My negative opinion and thoughts for a particular experience.

The problem of being Ernest (An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind)

When you are a cool successful business leader like Ernest Cu, all eyes are on you. Take this for instance:

A certain remark made by Globe Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ernest L. Cu last February 12 at the CloudFone event at Prive, BGC has been making its rounds on the internet –earning the man flak for what was supposed to be a spirited jab.

In an official statement by Globe, the words said in pure jest were said to have not been part of Mr. Cu’s official speech. He has been misquoted, taken out of context and the whole thing has now blown out of proportion in different social media networks, perhaps with the aid of a few from the rival telco’s side.

Globe has always put its consumers first. And as a selfless man who has always found a way to put others before him, it is a sentiment Mr. Cu takes to heart. Which is why the attacks, which have escalated on a personal level on several blogs and social mediums, seem to be unnecessary and uncalled for. It is quite unfortunate that the bloggers found it more newsworthy to mudsling and to bully, to talk about a misquote instead of the official business of that day.

And it’s instances like this, when people in media use their voice to hastily criticize than to report news, that make cyber bullying a real problem. Because suddenly, instead of inviting open-minded discourse, only one side, is being aired while the other, bashed. No matter what the real story is, the public figure is left shamed by the faceless name on the Internet.

This is why it would then be much more beneficial for all to focus on what Mr. Cu and Globe have been doing for their consumers, instead of something that was said to friends. And in doing so, perhaps find a way to properly express comments and opinions instead of simply bashing or throwing shallow criticisms. At the end of the day, an eye for an eye, or simply, a retort for a remark, leaves the whole world blind –and infinitely, no one better off.


Boycott Starbucks Coffee!

So there I was, looking from left to right and vice versa as if I was doing something illegal, something criminal. When the coast was clear and found no authorities watching, I lighted a stick of Marlboro on the sidewalk of Pasong Tamo Extension in front of Starbucks Coffee which is a very busy street in Makati and considered to be a “public place”. Since July 1, 2011 smoking in public places in the Philippines has become illegal.

So yes, technically, I was indeed doing an illegal activity. I was breaking the law.

But it was not my fault. It was Starbucks’ fault.

After being a patron of Starbucks brand since the time they first opened in the 6750 Building in 1997, I was shocked and saddened to find out that all of its branches nationwide have no longer a smoking area. As in all, even the one inside Resorts World where the entire building is practically a smoking area.

Starbucks Coffee just lost one customer who consumed one to two mugs of brewed coffee a day for more than a decade. I used to hold almost all my meetings outside the office in Starbucks because of the smoking area they used to have.

How many Starbucks customers like me who are now seeking nicotine refuge while enjoying a cup of coffee in Bo’s Coffee, Coffee Bean and Tealeaf and Figaro?

Coffee is the perfect match for smoking and given the number of smokers among middle class working men and women, Starbucks is losing at least 40% of its customers in all branches nationwide. Convert that in sales value and I am telling you, they are losing income.

Smoking may be bad for my health but it is good for my soul.  It keeps me sane from the madness of this world. Since time immemorial like two to ten centuries ago, man was already smoking and it is only in this time that the health issues have been raised. It’s not smoking nor second hand smoke but the pollution caused by deadlier smoke emission in vehicles and factories that contributed to the increasing number of lung failure fatalities.

Speaking on behalf of all smokers, we respect the rights of non-smokers and that is why we patronize coffee shops with smoking areas.  With the new regulation of Starbucks Coffee, it only means that its management doesn’t want our business and so we will take it elsewhere.

Thus, I urge all fellow smokers to boycott Starbucks Coffee and let us bring our business in coffee shops with smoking areas.

Boycott Starbucks Coffee!

My Rule of Thumb for Starbucks No Smoking Policy: TRIPLE THUMBS DOWN!!!


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Hubert, Vizconde: Injustice is blind

Hubert Webb and Lauro Vizconde are in the headlines again after the former was acquitted by the Supreme Court yesterday. There were sudden outbursts of emotions from the two camps after the SC announced the decision as shown on major TV news programs last night. There are already many opinions and thoughts shared in the media and internet about the Vizconde case.

Yet, many failed to see that the real story is neither the acquittal of Hubert nor the denial of justice of Lauro Vizconde but the power of media to influence public opinion.

Though the journalistic dictum that “news is only supposed to be right today” is true, we must realize that the concept of what is right now becomes absolute in the opinions of many even if it’s wrong tomorrow. Though balance and accuracy are the primary elements of news writing and news reporting, the manner of executing the news itself creates a misconception particularly when presenting the priority angle of the two sides of the story.

A news story can be presented in either negative or positive angle as long as these are based on facts. For instance, the news yesterday about the SC decision on the Vizconde case can be presented in these angles: HEADLINE 1: “SC acquits Hubert Webb et al” or HEADLINE 2: “Justice denied for Lauro Vizconde”. Both headlines are factual but the angle makes the difference. If the news focused on the side of Hubert Webb first, chances are public opinion may be in his favor and the same goes for Lauro Vizconde.

