

Sondos Al Qattan (Image from https://www.thenational.ae)

To Sondos Al Qattan, a blogger and social media influencer from the Persian Gulf nation of Kuwait, I hope you are in good health when you read this letter. I hope that it reaches you and that you really do read it and above all, reflect and repent after reading.

I believe it must have been hard for you to lose your beauty endorsements following the backlash over your video in which you spoke up against the new labor laws in Kuwait that entitle Filipino domestic workers to a weekly day-off and the right to hold their passports at all times. I pray that you still have enough money and, above all, enough face to face the public.

You ranted, “For her to take a day off every week, that’s four days a month. Those are the days that she’ll be out. And we don’t know what she’ll be doing on those days, with her passport on her.

Ma’am, I hope your brain works fine and that you are not out of touch with reality and humanity but it is common sense to give your workers 1-2 days off every week for their rest and recreation. It is not your business to know where they will go or what they will do on their day-off. You only tell them off when they return to your place late or drunk or skip work the next day. I believe Filipino domestic workers will never do such a thing to you and to all their Arab employers.

You also said, “How can you have a servant in your house who gets to keep their passports with them?

Excuse me, Ma’am, but your servant has every right to keep her passport with her. You have no right to seize her passport. Why? Here are the reasons:

  1. The passport belongs to her. It is her personal document, her private property. It bears her name, not yours. If you take her passport away from her, then you are not a social media influencer but a thief, a slave driver, a human trafficker.
  2. Your maid’s passport is issued to her by her government. In the case of your Filipino servant, her passport is issued by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines, through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). Neither you nor the Kuwaiti government issued that passport.
  3. Your Filipino servant paid for that passport, not you. Even if you gave her the money to get a passport, still you do not own it and have no right to sieve it. Because the passport does not bear your name. You servant can only repay you.

You also said, “If they ran away and went back to their country, who’ll refund me?

Let the words of Khalid Al Ameri, a social media influencer and vlogger from the United Arab Emirates, sink into your mind:

If I worked for you, I would run so far away, the CIA wouldn’t be able to find me, I would dig a hole so deep, you wouldn’t be able to smell my scent. I would disappear. I would cease to exist. I would never show my face in this world again out of fear you might find me and might ask me to work for you again.

Ma’am, if you have been good towards your Filipino servant… if you have treated her better as a person and not a slave, she would never run away. She would never abandon you.

Your Filipino servant will serve you well, take good care of your family, treat your children as her own (and even protect them from harm), and look after your property (and nothing will be lost).

Your Filipino servant will never run away. She may leave for a month-long vacation to visit her family in the Philippines and probably renew her contract with you through her recruiter in the country.

If you have been good towards her, she would never say bad things about you to her family. She would exclaim what a blessing it is to work or have worked for you. She and her whole family would pray to God (or Allah) for you and your family.

These things a Filipino servant will do for you… if you have been good towards her.

The question is: What kind of a person are you to your servant?

In your attempt to save face over your controversial comments, you have dragged your Islamic faith, the hijab, and Kuwait. And that, Ma’am, is not a good thing to do. It will only bring you more great shame.

You cannot hide behind your religion. You cannot turn to Kuwaiti patriotism. You cannot cover yourself with the hijab or even the burka to justify not giving your servant a day-off or seizing her passport.

You cannot use your religious piety, culture, and love for country to justify your comments against the new labor laws that guarantee Filipino domestic workers a day-off and full possession of their passports.

By doing so, you give non-Muslims and non-Arabs the impression that your religion and your country permit the harsh treatment of foreign domestic workers, most of whom are non-Arabs and many of them are non-Muslims.

Please, Ma’am, don’t make matters worse for yourself, your fellow Kuwaitis and Arabs, and fellow Muslims. There is no “foreign media campaign” against you and the criticism against you is not an attack on Islam, the hijab, and Kuwait.

You courted controversy because of your comments, not because of your religion, country, and clothes. Brands don’t want you as endorser any longer not because you are a Muslim, a Kuwaiti, and a woman who wears the hijab. You brought harm to yourself because you would not give your servant a day-off and her right to hold her own passport.

Ma’am, while there is time, while you still have some of your endorsements and Instagram followers, please apologize. Save your face and your bank account.

