Some days you are tired

Some days you are tired
Maybe you are tired of all the work
You can’t keep up with, it all piles up
Of all the meetings and reports
That come relentlessly without end

Some days you are tired
Maybe you are tired of all the time
That you never have enough of
Of all the deadlines and targets
That you never meet but should’ve

Some days you are tired
Maybe you are tired of the world
And how it’s unfair and never learns
Of all the madness and insanity
And sometimes you want to watch it burn

Some days you are tired
Maybe you are tired of people
And all of their pressure and expectations
Of all their lies and inconsistencies
Or disappointments in their decisions

And on some other days
It’s more of the same

But also maybe you see a smile in a child’s eyes
Or maybe you run into a long-lost friend from years ago
Or maybe someone laughs at a stupid joke you said
Or maybe you see a stranger help another
Or maybe you find a new favorite place to eat
Or maybe you solve a problem tearing you up inside
Or maybe a familiar tune plays on the radio
Or maybe finally you’re no longer in the red
Or maybe good fortune comes to your brother
Or maybe you find some time alone to breathe

And then you remember
That it doesn’t always go this way
That there are also better days

And you say to yourself

“Maybe tomorrow, I will not be so tired”

Thirty Eight

Thirty eight lessons I’ve learned through the years, in no particular order:

  1. Do not be beguiled by pretty things; not all that glitters is gold
  2. Remain true to yourself in the face of adversity
  3. You can’t help people who aren’t willing to change
  4. People will believe what they want to believe
  5. You don’t have to do what everybody else does
  6. Happiness often comes from small things
  7. Be thankful for what you have and appreciate the people who are there for you
  8. Other people think about you a lot less than you think
  9. Time you enjoy wasting isn’t wasted time
  10. Spend some time alone with your thoughts regularly; solitude has its benefits
  11. In most situations, a balanced approach will serve you well. Extreme or fanatical views will rarely be good
  12. Occasionally try again things you earlier dismissed, in case that they have improved or your own tastes have changed
  13. When in doubt and things are urgent, pick one option randomly and go.
  14. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind
  15. Life is too short to waste time on things that you don’t enjoy or don’t help you grow or people who don’t appreciate you
  16. It’s never too late to be who you were meant to be
  17. If it’s important to you, keep track of it
  18. The world is too amazing to be bored
  19. It’s okay to be weird and/or random every so often
  20. Life has no meaning except what meaning you give it
  21. All things, whether good or bad, shall eventually pass. Enjoy the good while it lasts, persist through the bad until you make it through
  22. Avoid doing or saying things in anger or hatred
  23. Things change and people change, sometimes for reasons we can’t ever explain. Learn to roll with life’s punches
  24. The world is filled with people who are terrible, cruel, or manipulative. That doesn’t mean there aren’t good people out there and that doesn’t mean you should mistrust everybody. “Do not let the world make you hard”
  25. Don’t worry too much about things that you can’t understand or can’t change. Focus only on things you can affect and that matter to you
  26. Quality is nice, but quantity often works too. Many failed or mediocre attempts will eventually converge towards a quality success
  27. Learn to accept when things need to end. Let go or be dragged
  28. Sometimes you just need the courage to power through the difficult parts
  29. For many things, the best way to improve is with time and practice and effort
  30. Learn from the past, look to the the future, but live in the present
  31. Life isn’t fair. Just because you’ve done all the right things doesn’t mean you’ll get what you want, even if you feel like you deserve it (the converse is also true – even if you do all the wrong things you won’t necessarily get punished for it)
  32. Strive to be fair and honest with people you deal with. Give credit where credit is due
  33. In order to learn, teach. In order to lead, follow
  34. When you are ahead, strive for stability and balance. When you are behind, be willing to gamble
  35. Always keep learning and improving. Every day, try to improve yourself or learn something new
  36. Every once in a while, expand your horizons with new things or different points of view
  37. Words are wind. Reinforce your words with deeds
  38. Age is merely a state of mind

Motivation vs Discipline

Motivation is a fickle mistress. It comes and it goes. It’s easily distracted. It can vanish in a blink of an eye. When it’s there, it’s great, but when it’s not you don’t get anything done and you don’t feel terrible. Motivation is based on the principle that you need a certain emotion or state of mind to get things done. Motivation is burst damage, you can get a lot done but you don’t know when it’s gonna come out.

