My new passion project: Out and Abroad

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After mulling about this for the longest time, I FINALLY started my passion project – a blog collective called “Out and Abroad” for all those like me who are already living and working abroad or thinking about making that big move.

Ever since I moved to Singapore I’ve noticed the lack of blogs or articles that chronicle real stories of real people (especially Asians) about this topic. Culture shock. Intercultural relationships. Work permits. Landlords. But so many people, both friends and strangers, have always approached or emailed me asking for advice. My vision for Out and Abroad is to be a blog collective and a platform to broadcast stories for like minded individuals. 

The reality is that more people are becoming ‘global citizens’ but no one is really talking about what that means on a personal level. The struggle is real. Haha.

Don’t worry. I’ll still be using ForeignFilipina as my personal blog (it will never go away!) My sister has asked me what’s the difference. My reply is that Out and Abroad is not about me. It’s about the community I want to build.

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Anyway, I hope you guys can help me out in two ways.

1) Like our Facebook page

2)  I’m looking for contributors, particularly Asian women. Please let me know if you know someone who might be interested or write to us at outandabroad@gmail.com.

Thanks :)

Pressures of a President

Pressures of a President

As usual, I never seem to stay put.

This school year I made the shift from writing for The Guidon’s G Magazine to Beyond Loyola for two reasons:

  1. Challenge my writing style
  2. To prepare myself if ever I do fulfill my dream of being a big shot broadcaster in CNN or BBC.

If you follow this blog you know that my natural style is more features than news. But aside from the feel-good, funny blogs and sites that I frequent (at least when I had more time), I also enjoy reading a lot of analytical pieces on Time, Huffington Post and more recently, The Harvard Business Review. Plus, I originally wanted to take up international relations before discovering communications and I have my background with Model United Nations for 3 years.

“Pressures of a President” was my first official attempt at “newsy” writing. It was difficult to make the switch, but not impossible! I’m getting the hang of it with each article that we have to write. I’m enjoying the challenge.

I particularly liked writing this one because I got to apply something local — like the SONA to an international context, which is another reason why I was interested in writing for Beyond Loyola in the first place.  I like bridging worlds and ideas together. You get better insight that way.

Because of the delay in encoding it online, I never got to promote it! Since it’s not exactly timely anymore, I’ve decided to put it here instead. Enjoy!

Pressures of a President

By: Rica S. Facundo and Desiree T. Tan

FILIPINOS DEMAND president Aquino to tackle a multitude of issues such as land reforms, the Reproduction Healthy Bill, and regaining people’s trust in the government. In similar respects, other countries are burdened with identical issues: India with overpoppulation, and the United States with their questionable health care system.

With a year in office under his belt, little progress has been seen by the Philippine public. Perhaps, Aquino should turn to his fellow presidential counterparts to gain a tip or two on how to address such issues—what can our president learn from the experiences of other nations’ leaders?

Obama’s burden

Both Aquino and US President Barack Obama sit on platforms of change. However, with the portraits of their controversial predecessors behind their backs, getting too comfortable on their leather seats is not an option.

The two have a common burden: they both inherited their predecessor’s failures, which continue to cast a shadow on their own terms of office. Former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo left Aquino with a P177 billion debt and a long list of failures in the fields of human rights and good governance.

Aquino’s grace period is nearing its end—for some, in fact, it ended a long time ago. The issues spilled over from the past regime will no longer be able to serve as an alibi for Aquino’s lack of progress.

Gaddafi’s wang-wang in Libya

Whether it is caused by revolutionary riot or ruthless repression, thousands of people have died under the Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. An exercise of what Aquino would call wang-wang mentality characterized Gaddafi’s cultivation of absolute power, which thrived on a regional tradition of absolute respect for the father. Gaddafi is the Rais, the father, the inescapable head of state—and the ordinary Libyans were left with no choice but to follow.

Gaddafi is reported to have said that he will leave Libya only by divine will. Fortunately, there’s also a great power that exists within the reach of the people and can be strengthened with the collective voice of the international community—a force that is bulletproof to Gaddafi’s weapon of mass oppression.

As proven by the now victorious Libyan uprising against Gaddafi, and our own People Power Revolution 25 years ago, the people are capable of mobilizing against the abuse of power and of holding even the cruelest tyrants accountable for their actions.

