Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Through the Ampalaya Vine

Last Monday the French embassy awarded "treasonous" lolo, former UP President Dodong Nemenzo, a medal of merit. I don't know the particulars of his award since I wasn't invited to the ceremony. My senior colleagues however were able to partake of excellent French cheese and wine at the event held in the ambassador's residence Monday evening. Dodong, recently charged by the government for rebellion, reportedly thanked the French government for appreciating him when his own government didn't. Those Frenchies sure are cheeky. Good luck to presidential front-runner Ségolène Royal of the Parti Socialiste. Should she win, France embraces its first female head of state.


In other chismis, I had been hearing of UP's planned tuition hike for months. UP's undergrad tuition has been pegged at P300 since when I was freshie in 1997. Nine years ago! I think its about time UP makes some adjustments for inflation among other things. Besides I bet at least 50% of the student population can easily afford to pay 18,000++ per semester. And for chrissakes, give them struggling professor's a fighting chance. A favorite mentor of mine who has slaved all her life for the university is a Professor 12 (the highest level). She once said she took home P30,000 a month when her colleagues in Hong Kong made ten times more. Now what kind of pay is that? Randy David, himself a professor at the Sociology Department, makes clear his opinion on the matter.


Now Day 5 of Watergate. Thanks a lot Maynilad. You gave us six months of clear water after a year and a half of little to no water. And now back to no water. So much for corporate responsibility. Lucky the customers of Manila Water. Hah, who decides which zone goes to whom???

Reming is Coming!

Props to Pag-asa for doing an excellent job. Their Milenyo storm warning came in time, although I don't think many people took heed. They announced the imminent onset of El Nino when Paeng and Queenie didn't make it seemly.

Now they announce another super typhoon, Reming, is about to hit Manila. Classes tomorrow have already been suspended. Can't say I'm disappointed :-)

Outside it is warm, even humid. The air is so still you can hear cars zooming by miles away. Calm before the storm eh? Brace your trees, reinforce your roofs and shingles. And for god's sake don't go wandering about if you don't want things to land on you. Here's to minimal damage and casualties. Be safe everyone.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

100 Years in Limbo

In a couple of months I will be leaving the Philippines to study abroad. My greatest concern isn't the fear of the unknown, of living in a foreign land I'd never seen before or of being essentially cut off from all that I know for over a year. My greatest fear is being seduced by first-world comfort and abandoning the imaginary of a better Philippines in my head. It is tough, to hold on to this dream, when becoming my family's sole breadwinner is fast approaching. Dreaming is good if you can afford it.


Manolo offers the work of Victor Sumsky on (incremental) social change in the Philippines for the past hundred years. This short paper makes an incredible observation so simple, so elegant, I'd never heard of it before. The same way as the characters in Rizal's Noli and Fili debate the merits and drawbacks of Reform or Revolution, it is almost funny how we face the same exact dilemma today. Marcos tried building a "Bagong Lipunan" by destroying traditional elites, but has failed in creating new ones. While we are all so proud of the bloodless EDSAs, what has truly changed? While we here in Manila engineer coups and revolutions, the provinces remain unmoved, frozen.

...socially dominant groups selectively “borrow” elements of modernity not so much to transform the existing order as to recreate it in a somewhat different, revitalized form. Instead of a breakthrough into modernity, the result is a passage to neopatrimonialism. In many ways, the Philippine Revolution might serve as an example. Although it subsequently led to the formal introduction of political democracy, the development of modern education and greater upward social mobility for certain sectors of the population, there was no radical change in agrarian relations and the social structure.

It is interesting to think that for the past century our people has been stuck in limbo, still negotiating the choice between Reform and Revolution - incremental, even procedural change or one so violent as to completely rend all that we are and know. In conclusion Sumsky asks whether the dilemma of Reform or Revolution still holds significance today. Are our choices limited to traditional politicking or communist and putschist take-overs? For the past hundred years have we been futilely circling the merry-go-round, where the more things change, the more they stay the same? Or, as Sumsky suggests, is there a third way? If so, who among us will find it?

When we speak of centuries it is tempting to want to be passive victims of time, letting things unfold separate from our mundane lives. But as one wise man said, the point is to change history. While it is tempting to sit back and wash our hands of accountability, while it is tempting to jump ship along with the many, don't you feel as though the time is now? When that opening, that momentous period in time comes don't you want to be there, to seize it?