Thank you very much for reading my letter! I pray you receive guidance on the issues you face.

“The myth about household appliances” by J. Allen Varasdi

Modern kitchen appliances

Modern kitchen appliances (Image from https://www.currys.co.uk)

This piece is taken from the book “Myth Information” by J. Allen Varasdi, published under Ballantine Books (copyright 1989).

The popular notion that modern household appliances have reduced the time required to do housework  is not true. The fact is, according to historical home economists, the modern housewife spends as much time doing housework today, despite modern conveniences, as did colonial women. Although appliances reduce the amount of physical effort involved in housekeeping and have improved our standard of living, comfort, and health, they have not actually saved time.

The reasons for this paradox are complex and deal with various social, cultural, and technological changes. As each new invention or changed appeared, a more complicated social structure was created that tend to increasingly separate the work of women from that of men and children. Whereas many older tasks were family projects, appliances shifted the division of labor onto the women and freed men and children for other activities.

Samsung household appliances

Samsung household appliances (Image from startribune.com)

Many chores were made easier by appliances such as washing machines, ranges, and vacuum cleaners, but they also brought with them more washing and cleaning than was done before. Houses were larger, more clothes were owned, and standards of cleanliness improved so that more time was needed for these chores.

Stores and refrigerators created varied cooking assignments with more time needed for shopping and to fill complex diet and meal routines. Running indoor water meant the bathrooms, toilets, and sinks, which before never existed, had to be cleaned. The result of these and other modern conveniences was simply to create new and bigger jobs which generally became the woman’s responsibility and took as much time as ever to complete.

Duterte, not God, is the STUPID one (but he is just being truthful) Part 2

Philippines province of China

The nonchalance of the Duterte Administration and the hypocrisy of Duterte fanatics make the Philippines the province of China. (Image from CNN Philippines)

Don’t forget to read Part 1.

Duterte’s stupid independent foreign policy

Duterte talks about having an independent foreign policy that sides with no particular nation. However, he sides with China and Russia and this he does by criticizing the United States and the United Nations. Stupid, is he not?

Diehard Duterte Supporters criticize the Catholic Church for interfering in political matters. However, they are quiet about the Chinese invasion of our territories and Russian military intervention in Ukraine.

They only support China and Russia just because Duterte supports China and Russia. They love China and Russia just because they support Duterte and his projects.

They criticize the United States just because Duterte criticize America. However, they are happy when the Philippine Peso gets weak against the American Dollar or when they obtain their visa or green card to go to America or any European Union country. Hypocrites!

Diehard Duterte Supporters criticize the Catholic Church for its crimes against humanity. However, they are quiet about the Chinese government’s political oppression of the Tibetan and Uyghur peoples. They are quiet about the absence of free speech, free press, and free Internet in China.

Duterte jet ski Scarborough Shoal

Diehard Duterte Supporters are now quiet about the president not fulfilling his campaign promise. They now approve of China’s occupation of Philippine territories. (Image from louieencabo.com)

Diehard Duterte Supporters are quick to speak about the sexual abuse victims of the Catholic Church and the poor people that the priests and nuns did not help. However, they are quiet about the 60 million people killed by the Chinese government, plus the millions more they oppress, which include religious believers, Tibetans, Uyghur Muslims, and human rights activists.

They are quiet about the Chinese invasion of Philippine territories in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). They are quiet about the Chinese intrusion in Vietnamese, Indonesian, Indian, Japanese, and South Korean territories.

Diehard Duterte Supporters criticize the Catholic Church, the United States, the United Nations, and the European Union for their interference in national affairs. They are quiet when it comes to the Chinese government’s human rights records and their interference in Hong Kong and Taiwan and the Russian government’s interference in Ukraine and Eastern Europe.

The Duterte administration approves of broadcasting Chinese shows on the state-run network Philippine Television (PTV). Why play foreign shows on the state TV network when the government can hire locals to brainstorm and produce TV programs for the state?

A lot of creative Diehard Duterte Supporters are unemployed or underemployed. Why not hire them and make better use of their media skills? If Duterte can hire a fake news propagandist like Mocha Uson, he can also hire competent people to make programs for the state’s media outlets. Or is he just that stupid?

