Roy Tang

Programmer, engineer, scientist, critic, gamer, dreamer, and kid-at-heart.

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Oct 2018

I have no plans of running for elective office (though it is a running joke among some of my circles), but if I were, one of the problems I would focus on would be education. As such, I have a list of suggested additions to the High School curriculum here in the Philippines. (The first version of this list was in an FB post I wrote during the 2016 campaign period, in response to people clamoring for better Martial Law education.

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The QC Memorial Circle


I took a quick walk around the QC memorial circle the other day. There was some kind of event going on in the main plaza for the Department of Agriculture; Secretary Pinol was there giving a speech. I walked a couple of rounds around the park so I could meet my daily steps target. The sun was coming down and I’m not the best photographer but I thought it looked good on the Quezon Memorial Shrine so I took the above shot.

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For the past few weeks or so, many in the country were consumed by a sort of lotto fever. The PCSO 6/58 Ultra Lotto had gotten up to a record high jackpot prize of more than 1 billion PHP (roughly 20M USD – I know some lotteries in the US have prizes way higher than that, but hey, we’re not the US.) Many people who normally don’t play the Lotto were participating due to the sheer size of the pot.

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The perils of hyperpartisanship


A few days ago I read this great Reddit comment about how increasing hyperpartisanship makes it easier to influence the entire population. Quoting the relevant part: Once you've done that, you have a population that's easier to manipulate. You have, say, 30% that's 100% sure on both ends, and probably another 15% on both ends that are 80% sure, and a remaining 10% that could go both ways. The more you do this, the more the 15% will be set in stone.

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Locals will have a tendency to fawn over Westerners who come to the country, so at least at the start you might feel like you can do no wrong.

Locals are also a lot less… direct than Westerners and if there are problems they may dance about the issues a bit for fear of looking bad. You might need to be less direct with any criticism than you’re used to with Westerners. And some might have difficulty talking to you if they aren’t confident in their English (most Filipinos will be able to speak/understand English to some extent, but not everyone will have decent grammar etc)

And there’s a strong sense of power distance in the company, so they might be a bit afraid of you especially if you are perceived as being “higher in the food chain”.

Going out with them for meals and maybe treating them every once in a while (don’t let them get used to it) would be good ways to become accepted as part of the group. But that power distance may be difficult to breach.

All of these are generalizations of course, not all locals are like the above (I consider myself an exception - I’m quite direct even when talking to foreigners), so YMMV.

Posted by under replies at / Philippines / via reddit / Syndicated: / 0

What is education for?


I recently watched this TedX talk by Seth Godin about the purpose of school/education: One of the best points I agree with from the talk is that majority of our educational system is geared towards generating graduates who are obedient. We teach students from a young age to follow rules and answer roll calls. We teach them standard prescribed solutions. We teach them how to take exams and how to find the right answers.

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Sep 2018

Aug 2018

Jul 2018

I have yet to see a compelling and detailed economic analysis as to how it will benefit each region (as in, I’d like to see a breakdown of the expected economic benefit to each region)

As for cons:

  • between fascist tendencies, highly divisive political tactis, and at best a loose relationship with the truth, such a large change cannot be entrusted to this administration
  • federalism creates a 2-tier taxation system (state and federal), possibly leading to more taxes
  • empowers political dynasties
  • costly transition without clear cost/benefit analysis
  • our societal problems are largely cultural in nature, changing the system of government will do little to address that

That being said, I could see why some people might like it, and I am not against changing the charter per se (I agree that there are some problematic things with the 1987 constitution)

Posted by under replies at / Philippines / via reddit / Syndicated: / 0

Jun 2018

May 2018

Putting your picture on your resume when your appearance shouldnt have any effect on the job you’re applying for is a silly thing Pinoys do that should end. It contributes to a culture of shallowness where people judge you based on your appearance.

Aside from it being better for society, you would probably not want to work at the sort of places that expect your resume to have a picture.

That being said, if you have any sort of facebook presence, you can be sure you’re gonna get online-stalked before any intervieew.

Posted by under replies at / Philippines / via reddit / Syndicated: / 0

Barangay Elections


Ever since I came of age, I’ve exercised my right (and duty) to vote in every election that comes around. Except for Barangay/SK elections. I’ve never voted in Barangay elections. I understand that voting is a civic duty, and I have no real justification for shirking it. But the fact is that my level of awareness re: barangay-level government is very low. I have no idea what their responsibilities or jurisdiction is supposed to be.

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Apr 2018

Mar 2018

Can you imagine what it was like to be the poor hapless employee who wrote this barely-recognizable-as-English text?