Fifteen months is a long time to be far away from home. When I come back, I might be a completely different person. In a year's time I hope to read this post with conviction.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

When you can't resist replying....

A friend of mine forwarded me this funny tally of vandalism scribbled in UP's cr. Nakakaaliw. Hehe.


College of Fine Arts Wall:
"nobody cares"
somebody answered:
"not even the carebears?"
then another:
"not even kier?"
"not even zoren?"
"not even zorro?"
all written by different people.

AS chairs:
"push button to eject seatmate"
"push button to eject urself"
"push button to kill teacher."
"push button to eject teacher"
....reply: "it's jammed! We're doomed!"

AS cubicle:
"Donate your bulbol here.." tapos may chewing gum na pagdidikitan. ...

AS chair :
"you know bobo? bobo is you!"

AS board, during enlistment of GE subjects:
"Pumila ka ngunit kulang..."

AS 1st floor CR:
"if you forget the past, then you porget the purious.."

AS 1st floor CR uli:
" Im a simple gay "
tapos me sumagot
"sira! Dapat 'Im simple and gay!' Taga peyups ka ba? duh! "
tapos me sumagot ulit (with matching arrow pa na nakaturo dun sa reply)
"sira ka rin! yung simple is used as an adjective tapos yung gay is used as
a noun. kaya ok lang yung simple gay nya!"

Chem chair:
"push button to spray acid on prof's face."
Another chem chair:
"You Boron!!!"

Bio chair:
"Push cadaver to haunt teacher."

Sa Men's CR, facing the urinal:
"Hawak ko saking mga kamay ang kinabukasan ng bayan!"
"the future you are holding is very small."

sa likod ng armchair sa isang room sa GAB:
"takas ng ward 7"

sa cr sa may math building:
may sumagot:
may sumagot pa:

sa math building, sa likod ng isang "teacher's chair" sa 3rd floor:
"BABALA: asawa ni babalu"

sa math 3rd floor, sa isang upuan uli.
"you'll NEVER find what you're looking for"
May nag-reply:
"find x."

sa math 3rd floor, sa isa pang upuan uli.
nakasulat sa armchair:
ta's may sumagot:

3rd floor math cr:
"kaibigan, pagkapatos mong umihi, paki PLUS mo naman, hehehe."
sa loob ng music room.
"maam _______(music prof) boses palaka! "
tas may sumagot
"nakarinig ka na ba ng boses ng palaka "
tas may sumagot uli
"weh "
tas may nag-react uli
"oo, sabi kokak!kokak! "

Wall ng vinzons
"Do not steal. The government hates competition"
men's cr sa Vinzon's:
"remember: the hands that clean this toilet are the same hands that cook
your food."

men's cr waaaay above the urinal:
"if you can reach this, the fire department wants you!"

sa isang upuan:
"f*ck nigs!"
may nagreply:
"who's nigs?"

Sa isang lamesa ng main lib, filipiniana section:
tapos may sumagot...
"mali pang grammar at spelling mo, halatang di ka taga UP"

nietzsche-"god is dead"
God- "Nietzsche is dead!"

Shopping Center sa labas ng PNB:
"in case of emergency break ass and push butt" (nawala ang "gl" at "on")
sa girls' CR:
"Bawal ang vandal Dito!...
Mommy said: First Aid Terramycin"
sa girls' CR uli:
"My boyfriend and I had sex and now I'm pregnant"
"Pray to God"

Friday, November 17, 2006

Oh, Gringo!

Is it me or is there a thinly veiled undercurrent of illicit liaisons and adultery in the media coverage of Gringo Honasan? The very first images of Honasan when the news broke out were of him literally pulling his pants up, then cut to the image of a certain Ingrid Ramos in whose home he was captured. Now the media is teasing us with insinuations of a special relationship with this mystery woman. Is she a "certain kind of friend?" The question of her relationship with Honasan seems to be overshadowing the arrest itself, and its implications. Maybe its because he's incredibly good-looking and seems to exude this...machismo that women of all ages can't help but notice. Well, whatever comes out of his arrest and trial, this 58 year-old, swashbuckling, coup plotter/senator certainly knows how to capture the public's imagination. What an elaborate way to start his senatorial campaign.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Interesting articles of note #3

In the olden days, the rising middle class showed "visibility" by having their portraits painted. Today, you only need You Tube to announce to the world that you have "arrived!"