Discipline is a harsh mistress. Discipline means doing things no matter what. It means you do what you need to do even if you’re uninspired, or tired, or exhausted. It means you gather all the mental blocks and the excuses and the urge to go do something else, and you power through all of these and do what you needed to do in spite of all of these. Discipline means that your goals are independent of emotional whims, that they need to get done no matter how you’re feeling. Discipline is DPS, it’s constant work that can get boring, but it will surely get the job done.

…I need more discipline.

Sketching Daily

I’ve had a bit more free time recently, and I’ve been filling that time by starting up some hobbies (some old, some new). One of them has been sketching. I’ve been drawing things for as long as I remember – I have elementary and high school notebooks with more doodles and x-men drawings than there are notes. And even at work, I often find other meeting participants checking out the random sketches I had been absently doing while other people were speaking.

I started following this subreddit SketchDaily. What they do is they have a bot post a daily theme (submitted by other users) and users post their sketches for others’ comments. “Sketches” is a wide-ranging term here, submissions can be anything – redditors will typically post sketches with a wide range of skillsets (some are beginners and some quite advanced) and mediums (some do real-life paper sketches or inked and colored drawings, others do digital stuff drawn on tablets or with photoshop).

If you follow me on Instagram (@roytang0400, it’s funny how I got that account, but that’s a story for another day), you know I’ve been posting my sketches for a bit more than a month now. I haven’t written a blog post in a while, so I thought I’d post about this and maybe show a bit of how I do my sketches. I’m not super talented or anything, although I like to think I’m not a beginner.

For March 15th, the theme posted on r/SketchDaily was “Lots of Dinosaurs”. I usually try to relate the theme to a pop culture thing I’m familiar with – something from movies, TV or video games. Since I’m a big Transformers fan, my first instinct was to do a drawing of the Dinobots. I’m not good enough yet to do one from scratch, so I usually search online for an image to use as reference. (I find that my sketches get a bit worse when I don’t use a reference)

I found the following image via Google Images, originally hosted on http://kaiju-kingdom-hearts.wikia.com/wiki/Dinobots:

The five Dinobots (if you are ignorant) are Grimlock (center, T-Rex), Snarl (bottom left, Stegosaurus), Slag/Slug (bottom right, triceratops, he was renamed to Slug in later versions because apparently Slag had negative connotations somewhere), Sludge (top right, apatosaurus), and Swoop (top left, pteranodon)

I usually start by doing a light-pencil sketch of a rough outline and layout:

20160315_204514

I’m drawing on a cheap sketchpad I bought for like 50 pesos using a 2B pencil. I usually just take pictures of my submissions using my cellphone camera, which explains the shadow near the bottom. I started out placing Grimlock’s head then placing the other Dinobots around him. It turned out that I had made Grimlock’s head a bit too big which meant I didn’t have room to place the other Dinobots exactly as they were in the reference image, I had to bunch them up closer (Sludge is mostly just a neck and head now), but that’s fine. Too lazy to start over.

Once I have the initial light-pencil sketch, I draw in some heavier lines. I start with Grimlock in the center:

20160315_210755

Then Snarl and Slag on either side:

20160315_213816

Then the last two, Swoop and Sludge:

20160315_215206

Now, usually I’d stop at this stage and maybe polish a bit more (Grimlock probably needs an Autobot symbol on the chest) and just submit it to reddit already. But the problem with this sketch when I look at it, it’s hard to tell the Dinobots apart – like in the image above, it’s hard to tell where Grimlock ends and Snarl begins.

So just this once, I thought I’d try adding some colors to the sketch. I’d never done it before, but my mom was into the whole adult coloring book fad so she had some colored pencils lying around for me to use.

Again I started with Grimlock:

20160315_221453

And then the rest:

20160315_224636

Okay, it didn’t really improve telling the Dinobots apart by that much. Maybe only a little bit. At this point I’ve already spent way more time than I normally do on this (I was already on one and a half hours, most days it takes me less than half an hour), so the I went ahead and submitted the above image to reddit.