The Duterte administration borrows money from China, which offers an interest rate of 3%. Japan offers 0.25-0.35% interest rate. Shouldn’t we be friendlier towards Japan? But of course, Duterte and the Diehard Duterte Supporters cannot notice the difference.

Because they are stupid.

China and Russia deserve better than the Philippines, if you ask me.

I wonder if Diehard Duterte Supporters support terrorist groups like the Islamic State, Boko Haram, and Al-Queda. I would like to know.

More hypocrisy, more stupidity

Diehard Duterte Supporters criticize the mainstream Philippine media for their allegedly negative coverage of the President but they are quiet about the absence of free press in China. They even defend the fake news and inaccuracy peddled by Secretary Martin Andanar and Undersecretary Mocha Uson of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).

Diehard Duterte Supporters hate the Filipino left but they, in behalf of the Duterte administration, take credit for the hard work of the leftist congressmen in the House of Representatives.

President Duterte claims the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as the “best in the world, entire universe”. Really? How could he say that when the AFP cannot even defeat communists rebels and Muslim fundamentalists in the Visayas and Mindanao, despite modern military assistance from abroad?

Duterte poses with soldiers.

Duterte poses with soldiers. (Image from http://conceptnewscentral.com)

How could President Duterte say AFP is the “best in the world, entire universe” when they have yet to meet the likes of Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic State, Irish Republican Army (IRA), the Houthis in Yemen, the Karen in Myanmar, the Acehnese in Indonesia, and the Boko Haram in Nigeria?

The AFP cannot be at the same level with America’s armed forces, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), the Swiss Army, the South Korean Army, the Japanese Army, and the Swiss Guards of the Vatican. The Philippine police and armed forces do not face a constant threat unlike the Israelis guarding the Gazan and West Bank borders.

Remember that Duterte challenged IS to attack Marawi. Look what happened. His bravado costs the Philippines 72 billion PhP.

Diehard Duterte Supporters are quiet about the inflation rate, the price increase, how the Philippines is gonna pay the billions the Duterte administration borrows from the Chinese government, the weakening of the Philippine Peso and the Philippine Stock Market, the fare increase, and the exorbitant spending of the Duterte administration.

Diehard Duterte Supporters are quiet about the government officials who are accused of corruption or misuse of public funds. They are just retained, reappointed, and promoted. Only a handful of them are charged. They are also quiet about the presidential son’s links to a multi-million drug shipment. (At least, he resigned from his position.)

Diehard Duterte Supporters used to speak out against epal politicians and individuals who make use of disasters for their political ambitions. However, they are quiet about Special Assistant to the President Bong Go, who now develops the habit of premature election campaigning.

Bong Go tarps, relief goods

Relief goods labeled with “Ready Set Go” alongside DSWD-issued relief goods. “Go” refers to SAP Bong Go. (Image from http://www.interaksyon.com_

President Duterte once told the people he will eliminate drugs in 3 to 6 months or he’ll resign. Later he asked for another six months. Much later he admitted he cannot do it in his term. The Diehard Duterte Supporters are quiet. What would their reaction be if it is not Duterte who’s making such statements?

The Diehard Duterte Supporters are not angry because it’s Duterte. If it’s not Duterte, they will be more than wild animals.

I can understand Duterte. I know the drug war is not easy to win and he’s fighting it in ways he knows best. At least he admitted his lapses. I give him the whole 6 years.

But the Diehard Duterte Supporters are just hypocritical as ever.

In closing

I do not write this long post in defense of the Catholic Church, which is, like any other religious and non-religious groups, is a human institution with all the liabilities of human sins and weaknesses.

Little does Duterte and the Diehard Duterte Supporters know that the Catholic Church is a mixture. Or do they know nothing at all due to their ignorance, arrogance, and close-mindedness?

The hypocrisy of Diehard Duterte Supporters knows no bounds.

The hypocrisy of Diehard Duterte Supporters knows no bounds.

The Catholic Church, the United States, the United Nations, the European Union… the mainstream media and the left-aligned political groups at the Philippine House of Representatives… each and every one of them is a mixture.