In this day and age where time is literally money, we maximize our days (sometimes nights) working. Is napping a sign of laziness? Not necessarily, writes Kurt Kleiner.

Scholars debate the merits of the Anyone-can-edit encyclopedia.

Show me your fingers and I'll tell you who you are! British scientists say your digit length holds clues to your physical capabilities.

You know what I hate about Economics? In the past decades, one of its progeny, the Rational Choice theory, thinks to take over the social sciences. Ratchoice says we humans are utility maximizers. Scholars have all sorts of game theories to explain human behavior based on the assumption that when we make decisions, we always "calculate" the best way to make either relative or absolute gains. As if we were machines!

Take for example, the ultimatum game:

IMAGINE that you are sitting next to a complete stranger who has been given £10 to share between the two of you. He must choose how much to keep for himself and how much to give to you.

He can be as selfish or as generous as he likes, with one proviso: if you refuse his offer, neither of you gets any money at all. What would it take for you to turn him down?

If we were purely "calculating" beings then we would make the rational decision of getting something rather than nothing. But scientists say, our brains aren't wired to work that way:

According to standard economic theory, you should cheerfully accept anything you are given. People are assumed to be motivated chiefly by rational self-interest, and refusing any offer, however low, is tantamount to cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Yet in practice derisory offers are declined all the time. Indeed, if the sum is less than £2.50, four out of five of us tell the selfish so-and-so to get lost. We get so angry at his deliberate unfairness that we are prepared to incur a cost to ourselves, purely to punish him.

Home-schooling in the US allow some devout Christian parents the exclusive right to brainwash their children. Amanda Gefter writes.

We laugh when we're happy. But why do we also laugh when we're mad? Scared? Nervous? Sad?

We weep or laugh to purge ourselves of our conscious reactions to words and things, to lessen our discomfort at seeing or imagining evil, a threatening situation, or the flawed and inferior, the stupid, ugly, or absurdly incongruous. Emotion is displaced action, the sort of feelings we get when we want to do something but can't, when we can't fight or flee, as when a loved one dies, and also the sort of feelings we get when we compare ourselves to others and feel we are superior to them. Humour can also be a sort of aggression, as when a defensive, unsure person assigns nicknames to his associates.
And finally, Charo explains how she fixed my laptop problem.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Men and their Sticks and Balls

I've been enjoying the last week of my sembreak watching men do amazing tricks with sticks and balls. The World Pool Championships, held for the first time here in the Philippines, are about to come to a close, but the usual names are nowhere to be seen. The Big Guns, the likes of Efren "Bata" Reyes, Francisco "Django" Bustamante and Alex Pagulayan failed to bring their A game at home court. Pagulayan crashed out early, followed by noticeably shaky Django and Bata. Good news is, new Filipino talents have been given the chance to shine. I watched Jeff De Luna charm the crowd last night, with his barely contained energy evidenced by that MASSIVE break. At 22, he has plenty of time to mature and learn to harness that electric buzz he always seems to bring to the table.

As I write this the lone Filipino left, virtual unknown Ronato Alcano, is fighting to get into the finals. If De Luna is fire, Alcano is icy cool when he plays. He just beat last year's champ the wunderkind Wu Chia Ching. If Alcano is succesful in beating China's Li He Wen, I hope he bears well the weight of this country's expectations in tomorrow's championship match.

Go Ronnie!!!!!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Pro-Digital Filmmaker, Anti-Filipino Film-goer

In a feedback article in the Inquirer today, a film student from Cebu is quick to defend Filipino digital filmmakers such as himself, but paradoxically declares his loss of faith in Filipino moviegoers.
Is the Filipino audience still worthy of such a sacrifice? To me, this is the true dark night of Philippine Cinema today, an issue that requires another devil’s advocate.

Me? I have never given up on the Filipino artist, but I have long since given up on the Filipino as a public for art.

Either Eric Tan Florentino has been living under a rock for the past five years, or like my boyfriend, has tendencies to be a "purist" when it comes to his definition of "art."

I don't know about you, but I can barely keep tabs on all sorts of film festivals we have yearly. That these festivals have been wildly popular in the past five years is a clear indication that there is an audience willing to either queue for a long time or pay to see "artsy-fartsy" films.

Film Fest season begins with the French Film fest in July-August and ends with a few more in December. While the French embassy pioneered free film screenings nine or eight years ago, many other embassies have followed suit. The Canadian, Spanish, German, Australian, Italian and the European Union all hold film fests, most for free. We now have the Cinemalaya, the CinemaOne and the Cinemanila.