The above isn’t representative of what I do with all of the sketches. For one, this output is way more detailed than my usual ones. And the process varies slightly depending on what I’m drawing. I will usually always have the preliminary light-pencil sketch. Sometimes for drawing real-life people, I’ll want to do an outline trace, which means overlaying the paper over an image I want to draw (usually on the iPad) and lightly tracing the outline with pencil. It feels a bit like cheating, but real-life faces are hard enough without it. Maybe someday I won’t have to do them anymore (although I’ve only traced like 3 sketches I think). And as mentioned, I don’t usually do the coloring – and I probably won’t do it again, takes too much time.

I’m still not sure how far I’m taking this hobby. I have no ambitions of becoming a professional or anything (a friend once commented he was scrolling through his instagram feed with famous artists like Leinel Yu and one of my drawings was interspersed and surprised him LOL), but like life, I’ll just see how it goes I guess.

Thirty-Seven

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I like to be optimistic, or at least to try to. And to believe the best of people, or at least try to. It’s not always easy. Sometimes people disappoint you. Sometimes you feel lost. Or stressed. Or stuck in a rut. And you don’t know what to do.

You have to be able to look within yourself to find your own drive, to find the ability to move forward in spite of the tough times. And to be able to appreciate the good things in your life.

Despite some bad spots, I’ve still had a pretty good twelve months though. I’ve traveled a lot, and plan to travel more before the year ends. I’m still learning new things. I’m still blessed with good family and friends and a means to sustain myself and my wants.

My birthday always feels like a good opportunity to step back and take a breather and find some perspective. And to re-affirm the choice to keep moving forward – one step at a time…

 

Text spam, mobile number privacy and arguing over the internet

Globe’s Spam Reports Policy

A few days ago I got dragged into a debate over Twitter regarding Globe’s policy on handling reports sent in via Twitter about spam/scam text messages. When you send in reports of text spams via Twitter, one of Globe’s representatives will ask you to agree that in case the spammer disputes the allegation, they would have to disclose your mobile number to them. For me, the policy seems completely reasonable: if you accuse someone of a crime, they should have a right to know what exactly they are accused of and who exactly the victim was. Apparently some people aren’t okay with this; they complain that Globe disclosing your mobile number would be an additional violation of privacy and opens you up to possible harassment by the spammer. Now, I can understand the concerns, but you have to look at things from the POV of Globe and consider why such a policy exists.

Allowing people to anonymously accuse someone of being a spammer could lead to abuse. What if you had a vengeful ex who sent in one of your texts or someone faked a screenshot to accuse you of being a spammer? I’m not sure what other ways there are to abuse this, but I know that not disclosing your number is like reporting a rape attempt and then refusing to identify yourself. How can the accused defend himself? Sure there is some possibility of harassment, but that’s true whenever anyone comes forward to report a crime. And note that Globe will only reveal your number if the spammer comes forward to dispute, which exposes the spammer himself. I’ve been reporting on average maybe 3-5 spam texts to Globe per week for the past few months (although I have serious doubts on the effectiveness of this – more on that later) and no one has ever come forward to dispute. And I don’t believe any real spammers ever will; the whole reason they use disposable mobile numbers in the first place is to so that they’re hard to catch. Coming forward to dispute charges only exposes them.

Arguing over the Internet

As an aside, Twitter is literally the worst sort of format for this sort of discourse. I got dragged into the discussion by a friend who knew I often reported to Globe, and for a while I was responding via my mobile and working with less than 80 characters per post since there were a number of people (that I didn’t know) involved. Sure enough I got a barrage of replies from some people, one of whom apparently wasn’t even aware that even screenshots can be edited (welcome to the internet!). I really shouldn’t have let myself get dragged into it, but now that I was there, as XKCD so famously put it:

The problem with debating on the internet in general of course (aside from all the trolls) is that a lot of people easily get aggravated and just lash out without even considering other POVs or the reason why certain policies are in place, which makes their arguments not very constructive at all. Instead of trying to understand the situation so that they could suggest possible workarounds or solutions, they just act indignant and insist on their view. Eventually, I finally quit replying via mobile and just waited til I got home so that I could post a longer response via twitlonger. I gave my opinions (stated above) and just said thanks for the lively debate and let myself out of the discussion.