The same is true with President Duterte’s political party Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-LABAN) and all the political parties that form a coalition with PDP-LABAN and all the political groups that advocate Duterte’s version of federalism.

Mind you, the PDP-LABAN was founded against the late dictator and plunderer Ferdinand E. Marcos in 1986. Now, it supports the Marcos family that is also being supported by the Diehard Duterte Supporters. Stupid people all of them are.

In case you do not know and refuse to know, LABAN was the political party of the late Senator Ninoy Aquino. His wife, the late Cory Cojuangco Aquino, ran successfully as president under the coalition in 1986… Marcos. You, Diehard Duterte Supporters, now disown them, calling them as traitors, corrupt, evil… and many more bad names you can think of.

I write this post to express my opinions over current issues and more importantly, my displeasure about the manners and attitudes that you, Diehard Duterte Supporters, show on social media.

You, Diehard Duterte Supporters, force the Catholic Church and all the individuals and organizations that go against President Duterte to adopt standards that you yourself cannot even adapt in your own culture or way of life.

You, Diehard Duterte Supporters, force the Catholic Church and all the individuals and organizations that go against President Duterte to implement measures that you yourself cannot even carry out in your own family, community and organization.

You, Diehard Duterte Supporters, force the Catholic Church and all the individuals and organizations that go against President Duterte to make sacrifices and compromises that you yourself, your family, and your organization cannot even make.

You, Diehard Duterte Supporters, are as stupid as the President. At least he is being truthful before the public.

You, Diehard Duterte Supporters, are you being truthful to yourself?

You, Diehard Duterte Supporters, are you criticizing the Catholic Church and all the individuals and organizations that go against President Duterte to make up for your own lapses and weaknesses… to cover up your own bullshit?

You, Diehard Duterte Supporters, are you criticizing the Catholic Church and all the individuals and organizations that go against President Duterte to feel better while covering up your own incompetence?

Let it be known that I love my country. Loving my country does not mean loving the president. I support my country in my own ways.

Let it be known that I am against drugs and crime. My ways of fighting drugs and criminality are far different from yours and the President.

I don’t need to tell you what I do for the country just as the Catholic Church, the leftists, the NGOs from America, Europe, UN and others do for many Filipinos. We do not need to please you Diehard Duterte Supporters.

Hypocrites, I have said enough.

Duterte, not God, is the STUPID one (but he is just being truthful) Part 1

President Rodrigo Duterte is a fervent critic of the Catholic Church in the Philippines.

President Rodrigo Duterte is a fervent critic of the Catholic Church in the Philippines. (Image from http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/)

Duterte and religion

After reading news articles and social media posts about Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s tirades against the Catholic Church, which culminated into him calling God ‘stupid’, I cannot help but recall a verse I have read in the Bible years ago.

The verse says that the foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of man and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

I don’t know how atheists and secular folks would react to such a verse but it should mean nothing to them. For them, religion is pointless, bible verses cannot offend them, and God has no power over them. In other words, they are never affected over petty matters such as religion, except only when religious believers use religion to cover up their own bullshits.

But back to Duterte, the Filipino Catholic Church has long accepted that he is no longer Catholic. Acceptance is better than intolerance and persecution. Duterte should be thankful that he is a citizen of the Philippines, not of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Malaysia, Iran, or Egypt. Else, his body would be separated from his body.

Meeting between President Duterte and Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles

Meeting between President Duterte and Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles. (Image from http://news.abs-cbn.com)

Everyone has their own experience with a particular religion. For Duterte, it was not a positive one with the Catholic Church. We know he was abused by a priest (and may this priest rot in hell now) and he has not yet overcome the trauma of that abuse. He deals with it… by criticizing the Church, carrying out measures that go against it, and calling God “stupid”.

Everyone is free to process their experience of religion in their own way. Duterte did his.

Duterte more truthful than the Dutertetards

At least, Duterte is being truthful unlike many people I know online and offline.

He is more truthful than the people who post on Facebook about being blessed in life but failing to pay the money they owe to other people.

He is more truthful than the people who post on Facebook and Instagram about the foods they eat, the places they go, and the good time they enjoy but leaving their families in debts.

He is more truthful than the people who feel blessed in life but having abandoned their moral principles and vocation to serve the people.