The key in influencing “initial” human judgment about a particular issue lies in the headline because it dictates the story angle and builds the interest of the reader or televiewer as the story progresses while the other side becomes a “by-the-way” or a mere rebuttal in the totality. Collectively, this initial human judgment becomes the public opinion. It will take a long time before this can be reversed.

HEADLINE: Solon’s son accused in Vizconde massacre

This was the headline more than 15 years ago at a time when the entire nation cried for justice and needed an outright answer to the question “Who massacred the Vizcondes?” The name of Hubert Webb was in the headlines as a suspect. Hubert Webb became the outright answer in sympathy with Lauro Vizconde. Hubert Webb was already guilty in the eyes of the public even though he was only an accused who is supposedly innocent until proven guilty.

The story of Hubert Webb as the prime suspect was very interesting simply because he is the son of then Paranaque Congressman and TV and sports personality Freddie Webb. The angle was for the masses where Hubert symbolized the fall of the discriminating influential and wealthy class by committing a heinous crime.

HEADLINE: Hubert Webb acquitted

This is the headline today fifteen years later. Hubert Webb was found not guilty by the Supreme Court yesterday. The SC ruled in favor of his innocence. If you are going to conduct a survey or a focus group discussion about Hubert Webb, I will my mug of coffee that the opinions will be in his favor. The sympathy will be his.

The story of Hubert Webb today is that 15 years was taken away from the life Hubert Webb for a crime he did not commit and wrongly accused of. As for Lauro Vizconde, justice is really denied. He was chasing the wrong people all along. With Hubert Webb being acquitted, the entire case has become meaningless and a major futile exercise. Justice is also denied for Hubert Webb for being incarcerated for something he did not commit.

It’s the irony of all ironies. Injustice is blind.

The question 15 years ago on who killed the Vizcondes was already answered through Hubert Webb. I think it should be asked again and the demand another answer. The PNP and NBI should do their job carefully and efficiently and should not be affected by public opinion this time. The same thing with court judges, don’t get influence by public opinion.

Our consciousness is susceptible to the bandwagon effect being reflected by the media. We easily get influence by what we see and what we are told on TV, newspaper, radio and internet. There is no difference between news and advertising. We buy what is advertise and we believe what’s in the news.

The big difference is that news and opinions are free.

My Rule of Thumb for our justice system is THUMBS DOWN.

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Heads up

Heads up.  It’s not yet the end of the road.

What we witnessed last night was a mistmatch. The way I saw it, the Alaska Aces had only five players on the floor while the opponent had 9 including the three referees and one in the official table.  The referees did not call it down the middle and someone in the official’s table did not call a time out when Coach Tim and LA Tenorio were asking for one in the crucial part of the game.

Last night was really a heartbreaker. I was really disappointed that we lost.  But I was not disappointed with the team. Perhaps last night was really not our night. Perhaps something better awaits us before the elimination ends.

We’ve been here before. I would rather experience what we did last conference to lose during elimination and eventually win the crown than be on top of the ladder but only to falter during the actual championship series which we did twice (vs. Talk & Text and Purefoods).

Our team is much stronger than today than a year ago or even a year before that.

Hope is not lost.  Hope is within us. Hope is always alive. Hope and they shall win again.

Please don’t stop believing in our team.


My Rule of Thumb for the officiating last night: THUMBS DOWN!

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Secrets of the Lotto revealed!

The winning number combination for the 6/55 Grand lotto (November 10) was 04 10 29 30 34 35.

Last night and for the nth time, there was no winner of the P382 million prize pot in 6/55 Grand Lotto. For many Filipinos it means that they have another chance to win, that they have another opportunity to be on-top of the social ladder, and that they have another hope to improve their lives in their daily struggles to make ends meet.

Yet the mathematical probability to win the lotto is 1:28 million. There is no formula except faith and sheer luck such as the hope that the combination of birthdates of loved ones and family members can bring home the bacon worth P400 million. And boy that’s a lot of bacon.

The next draw of the 6/55 Grand Lotto will be on Saturday (November 13) with the prize pot expecting to reach at least P400 million. However, the real implication of 6/55 Grand Lotto for many Filipinos is not about the increasing unimaginable amount of the jackpot prize but it’s about hope.

I know someone who has been betting the same number combination everyday in all lotto games for more than 10 years now. The mere fact that he is still betting, it means he has yet to win. But for more than ten years, how will he spend the money still remained the same. He will buy house and lot, car, travel abroad and a Storm Shadow GI Joe action figure which he could not buy when he was young and still could not buy today even if he breaks his back toiling his workplace more than eight hours a day. Yet his idea of the greatest financial emancipation is not by working hard but by the lottery.

Lotto is the ultimate instant gratification where a lifestyle fit for royalty awaits the winner. But the real instant gratification of this number game is more metaphysical than physical where it is basically not about winning but it is actually about the idea of winning.

Many have until Saturday to day dream and plan how they would make use of the winning prize if ever they would win. Many have until Saturday to smile with the hope of a good life. Many have until Saturday to endure the absurd cycle of their respective realities.

Yet the chance of winning is only 1 in 28 million but the hope in the hearts of many is 28 million to 1.

Come Saturday, perhaps someone will finally win it. If  none, the dream continues…

My rule of thumb for the idea of winning the lottery: NEITHER.