Lessons from a neighbor

Singapore is one of the smallest nations in the world. The first Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew used an authoritarian leadership style to transform an underperforming nation into a highly developed and thriving city-state. His son and successor, incumbent Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, continues to push the already remarkable First World economy to greater heights.

The younger Lee has been known as a president who listens to his people’s pleas. Perhaps distinguishing him from his father’s firm governance, he is known for apologizing for the government’s shortcomings. As a result, he has developed trust among his people.

Where to go next

In spite of Aquino’s shortfalls and missed opportunities, his efforts have seen minimal success. One of his efforts include the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program, which is a nationwide conditional cash transfer program geared to reduce poverty.

“Because we have another elite president,” Political Science Instructor Gino Trinidad says, “it’s a very promising project of making the government closer to the people.”

Yet Filipinos are starting to wonder: is this all he can do? The cash transfer program, for example, has been repeatedly criticized as a stopgap measure. “Governance is not just about anti-corruption—you also have to focus on your services,” comments Philip Recentes, a human rights project officer from the Ateneo School of Government (ASoG).

Even though he is committing to his anti-wang-wang policies, the president still holds a long to-do list that includes addressing controversial issues. “I think he has to feel that people are getting impatient,” said Rechie Tugawin, a human rights training officer from ASoG.

After one year in office, Aquino’s best bet to a better five years are accountability in all issues he will deal with, and better habits other than just his anti-wang-wang mentality.

Aquino may be better off in focusing on results rather than reputation, to practice political will rather than leniency, and to spend more time listening to the people on the streets rather than pleasing government bureaucrats.

Indeed, what he needs to do is to deliver more visible results, rather than just inspiring speeches.

Read more articles on Beyond Loyola here.

Happy blogday!

Hmmm truth?

I have quite a bit of back-blogging and life updating to do but first I wanted to take a moment to commemorate my blog’s birthday.

As of 3 days ago, April 27, senorica is now officially one year old and as of today has gotten around 12,465 hits (based on unique visitors per day) which I admit I’m pleasantly surprised about given my limited self-blog-promotion. A part of me still cringes and is scared at the thought of totally putting this blog out there, especially on Facebook.  But regarldess, this calls for a celebratory post because I’m proud at how loyal I’ve been in updating this quite regularly.

Blogs are my kind of life doodles. Over the years I’ve had my fair share of journals and planners but this has become my favorite way to scribble my life down. Although a part of me is aware about how public i’m making my private life, I still do because not only do I do it for myself, but the thought process involved helps in keeping my life feel sane.

After re-visiting some of my first entries here I figured I would dedicate this post to personal reasons why I believe in the power of the blog. I was genuinely amused at what I wrote and how I wrote about the events that transpired. Taking the time to look back made me realize that I was glad to have something to laugh and feel inspired about in the first place. Continue reading

The write perspective

A friend recently told me that everyone can write, but not everyone can write stories.  Personally, writing may be my hobby but stories are my life which is why I try my best to integrate both.

Frankly, I know that I’m not the best writer out there. All I have to do is read the blogs and articles of  my talented orgmates,  friends and block mates to remind myself of how powerful words can be when used cleverly and masterfully.

As for me, well, I write the way I speak which tends to translate into long run on sentences that pretty much reflects my never ending and often all over the place train of thought.  Insert my penchant for metaphors and smilies with with its underlying hint of exaggeration then you’ve got Rica’s indigestion splattered all over this blog. Over time I’ve learned and am still learning how to hone it into something a little bit more comprehensible.

But despite this I try my best to get the story out, whether they’re mine or of my friends. At the end of the day as I stare (blankly) into my computer screen, sharing is the number one reason why I bother in the first place. Because regardless of the plot, stories, whether they’re mine or of my friends, are what I feel makes life interesting. You can live vicariously through the tales of other people and hopefully learn something from their experiences.

That’s why I get excited to write, not only here but on g, the Guidon’s online magazine, whose awesome faces you can see above. As journalists it’s our job to be story tellers and write as if we’re telling the best story in the world.

Personally, it’s the kind of perspective I believe enables people to eventually close and move on to each chapter in their life with a smile. One day it’s going to become a good story to laugh about with your friends. Because despite all the shit in this world, there can be light at the end of a writer’s pen, or in this case on the blogger’s computer screen.