Duterte does not hold back his foul language and lasciviousness. Many people, however, act as if they have not wronged anyone and think they can get away with their bullshits.

These people, mind you, are not only Diehard Duterte Supporters (DDS) but also God believers.

The hypocrisy of Duterte and the Dutertetards

Here, things get stupid.

Duterte is as stupid as his followers.

Duterte criticizes the Catholic Church and even ridicules its doctrines and teachings. However, he is quiet about the religious groups that support him. He is quiet about Muslim fundamentalists that plant the seeds of terror in Mindanao.

The Diehard Duterte Supporters are quiet too.

Duterte spews hatred against pedophile, moneyed, and incompetent priests (hope these motherfuckers die to not bring more damage to the name of God). However, he is quiet about religious leaders who got into a few bullshits too, like Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, the founder of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, The Name Above Every Name, Inc. and Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo of the Iglesia Ni Cristo.

The Diehard Duterte Supporters are quiet too.

Diehard Duterte Supporters criticize the Catholic Church for the sexual abuse by its priests. However, they are quiet about the Islamic State carrying out genocides in the Middle East, the violence by Buddhists in Myanmar and Sri Lanka, the violence by white supremacists, the persecution of gay people in Iran, the rape refugees in Europe, the political oppression by the North Korean government against its own people, police brutality in America, and the persecution of Christian minorities in Asia and Africa.

They are also quiet about Senate President Tito Sotto’s involvement in the Pepsi Paloma rape case. They even defend President Duterte’s rape remarks and kiss with a married woman at his visit to South Korea.

Diehard Duterte Supporters hate the Catholic Church for the sexual abuse scandals. However, they post pornographic or sexually explicit content in social media and even make or laugh at green jokes.

They are quiet about child pornography that is rampant in the town of Cordova, Cebu, the capital of child pornography in the Philippines. (One of Duterte’s political advisers happens to come from that town. Cordova is one of the first towns to hold conventions or assemblies on Duterte’s version of federalism.)

They are also quiet about House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’s distorted views of marriage and his infidelities.

Diehard Duterte Supporters criticize the Catholic Church for its wealth. However, these people don’t even pay their taxes. They cheat on their taxes. They practice nepotism. They overcharge their clients.

Worse of all, they don’t even go to church and if they do, they don’t give tithes. They even complain about the Church asking for more donations but they don’t even practice tithing. They don’t even support charities, non-governmental organizations, and cause-oriented groups. They don’t even volunteer or practice corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Diehard Duterte Supporters don’t care for the poor out of their good heart or faith or conviction but only because of Duterte. They support the poor just only to validate their support for the President and worse, to cover up their own bullshits.

All these things they do while showing no remorse for their own bullshits and claiming to be ‘spiritual’ and believing only in God but not in a particular religion. They are narrow-minded or close-minded.

It is okay to hate the Catholic Church for its incompetence, corruption of its clergy, and lack of care and concern for its flock. However, Diehard Duterte Supporters hate the Church just only because Duterte criticizes it regularly.

At least, Diehard Duterte Supporters hate the Catholic Church out of their own ignorance and lack of research, not due to their religious/spiritual experiences. At this aspect, they are being truthful.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and Senator Manny Pacquiao

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and Senator Manny Pacquiao are chicken about Duterte’s “stupid God” remarks. Image from https://www.senate.gov.ph)

Senator Manny Pacquiao and Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, both Born-Again Evangelical Christians, happen to be quiet about Duterte’s ‘stupid God’ remarks and criticisms of the biblical Creation and The Last Supper. They are quiet because they want to protect their political ambitions.

Senator Pacquiao and Secretary Cayetano are just like the pastors who supported racism in America, the Catholic clergymen who supported Jew-hatred in Eastern Europe and genocide in Rwanda, and the Orthodox priests who supported the Soviet regime.

Here, we know what kind of people the Diehard Duterte Supporters are: they are HYPOCRITES of the worst kind.