Now why have these fests become wildly popular in the past few years? Perhaps the Filipino is sick and tired of the usual fare offered by the likes of Mother Lily. Perhaps the Filipino has become more exposed to "exotic" cinema courtesy of piracy.

One thing is for sure Mr. Florentino, don't count the public out. Our definition of "art" may not be as high-brow as yours, but I assure you, we appreciate good film when we see it.

What is "art" anyway? I had an argument once with my boyfriend, an alumnus of Mowelfund, about art films vs. Hollywood flicks. If your film sells like hotcakes does that mean you've sold out? Does it compromise your vision as an artist? On the other hand, if nobody sees your film, what's the point of making it? If your "art" doesn't speak to an audience, then you certainly have a strange notion of what it means to be an "artist."

Rebel Lolo

I had the chance to meet then UP President Dodong Nemenzo a few years back. I was (unfortunately) seated next to him at my rockstar professor's get-together in Silungan. Obviously, I didn't know what to say to him. How can you make conversation with the UP President?!? Well, with all the young people talking across and around him, I'm sure he felt out of place. So after some time he finally stood up and moved elsewhere. Dodong was old then. Much older now. He seemed like a harmless lolo contently watching over his grandchildren. So really its quite ridiculous pinning him with charges of rebellion.


Roland G. Simbulan
Professor and Faculty Regent
U.P. System

I join the U.P. academic community in expressing solidarity and support to our faculty colleague and former University of the Philippines President Francisco "Dodong" Nemenzo, Jr., who is being charged with "rebellion"and "obstruction of justice". The charges are reminiscent of the 1950s when U.P. faculty members who were known to have progressive and nationalist views were witchhunted by the Congressional Committee on "Un-Filipino activities" and accused of being Communists and conspirators. Those hysterical and red-baiting hearings only exposed the intolerance of the Philippine oligarchy and their counterpart American Cold Warriors in the U.S. Embassy, towards peasant and worker unrest which had found sympathetic allies in the academe, especially among our faculty ranks.

The charges against our colleague Dodong Nemenzo only manifest the desperation of the illegal occupant in Malacanang who is now retaliating against leaders of the broad opposition. Dodong Nemenzo is the President of the Laban ng Masa, a coalition of NGOs and people's organizations, which has been actively questionning the legitimacy of the despot in Malacanang in the aftermath of the fraudulent 2004 Presidential elections. Even opposition mayors like Mayor Jejomar Binay of Makati are being charged with all kinds of allegations, even while corrupt pro-administration politicians are being acquitted or protected.

The charges of rebellion against our U.P. colleague Nemenzo and 40 others are an attempt to crack down on dissent and to silence the legal opposition. I call on all our colleagues in the U.P. Academic Community to support the ideals and principles which our former University president stands for. Let us resist the violent attacks and harassments from despots who will soon be properly consigned to the dustbin of history.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

How to Handle Yourself in Government Offices

The English word "bureaucracy" was borrowed from the French word bureaucratie which in turn traces its roots to the word "bureau" which means a desk or a table with lots of drawers.

If we shorten the etymology above, we come up with this nifty equation:

Bureaucracy = Desk with drawers

If you and I were on a similar line of thinking, images evoked in our heads would either be:

1. Rows upon rows of desks with government employees, stamping or signing away but doing essentially nothing.

2. Or, the stereotype of the government employee who has his drawer open waiting for your extra "contribution" to prompt him to do his job.

The Bureaucracy, unfortunately, is unavoidable in any modern society. They are supposed to provide the backbone for any government. They are assured tenure so that they may continue to provide services irrespective of who occupies Malacanang. It is assumed that the Bureaucracy is immune to politics.

Tenure and a modicum of "isolation" from politicians jockeying for position makes for a cadre of government workers who may serve tenure until they die or retire, whichever comes first. You wonder why they wear a certain kind of expression on their faces as they sit behind those desks and windows? Well they have security of employ running at the back of their mind. Whether they actually do work or not, they simply need to show up to get paid.

So you know they have a certain attitude, coupled with a notion that they are entitled to work as slowly and as inefficiently as possible because they are government employees, then what have you got? A bureaucracy that will move as slo.o.o.owly as possible. A bureaucracy that will seek to work as little as possible because there is nothing prompting them to do otherwise. A bureaucracy ripe for all sorts of rent-seeking possibilities.

