Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Paano ang mga Ibang Babae?

Makasarili  ba talaga ang tao? Naiisip lang ang kanyang sariling pangangailangan. Nalilimutan niya ba na may mga ibang tao sa tabi niya. Sa ginhawa ng buhay, nalilimutan ba natin ang paghihirap ng  iba? Talagang wala bang pagmamahal ang tao sa kanyang kapwa. Kahit walang pagmamahal, nalilimutan ba ng tao na kailangan niya ang iba para mabuhay.

Ako'y isang babae ng mundo, gusto ko din ang magandang buhay na puno ng mga magagandang bagay at puno ng kasiyahan. Buhay burgis! Buhay mayaman! Buhay sosyal! Malaking bahay! Nagbabiyahe sa buong mundo (sa mga 'exotic locales')!

Pero  paano ang mga babae na hindi malayang makalabas sa kanilang bahay at ang mga lalaki sa pamilya nila ang nagdesisisyon para sa kanila at hindi nila ito maitunggali dahil wala silang karapatan labanan ang kanilang pamilya. Paano ang mga babae na walang kontrol sa kanilang katawan, na ginugupitan ang kanilang pagkababae (female genital mutilation), na sinanamantala ng mga lalake na kilala o di nila kilala...

Ito lagi ang nasa isip ko kapag pinapanood ko ang mga babae dito sa Washington, D. C. Ganito ako noon hanggang namulat ang aking mga mata sa mga nangyayari sa mga kababaihan ng mundo, sa mga bansa na hindi ko siguro mabibisita sa maikli kong buhay, at sa mga kultura na nalaman ko lang dahil sa nabasa ko, narinig ko, o napanood ko...

Masuwerte ako na malaya akong magdesisyon para sa aking sarili. Hindi ako linalabanan ng aking pamilya. Pwede kong gawin halos lahat... Pwede akong mag-aral, pwede akong magtrabaho, at lalo na pwede kong piliin ang aking asawa o huwag magpakasal buong buhay ko...

Ito ang nais ko para sa lahat ng mga kababaihan ng buong mundo kaya ako'y nagsusumpa sa aking sarili na gagawin ko ang lahat para sa mga babae ng buong mundo at para sa mga henerasyon na wala pa sa daigdig.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Modern-Day Slavery Thoughts (Part 1)

  1. Would people really care for the welfare of the workers that provide for their daily material needs? If people knew the horrible working conditions in farms, plantations, and factories, how would they react? Would they still buy the products? Or would they feel a sense of dread and guilt in financing the enslavement of these workers?
  2. I have noticed that most women who have means could care less for the people that serve them in food establishments, let alone the poor Bangladeshi working in a dangerous textile factory. This selfishness and self-centeredness does prove to be quite a hindrance in the anti-human trafficking movement.
  3. Why does the environment produce more of an attraction than the human condition? Why is animal welfare so important that it shadows the welfare of homeless persons, poor single mothers, and the people living in poverty all over the world?

Thursday, June 13, 2013


I am beginning to see the beautiful differences of people's languages... No, not the difference between English and French, nor between Spanish and Italian. But in their word choices, and the tone of their writing and speaking voices take. Ten years or so ago, I was seriously worried about being just another writer, about not being unique a voice to be even noticed...

I remember a communications professor being obsessed with the meaning of words. To a novice writer, this was something I found a bit too much. Today, I finally appreciate this madness called "logophilia." I realize that cultural, academic, and professional exposure has a lot of influence on a writer's style and vocabulary as it has in mine. 

Here in Washington, D.C., the dominant marketing language is geared towards the military and the politicians (and their critics and advocates). Then within conservative and liberal think tanks, you will see the angry, inflammatory language used against each other.

With living outside of New York for nine years, I have noticed how the advertising on The New York Times has been very subliminal to show ultimate discretion and professionalism... But the humanity is gone especially if the advertisement is for charity. What is one to expect? The crème dela crème of New York City, especially Wall Street, is all about the bottom-line and imprinting   their influence all over the world to show their strength and superiority. Speaking of Wall Street, look at The Wall Street Journal...

This is what I am also also discovering in most nonprofit marketing, even in humanitarian advertising, newsletters, and direct marketing materials. I understand that it is all about fundraising, membership acquisition, and attrition. But there is no hint of passionate anger for justice... 

On the streets of Washington, D.C., there are many young people on the streets that represent Greenpeace, Planned Parenthood, and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR). I admit that I am one to avoid them like the plague. But the truth is, I learn nothing new from them... Either I already know what they are telling me or they are desperate for my membership due payment, which is vital for the health of these organizations. But this hard-hitting focus on the bottom-line detracts new, old, and prospective members from the mission and vision of the organizations...

Maybe when I actually see these young activists on the streets, I should ask them why they are passionate about the organization they are representing. Many veterans of the nonprofit world seem to have lost that spark that drove them to their careers. Hence, we get unemotional appeals for donations and signatures that don't make headlines. Then, we scratch our heads why we are not fulfilling the mission and vision of our organization.