On the effectiveness of reporting spam

As I said, I don’t actually think reporting spam texts to Globe is very effective; these spammers use disposable mobile numbers that they discard as soon as possible and there are literally billions of possible numbers, so disabling their numbers one at a time wouldn’t be very useful. Spam is an age-old problem (in internet years at least) that hasn’t even been solved in the email world, even by big companies like Google. A more reasonable answer would be spam filtering, the same type Google uses for gmail (not Yahoo mail’s filtering, that seems to be much less effective). However, this filtering can’t be done on Globe’s side, since that introduces the possibility of false positives. It has to be done on the client-side, that means on your mobile phone itself. A quick search tells me there are some android apps that claim to provide sms spam filtering, but I’ve never tried any of them so I cannot speak for their effectiveness. And where does that leave people without smartphones?

Another problem is that the default SMS applications for smartphones aren’t as sophisticated as email clients are: no support for folders or automated filters, etc. that would make inbox management a lot easier. On the email side, spam hasn’t really been solved yet but has been brought to manageable levels by filtering. On the SMS side, we’ll have to wait for phone software to catch up.

On mobile numbers and privacy

A better question would be, how do these spammers get our numbers in the first place? There are many different types of spam, and I’m sure many of them just take advantage of unlimited text promos to spam numbers randomly by brute force. One type of text spam that’s fairly common (at least for me) is offers of some sort of loans from different banks. Aside from text spam, it’s actually happened that I received a call from someone offering cash loans from a certain bank. When I asked him how they got my number he just said it was “in their database” and wouldn’t tell me how it got there. I told him off angrily and hung up (I regret that now, I really should have tried to get more details like who his manager was and what branch he was working at so that I could complain to the bank later). What this incident tells me is that the sort of people who blindly push cash loans to people have a database of numbers they use. Some of the calls/spam text I got were from banks that I’ve never transacted with, so I suspect that these numbers are leaked/stolen by unscrupulous bank employees, since most bank account forms ask for your mobile number.  Or maybe these loan spamming operations are sanctioned by the banks themselves? It’s not out of the realm of possibility. If these banks had modern feedback channels like via Twitter or Facebook I’d definitely be asking them about it.

In conclusion?

If I don’t think Globe’s spam reporting policy isn’t effective, why do I still report spam on a regular basis? I don’t know, maybe it’s just a small token of fighting back against spammers, of fighting a war that can’t be won. Maybe every report I make reduces their address space by a teensy-tiny bit and there’s always hope we’ll get there someday. Maybe it’s just cathartic for me, I don’t know. I’ll keep doing it for the foreseeable future, and I’ll be suggesting any possible improvements to the policies where I can. I don’t want to be one of those people who rant on the internet without doing something constructive.

 

Thirty-Six

Thirty-six is a semiperfect number, meaning it is the sum of some subsets of its natural divisors.

 

Like thirty-six, life isn’t perfect either. But there’s still much to be thankful for.

I am grateful that I have a roof over my head and am able to eat at least three square meals a day (if I so choose).

I am grateful that I have wonderful parents and siblings who are always ready to support me no matter what shenanigans I get into.

I am grateful for friends who are interesting and who share my interests and are more than willing to put up with my particular insanities.

I am grateful for having a well-paying job that affords me luxuries and opportunities most people are not able to avail of.

I am grateful for the prospect of a possible brighter tomorrow.

 

For my birthday wishes:

I wish for clarity of vision.

I wish for serenity of heart.

I wish for less hatred in the world.

I wish for more honesty in the world.

I wish for less traffic in Metro Manila.

I wish for better internet in the Philippines.

I wish for good health.

I wish for more free time.

I wish for more wishes.

 

Let the future come and bring what it will.

 

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review!

Well, I haven’t written anything in a while, so I figured I’d write some words on the new Spider-Man movie. Spoilers abound!