Now, knowing this, how should we conduct ourselves in any government office? After all, from the time we are born to the day we die, government will charge us something and require us to do the requisite paperwork at an appropriate agency.

Tip #1. What every Filipino should do is to stop looking at government as though it were the enemy. A monstrous entity to be avoided and dodged at all costs, including having to bribe one's way out of a possible quandary.

I learned such an attitude from my parents when I was not quite eighteen. As a new motorist, my father's staunch advise to me was, "Pag nahuli ka ng pulis, lagyan mo na lang para tapos na" (If you were apprehended by the police, just bribe them to have done with it.)

Now, where might this attitude stem from? Perhaps it is knowing that redeeming one's driver's license could take half a day, a punishment in itself. Indeed, apprehending officers might be counting on this, adding an extra incentive for the motorist to just bribe her way out. Another advice I got from my father was, don't ever argue with the officer. Implicit in this piece of advice is assuming the officer is always right. Which isn't always the case.

This "fear" of government I assume, stems from our country's colonial history. After all, in the early days, public administration was colonial administration - meaning our very first contact with the idea of government hardly meant service. The government existed to facilitate as efficiently as possible the extraction of wealth from the these Islands to Spain. Where in other polities, the Government was created by its people, our early government was created by an alien entity to keep natives from "causing trouble." Given that, the natives will indeed have cause to fear government. They would try to avoid having to deal with government as this meant either unnecessary hassle, punishment or worse.

Given that government wasn't there to "serve the people," what could the early civil servants have been like? Perhaps the top officials were Spaniards, but the majority would have to be natives as well. Could we assume that they did their jobs with efficiency and service in mind? Probably not. Since the Spanish Crown was on the other side of the world, then one might assume that public administrators here had free reign to indulge in any money-making scheme as their imaginations could devise.

So, maybe this attitude of fear and mistrust toward government has been carried on for the past centuries. The question is, what should we do about it now?

Tip#2 Every Filipino should always demand good service.

Remember, if you are a taxpayer, then that means those snooty, stiff-lipped sumbitches are in your employ. If you feel that the service could be better, then don't hesitate to call someone out, or make reasonable demands. Of course, you must do so as courteously, but as forcefully, as can be managed. Remember, there is nothing prompting them to do their jobs well other than you. You have to make government work for you.

Which brings us to Tip#3. Demanding good service from government is no easy task. Their misplaced sense of entitlement often serves as a shield between them and the people they supposedly serve. They feel entitled to work inefficiently because they have low pay. That no one is holding a gun to their heads to work in public office is beside the point.

Tip#4. If you feel you are right, then argue your point as insistently but respectfully as possible. I find that speaking to low-ranked employees in straight Filipino helps. It doesn't do well to sport your colegiala slang as this serves to impress your "superiority" over them. And always say you are there to do your civic duty.

Let me tell you about my experience at the LTO a few months back. I had queued for three hours to make the payment and redeem my license. I then found out that prior to release of said license, I was supposed to take a "test." So off I went to the testing center only to be halted by a hazel-eyed security guard right at the door. Apparently, I couldn't go in because I was wearing "tsinelas." Well, my tsinelas happened to be a brightly colored stylish pair, but it didn't pass the security guard's muster. I argued, why didn't they inform the test-takers before hand that no tsinelas were allowed? Why wasn't it prominently posted outside said test center? Why did a pair of pretty tsinelas hamper me from doing my civic duty?!?!?

Because I am a teacher, I do have a flair for dramatics, and if I wanted, my voice could reach an audience of hundreds. Well, at this point, an audience had come to see what all the ruckus was about. A kindly gentleman suggested I go to the cantina to borrow a pair of shoes. I thought, what a ridiculous notion. But such are the avenues open to Filipinos who are unaware of their rights. Such are the solutions to Filipinos who see government as something to be feared, and so must be slyly circumvented. It never occurs to them to confront government head on, on equal footing.

To cut the story short I demanded to speak with someone, and I did, some more persuasion and arguments were made, all delivered in straight Filipino, and so I was finally allowed to take the damn test.

Tip#5. Hold government employees accountable. And how can you do this? By always, always asking for their names and positions.

To tell you another anecdote, yesterday I went to the Philippine Tourism Authority to get my Tax Exemption Certificate. Those traveling courtesy of foreign funding may avail of an exemption. Now it clearly states in their website that one need show proof that travel is funded/provided by a foreign government. So I brought all my documents from AusAID, including the contract which states all my entitlements.