(To be concluded)

The Filipino Church lacks experiences in local martyrdom and persecution

Filipino Catholic rally against death penalty and war on drugs

Filipino Catholics rally against death penalty and war on drugs espoused by the Duterte Admnistration. (Image from http://www.dnaindia.com)

It is no secret that the Filipino Catholic Church has been into a few bullshits over the past few years, with scandals such as sexual abuse by its clergy, opulent lifestyles of its members as opposite to the lives of Jesus, the Apostles, and the saints, and interference in political matters, which get the goat and the blood pressure high of all the supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The Filipino Catholic Church is comfortable, safe and secured unlike their fellow Christians and co-religionists in parts of Asia and Africa where Islamic fundamentalists live and burn churches and Bibles like it’s a party.

Execution of the Sacred Heart of Jesus by republican militiamen during the Red Terror in Spain

Execution of the Sacred Heart of Jesus by republican militiamen during the Red Terror in Spain (Image from https://www.actuall.com)

They have not experienced the hardships faced by their brothers and sisters in faith in Soviet-occupied Eastern Europe, Spain (during the Red Terror of the Spanish Civil War), Mexico (during the persecution that led to the Cristero War), Indonesia, China, Northern Africa, Nigeria (in areas where Boko Haram carry out terrorist activities), Pakistan, India (Hindu fanatics are as wild as the Islamists), Nazi Germany, Turkey (where priests are arrested for baptizing people), and Russia (where many Orthodox Christians are hostile towards Roman and Eastern Rite Catholics).

The Catholic Church in the Philippines has not tasted death that other Catholics and Christians had suffered in the hands of Communists, Islamists, atheists, and even fellow Christians (the St. Bartholomew Massacre, the Ku Klux Klan, etc).

Lynched Catholic victims of the Cristero War in Mexico

Lynched Catholic victims of the Cristero War in Mexico (Image from https://eccechristianus.wordpress.com)

The Filipino Catholic Church has been soft and indecisive at times. Perhaps it takes a religious persecution to toughen them up and strengthen their faith like persecutions did to the martyrs of England and Wales, Japan, Korea, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Mexico, Uganda, and Algeria.

It is time that the Filipino Catholic Church create martyrs right at home. Lorenzo Ruiz was executed in Japan and Pedro Calungsod was killed in Guam.

Why not start in Davao City, the home of President Duterte?

Will we be seeing priests executed or beheaded in Rizal Park?

Will we be seeing nuns and women church workers sexually assaulted by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), just like the Communists did in Eastern Europe and the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq?

Will we be seeing the supporters of President Duterte dragging priests out of their churches, torching churches and religious articles, and putting priests – and God – in trial at the Congress or Supreme Court?

Will we be seeing the Duterte Administration confiscating churches and monasteries and nationalizing church-owned schools, hospitals, and orphanages?

Will we be seeing Duterte supporters celebrating while watching church burn down to the ground like the Islamists do in Pakistan?

I can sense that the supporters of Duterte, popularly known as Dutertetards or Diehard Duterte Supporters (DDS), are ready to put blood in their own hands. By their social media posts, I can say that they are ready to kill priests and nuns with their own hands in more brutal ways than the atheistic communist, terrorists, and anti-Christian governments did in history.

Public execution of Polish priests and civilians in Nazi-occupied Poland.

Public execution of priests and civilians in Nazi-occupied Poland. Duterte supporters would love to kill priests, should they be given the chance. (Image from Wikipedia Commons)

They are ready to be more bloodthirsty. Duterte supporters are ready to kill, rape and pillage the Church once they get tired of attacking it on social media.

If the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos can get priests and laymen, activists and indigenous people killed, how much more with President Duterte?

It all takes a signal from Duterte himself so they can initiate a bloodier and more brutal persecution of the Church in ways that will make the persecutors of Christianity, from Emperor Nero to Osama bin Laden, proud and welcome them wherever they are now in the afterlife.

Will we be seeing any of these soon? When shall we expect Duterte supporters to start physically attacking the Church?

That is, if Duterte supporters have the balls.

As said, it all takes a go-signal from Duterte. However, he has no balls yet, in the deeper sense.

Persecution will only take place once Duterte has the balls. He should have the balls first, and then the supporters will have balls.

Follow the leader, that is.

If you can analyze at Duterte’s “stupid God” remarks and tirades against the Catholic Church from all angles, then you will know what I mean.

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