On my free time, I love walking through the art galleries of the Smithsonian Institution. The colors, the forms, and the imagery of the paintings evoke a pleasurable fascination with visuals. Artists are colorful personalities. Sometimes, they are utterly mad people that without the financial support of sometimes very wealthy patrons, they would definitely end up in the asylum. Their works give you a glimpse in their profound imaginary worlds, and access to their individual perception of reality.

Nonprofit professionals always need a dose of creativity in the ever-changing world with technological developments completely altering every medium of communication overnight. I have seen how the non-technology "word of mouth" has created the much-needed awareness of an organization, where the tried and true electronic media has failed. Then, there are times when you have to completely think out of the box by trying new channels you have never thought of using or radically changing your whole approach (i.e. rebranding).

Why not listen to some music, look at a photograph, or even read a poem... and ponder on the creative thought behind its creation? Arts, music, and literature are defined by genre and era. Why shouldn't we define marketing, advertising, and public relations in the same way? Being a communications professional is more of an art than a science. Yes, we do rely on graphs and statistics but those are only tools telling us how we can effectively use our creativity.

Be a little more colorful and passionate with your words! It's not an option, it's a given... That also goes for design and audio-visual work in marketing your organization. If we remain doing things the way we always did, we will lose our relevance in the ever-changing world, where many physical, cultural, and technological boundaries are blurring into non-existence.

Don't just sit there! Do something different! You can start by thinking out of the box...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Romney's Disaster Plan: Recipe for National Disaster

Disaster-response should not be privatized! Disaster-response should stay in the hands of governments (local, state & federal) because it is their duty to serve and save the lives of their citizens! Privatizing disaster-response will only be filled with corruption and marginalized populations! 

Dissolving FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) is a recipe for a national disaster! You need national coordination for storms like Sandy (which covers most of the mainland United States as I write this) and this agency is doing hell of a good job. 

Sorry, Mr. Romney, I disagree with you on this one!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Blue Whale

One of my biggest dreams is to be on a one-on-one encounter with one of the largest creatures to ever lived on earth (yes, bigger than even dinosaurs), the gentle giants, BLUE WHALES... There used to be 100,000 of them at one time in Antarctica until large-scale whaling dwindled the population to 2,000 individuals. One of the many reasons why I want to help protect the ocean...

Friday, October 5, 2012

Definition, Definition... So What Really is Modern-Day Slavery?

DC Stop Modern Slavery hosted the 2012 Stop Modern Slavery Walk on September 29, 2012. I have been fortunate enough to become a part of the amazing team that brought thousands to the Washington Monument grounds that beautiful Saturday.

The week before the Walk was filled with human trafficking headlines. The Sunday before the event, Washington Post covered the terrible child trafficking situation in India on its front page. Two days later, U.S. President Barack Obama devoted his speech at the Clinton Global Initiative on human trafficking in front of many world leaders. Then on Thursday (September 27, 2012), USA Today puts the United States' domestic sex trafficking problem on its front page. 

But what is human trafficking? I personally find the official United Nations' definition a bit cumbersome. Just thinking about the official definition makes human trafficking hard to explain to my friends and family, who still have no clue what it is all about.

I had a quick conversation at the Walk with a man from the Caribbean. His comment made me aware that the abolitionist movements needs to work on its language. He said something like human trafficking contributes to slavery. Isn't it generally accepted that human trafficking, trafficking-in-persons is slavery, modern-day slavery? 

A The New York Times editorial article ("To Combat 'Modern Slavery,' October 2, 2012) stated:

'This should be the first of several steps to bolster the attack on the scourge that Mr. Obama described as "modern slavery" in a passionate address on the issue last week at the Clinton Global Initiative.'

Apparently, the editors of The New York Times don't think it is slavery either. They must think slavery ended with the end of the American Civil War, just like most people.

(In the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Washington Post publishes a weekday tabloid that is freely distributed via human distributors directly outside subway stations and the recognizable yellow newsstand boxes on the sidewalk. It is simply called Express.)

There is 'Taken' movie review on the Express on Friday, October 5, 2012. This statement disturbs me:

'The appeal of "Taken," apart from its straightforward, unpretentious approach to otherwise pedestrian material, was Liam Neeson.'

Has sex trafficking become "pedestrian material"?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

RE: Wall Street Journal's "Inside Facebook's Push to Woo Big Advertisers"

1. Is Facebook a really good advertising tool as Facebook touts itself to be?
2. Is Facebook invading our personal privacy when they give their advertising clients snippets of our private conversations, though we remain anonymous according to Facebook executives?
3. Will Facebook survive if its advertising revenue keep falling? 
4. Does Facebook have an initiative in helping non-profit organizations out in marketing? 
5. Is it really difficult to ask each and every single customer or buyer if they were influenced by an ad on Facebook by their purchase?