Action-packed! The web-swinging is fun and looks and feels just like Spidey from the comic books. Spider-man moves and fights and banters pretty faithfully to the comic book version of our favorite wall-crawler, so that’s a definite plus. Peter’s Spider-sense is portrayed as a slow-motion bullet-time kind of deal which allows him to react quickly and save all the people while dodging everything. It doesn’t really translate exactly to the comic-book Spider-sense, but I suppose it’s better than having squiggly lines around his head.

Peter Parker, haunted by…the ghost of Dennis Leary? We get it, you’re breaking the promise you made at the end of the first movie and you’re putting Gwen in danger. What, did he become the physical embodiment of the Spider-sense? If I was Captain Stacy I’d haunt you too for stalking my daughter from the rooftops! Not even Uncle Ben haunted Peter like this!

And the deep dark secret of Peter’s parents is…what, is that it? Seriously, that was a lame reveal after all the drama at the start of the movie; it didn’t seem entirely too relevant and more like a subplot that didn’t go anywhere. The mysterious party who would’ve benefited from Oscorp experiments and was willing to hire an assassin to kill the parents on a plane was never elaborated on. Maybe it’s something they’ll explore in a future film, but for now it feels like they were just forced to create a link because of the mysterious disappearance of the parents from the first movie.

Norman Osborn, Spider-man’s greatest enemy! No? Decrepit old man on his deathbed? Dying of some weird goblinitis disease? Okay, at least Harry’s here, right?

Harry Osborn, Spider-man’s best friend turned worst enemy! Or at least we’re told they’re good friends, we just have to take their word for it. There they are joking like old pals for two minutes, surely we must be convinced they are best buds! BTW Pete, old-friend-of-mine-who-I-havent-had-contact-with-for-10-years-even-though-social-media-should-already-exist-at-this-time, can you get me some Spider-man blood? I’m dying brah

Max Dillon! Electro! Mild-mannered electrical engineer with low self-esteem who ignores safety procedures and gets bitten by radioactive electric eels! Seriously? I’m looking forward to the Sinister Six movie where Adrian Toomes gets bitten by a radioactive vulture. We get a high-power-level version of Electro here, he’s able to teleport around as electrical charges or something and he’s even able to magically generate underwear and later a bodysuit! But he’s no match for Peter Parker’s questionable movie science!

Not enough villains? Let’s add the Rhino! Well, just for a quick scene at the end to lead into the Sinister Six movie, maybe? A scene that we’ve already seen in the trailers too! I suppose it’s a blessing that they didn’t try to shoehorn a Rhino subplot, there’s already too much going on as it is.

Oh no, two airplanes might collide because there’s no electricity! How was this even relevant to Spider-man’s battle? It’s not like he knew what was going on at the airport!

“You need me, I know the specs to the grid thingy!” Uh, it turns out all you needed to do was know how to pick up a key from a dead guy’s hand and unlock a panel. And I thought her field was in biochemistry or something, not electrical engineering?

I have to admit, the death at the end caught me off guard. I knew it had to happen sooner or later, but given that they cut MJ out of this movie and had a subplot of Gwen flying off to England (which she did in the comics and she managed to come back to New York before the big deal at the bridge), I assumed it would be happening in the next film. Though by the time they had her falling from the tower, I would’ve been annoyed if they didn’t go through with it after the build-up. But now I’m worried that they’re going to rush the Peter-MJ relationship in the next movie the same way they rushed the Peter-Harry friendship in this one, since they didn’t get the chance to introduce MJ while Peter and Gwen were still a thing.

Where’s the scene where the New Yorkers come together to help Spider-Man? Isn’t this a franchise staple by now?

End credits sequence teases the Sinister Six lineup. Well, that was fine.

Overall plotting and pacing felt weird, with some scene transitions feeling like they could be better handled. The whole thing at the end with how Peter deals with Gwen’s fate felt weirdly out of place. They could’ve ended the second movie on a down note, and have Peter coming back strong in TASM3 (an Empire Strikes Back sort of thing), but no, they wanted to get the grieving out of the way quickly. Well, the movie was fun and enjoyable to watch, and had quite a few recognizable names for comic books fans (I’m sure all the comic readers noted the name of Harry’s assistant and Max’s boss), but all the nitpicky problems above pull the movie down especially when we just came back from the awesomeness that was Captain America: Winter Soldier.