The officer at the window gave my papers a cursory glance of about 5 seconds and pronounced that it wasn't enough proof. She said I needed to get the Australian Embassy to write a letter addressed to them stating that they were funding my airfare. I argued that this was already included in the contract, if she would but look at it. She then goes to consult her supervisor the "Signing Officer" and then came back to me pretty much saying the same thing. I again argued that she only needs to read the damn paper to see that my airfare was covered. So on it went between myself, her and the Signing Officer for about 30 minutes. If they expected me to give up then they expected wrong.

I asked to speak with Signing Officer and finally! he deigns to come to the window. I repeated what I had previously said, pointing to the pertinent parts of the document. I asked for his name. I asked for hers. Signing Officers then says he will consult the Department's Top Dog. Well, since she was female, that would make her the Top Bitch. Finally, after 15 more minutes, I got my papers processed.

On the way home I imagined what it must be like for ordinary Filipinos who do not know their rights and privileges as citizens. Had I not known better, I wouldn't have insisted on what I clearly saw was the logical, rational solution. I imagine other folks trooping to government offices over and over and over, queuing for hours on end to be "serviced." I imagine some who are tempted to just bribe their way out rather than go through the hassle. But the "hassle" is what makes the bureaucracy work for us. We must take time for the "hassle" to keep government employees in check. No one will do so otherwise.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Social (Cyber) Spaces

My computer was out of commission for a week and I felt as though I had lost a limb. Whenever I am away where there's no internet connection I feel worried, restless. I have an inexplicable urge to check my mail, to update my ebay account, to read favorite blogs of "real" friends as well as "virtual" ones, to see what was going on in continents far away. All that information at a flick of a switch. Is this the postmodern condition? Where the real isn't merely made of matter and atoms? Where constant streams of information make reality? Or am I merely a child of this networked generation? A material human being who has managed to extend, at times lose herself into immaterial, virtual space? And so when I find myself cut off from such a space there is a perceptible shrinking of my reality. Back to the tactile, bound by physical geography.

Perhaps we, our generation, are at a cusp of something weirdly fantastical and exciting. The symptoms are but beginning to show, the implications limitless. Our social relations, having been bound by family and later workplace kinships for centuries, are now being complemented, even supplanted, by kinships forged where the information makes the person. Relationships that transcend physical constraints - such as gender and social class. It doesn't matter what you look like in cyberspace. It doesn't matter whether you are rich or poor. All that matters is that you exist.

Perhaps there is a certain cadre of people who are seduced by the virtual. Those who have little interest in the hypocrisies of the material. Those who live in their heads. Dreamers such as I. Anything seems possible in the infinity of cyberspace. And we, dreaming idealists that we are, have found the perfect tool to create social relationships unhampered by deceiving eyes and dismissive first impressions.

I have maintained quite a lengthy "relationship" with a boy eight thousand miles away for quite a while. We shared interests and liked to talk. It was enough, until we grew older, until the endless typing no longer sustained. I've made friends over a local community website. We "eyeballed", we drank, we laughed, we organized Christmas outreach programs. I met my boyfriend through his blog. His words and his mind seduced me, we met and fell in love. My laptop failed me but a week ago, and upon expressing my self-disgust on this blog, a fellow blogger Dominique (who's in Dumaguete) and his friend Charo (thankfully in Manila), volunteered to help.

Yesterday, as I sat transfixed watching Charo's fingers flick and fold in a rhythm which I imagined coincided with the calculations in her head, I couldn't help but be amazed by this emergent social space. There we sat, total strangers never before laying eyes on each other, intent on reaching a common goal - fix the damn computer. I didn't do anything of course, just sat there like a nervous expectant father waiting for his first child to be born while she worked her magic. And voila! Presto, my files are resurrected.

This new social space of the immaterial has helped me in the past seven years to create material relationships unhampered by human faults and biases. This new social space has forced me to unlearn cultural norms hinged on appearances. In this network of human beings there is only shared interests, values and goals. Communication and information dissemination is immediate because virtuality and reality unfold the same.

It makes one think that we in this country are at the dawn of a revolution. A re-ordering of space and proximity. A destruction of old structures that restrict and contain. Are we re-making our social reality as we speak? Aren't you in awe of the possibilities?