Next: Days of Future Past!

PHVote: Choosing your 2013 Senators and Party List

Resources

The content of this post is regarding my own opinion and who I plan to vote for. If you want to do your own research (I highly recommend it), here are some links to get you started:

Here’s a link to a Google doc of my own notes on each candidate, which I used as basis for recommendations below. (I didn’t want to clutter up the blog post with details)

 

Recommendations

A number of people have asked me to recommend who they should vote; while I prefer that they do their own research I don’t mind giving suggestions. Here are my recommendations:

Strongly recommended: Jun Magsaysay, Risa Hontiveros, Teddy Casino

It’s okay to vote for: Legarda, Escudero, Pimentel, Madrigal, Zubiri, Hagedorn, Poe

It’s okay to vote for the following if you don’t mind them being members of or associated with political dynasties: Cayetano, Gordon, Angara, Ejercito, Aquino

It’s okay to vote for the following if you don’t mind their strong association with religious groups: Delos Reyes, Villanueva

Definitely DO NOT VOTE: Honasan, Trillianes, Maceda, Mitos Magsaysay, Villar, Enrile, Binay, Cojuangco

For the “it’s okay to vote for” groups, just use your own preferences, i.e. if you don’t like Erap you probably won’t vote for JV Ejercito.

 

My Ticket

The following will most likely be the 12 I will vote on Monday (barring something ridiculous happening):

  1. Jun Magsaysay (Team PNoy)
  2. Risa Hontiveros (Team PNoy)
  3. Teddy Casino (Independent)
  4. Legarda (Team PNoy)
  5. Escudero (Team PNoy)
  6. Pimentel (Team PNoy)
  7. Madrigal (Team PNoy)
  8. Zubiri (UNA)
  9. Hagedorn (Independent)
  10. Gordon (UNA)
  11. Angara (Team PNoy)
  12. Aquino (Team PNoy)

I understand that the choices aren’t perfect (I’m not too fond of some of them…), but we have a limited selection of viable candidates and I’d rather fill up all 12 slots to at least have an infinitesimally small chance that the candidates I don’t want don’t get in.

 

What about the Party List? There are really too many Party Lists to evaluate. Just don’t vote for some ridiculous group; look for a group with a strong advocacy and track record. My personal preference is for #95 AGHAM Party List, because SCIENCE! Here’s a list of legislation they’ve supported if you’re interested.

 

That’s the last post from me before the elections on Monday (I’ll probably be ranting more on Twitter). If you have a chance to vote go out and do so, but be sure to do so wisely; it’s your privilege and an expression of what you want for this country. Let’s hope that the surveys are wrong and the voting public miraculously smartens up.

 

Edit: The original recommendations list missed out Grace Poe. Also added a short note on imperfect choices.

Even more ramblings about the elections

It’s easy to blame the poor, the masses for voting into power devious politicians, the corrupt, those with no track record, political dynasties based on money, survey results, name recognition or who has the most giveaways. But take a look at the number of decisions that have to be made when you go vote in an election (let’s say it’s also a presidential election so that we have a complete view):

  • You need to choose a president out of maybe 6-8 candidates
  • You need to choose a vice president out of maybe 6-8 candidates
  • You need to choose 12 senators from a pool of 20-30 or more candidates
  • You need to choose a congressman from maybe 4-6 candidates
  • You need to choose a governor (I’m from Metro Manila, we don’t have a guvnor so I’m just guessing here) from maybe 3-5 candidates
  • You need to choose a mayor from maybe 3-5 candidates
  • You need to choose a vice mayor from maybe 3-5 candidates
  • You need to choose god knows how many councilors (I seriously have no idea, is it 6?) from who knows how many candidates
  • You need to choose a party-list from over a hundred choices

In order to “vote wisely”, for each of those choices, you’d need to have some idea of who they are, what their background is, what their advocacies are, what their stand is on the issues, what bills they have pushed/sponsored/passed (if they had previous legislative experience), etc. For all of those candidates! I live a comfortable life and have a reasonable amount of free time and even I don’t want to do that! Not to mention that unlike me, a very, very large percentage of the voting population don’t have easily available internet access so that they can do their own research on candidates’ backgrounds. They’re not on Facebook all the time reading about Nancy’s shenanigans or how Jack Enrile doesn’t want you to look closely at a murder rap in his history. They’re too busy with more mundane everyday concerns like how to earn money, where they’re going to get food to feed their large families, etc. They just don’t have the time, inclination or opportunity to soak up all the relevant information that would let them make an informed choice.

So what do they do, they do what any regular, sane person does when faced with an overwhelming amount of information, they use filters. But their filters are silly things like survey results (“Other people think this candidate is okay, so I guess I can vote for him”), celebrity endorsements (it’s sad that former Sen. Jun Magsaysay only got a bump in survey results when he got Sir Chief to endorse him) or worse things like bribery, vote buying through giveaways, etc.

What am I saying, what am I talking about? All this time I’ve been harping about how voter education is important, but how it’s delivered needs to be thought about. We can’t just flood people with information, they’re just going to be overwhelmed and the silly yet simpler things like inane political ads are going to win out. We need to, I dunno, find a way to provide better, easier filters for people. I don’t know how, I’m not that smart. Not yet.

“But Roy,” I can hear you objecting already, “elections are serious business deciding the future of our country! It’s important, and they should take it seriously and think very hard about their choices!” You’re absolutely right that it’s important, but the problem is that for a vast majority of poor people, they have a lot of other more important, more urgent things to worry about. Elections affect what happens to our country three, five, ten years down the road, but a lot of people have trouble figuring out how they’re going to get through the next day. The feedback loop for getting results from elections is just too long for people to take it seriously. Now, we can suggest that maybe, just maybe, we can just ask those people not to vote if they’re not going to take it seriously? Maybe, but that’s hardly enforceable in any reasonable way. And you’re going to get accused of being anti-democracy or whatever.

“It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.” – William Churchill.

I don’t have a solution, I’m just rambling. Maybe this is really how it’s supposed to work, democracy? We live with what the people choose, even if they’re bad choices. Democracy is very effective at a small scale (“Guys let’s vote on where we should have dinner!”) but I feel like the logistics of it all gets way way more difficult as we scale up to the level of an entire country. Maybe smarter people than me have proposed solutions, I dunno, comment and give me links if you know of them. Who are the best democracies in the world and how do they get away with it? Certainly not the United States with their two-party system and their lobbyists and what not.

Although now that I think about it, it might help if we reduce the number of choices that would need to be made. The simplest changes are to have president/VP be voted in together, same for mayor/vice mayor, and to have regional senators instead of national so that each person only needs to choose one senator (this has the pleasant side effect of reducing the amount of money needed to win a senate seat). I have no solution for party-list, I’d rather have it be removed if no solution can be found

And we need to start thinking about these things even outside of the electoral cycle (probably a bit hypocritical of me, I only post about election stuff during the election season). Going about ways to improve the next elections need to start as soon as the last elections end. Sometimes I feel like the Comelec has crammed a lot of stuff into the past year or so (registration, source code audits, rulings on party-lists, etc.) Why can’t we ask candidates to register 3 years before the election? That way voters have a lot more time to become familiar with them and the candidates are forced to flesh out long-term plans instead of making excuses that they don’t have time for debates.

Okay, I complain a lot, but I’m still going to vote. I’m not one of those people who complains but won’t vote. We should vote because (a) it’s our responsibility and (b) it’s an expression of what we as individuals desire to have in leaders of our country. And it’s probably our responsibility to vote wisely too, though I’m not sure that’s a rule encoded somewhere, the Comelec certainly doesn’t emphasize it.

To be honest, I’m still not sure of which senators I’ll be voting for, most of my slots are up in the air (although there are many candidates I’m surely NOT voting for). I’ll probably finalize my choices the weekend before the elections, and as has been my tradition, I will post my choices in this space. I’m registered in a different district than where I’m currently residing so I don’t vote for congressman and councilors, so my only choices this time around are the 12 senators and mayor/vice mayor of QC.