“Huy, teka ba’t ako? Ba’t ako magsusulat neto? Wala bang iba? Alam nyo naman mahina ang English ko? Anlaki ng budget natin, wala ba tayong marunong talaga magsulat? Teka lang, wag nyo ko madaliin, kinakabahan ako. Sige na, sige na, susubukan ko. Pano ba dapat to? Wala ba kong makokopyahan? Ngayon lang ba tayo gumawa ng ganitong id? Ano ba dapat nakasulat dito? Kasi naman, ba’t ba ako nandito, e sabi ko nung nagapply ako PCSO, hindi PCOO. Eto na, eto na, saglit lang. Ano ba English ng isaoli? May magrereview naman siguro nito ano? Kelangan pa ng pirma ni secretary e, may magsasabi naman siguro kung may mali? Walang sisihan ha, pinipilit nyo ko, e lahat ng pinapanood ko sa tv tagalog, sana pumasa ingles ko. Bakit may pulang underline ito sa Word? Ano ba ibig sabihin nun? Ok ba yun? Sige na, bahala na si Batman, send ko na lang to. May magrereview naman siguro bago iprint.”

Posted by under replies at / Philippines / via reddit / Syndicated: / 0

Feb 2018

Dec 2017

TRAIN is neutral to okay for the middle class, who get to pay less taxes. Prices will go up, but since they have some discretionary funds to spend, they can simply manage their budget accordingly.

TRAIN is bad for the poor, who weren’t paying taxes before anyway. They get no direct benefit, and yet have to suffer higher prices. They already have low discretionary funds to spend, so they have to stretch their budgets further.

TRAIN is a bit bad for the upper class (those who pay the correct taxes at least), but they have wider discretionary budget to spend so they will just pay a little more (or more will be driven to evade taxes completely)

TRAIN is good for the government, since it means more collections and less money spent on enforcement (since taxes on consumption are easier to collect/implement than personal income taxes)

Lastly, TRAIN is very bad for ROHQ employees due to the presidential veto.

Posted by under replies at / Philippines / via reddit / Syndicated: / 0

Nov 2017

Oct 2017

Well, if it’s true that the new jeeps are more profitable in the long run for the drivers, why do we need to enforce the phaseout? Why not let drivers choose whether to use the old models or the new ones, and let the old model die out naturally to market forces?

I mean, I get all the benefits, but these jeepney drivers don’t really earn that much. Anlaki ng cost for them nung new models, so mahihirapan talaga sila if we force them to transition.

Posted by under replies at / Philippines / via reddit / Syndicated: / 0

Jun 2017

Random thoughts while walking at night: The structure of government can be a bit analogous to the structure of a software development project. The Constitution is like the requirements for a project. It’s kind of high-level and (I believe) shouldn’t be too detailed. Supposedly the requirements are written by the client. For a country like the Philippines the client is “we the sovereign Filipino people”. Slight tangent: I used to know this guy who was one of those rabid “we need to amend the constitution” types and he asked me to review a “mathematical model to track the budget as a function of tax collection and monetary policy” that he wanted to include in a proposed new constitution.

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A Bus Ride in Metro Manila


"Grabe naman kasi ang ginagawa nyo sa pasahero" (This is too much for the passengers), she said. She was a short, old lady trying to get to the front of the bus so that she could disembark. But like most city buses in Metro Manila during rush hour, the bus was filledto the brim with people, many of them standing tightlypacked in the aisle, holding on to handrails on the bus ceiling or the nearby seats.

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Apr 2017

Mar 2017

I have friends who are faculty on both sides of this issue, but the Engg side seems underrepresented online so I’ll present some of their points here:

  • First, re: K-12/SHS. The idea is that some of the GE stuff would be covered by the additional two years of senior high school\n- Re: K-12 again, another concern is that with students entering college two years later than before, having a 5 year course would be an unnecessary burden on students (who should already have a more rounded education given the +2 years from senior HS), thus they’ve been looking at cutting 5 year courses to 4 years\n- there seems to be some assertion that the changes are being railroaded, but one of my friends involved with the process (although she was not unable to attend the actual vote on the issue) tells me that they’ve been studying the options available for ~2 years now (starting from when K-12 was announced.)

I understand the concern from the humanities side, of course, and the perception that lightening the load will make UP more of a “diploma mill” (whatever that may imply). Personally, I am not convinced the engineering courses need to be cut to four years. I would prefer they remain appropriately difficult. I do however support the argument that with the +2 years from SHS, we should consider reducing the GE load since this may create redundancy (meaning unnecessary expense) for the students. By how much that load needs to be reduced? ¯\\(ツ)

Posted by under replies at / Philippines / via reddit / Syndicated: / 0

Feb 2017

War


As of today, our country (The #Blessed Republic of the Philippines) is already at war with: Drugs Illegal gambling Communist rebels Some other things we might consider declaring war on (in no particular order): Poverty Ignorance Misinformation (sorry, “Alternative facts”) Abusive government officials Traffic Rights abuses Pollution High power rates Political dynasties Poor quality of local cinema offerings Politicians putting their names everywhere Internet trolls and bullies Lack of critical thinking Redundancy Overtime without overtime pay Government officials blatantly lying or pulling statistics out of thin air Slow and expensive internet The MRT breaking down Cruelty to animals Poor quality of local anti-piracy ads Jejespeak SMS spam Typhoons Taxis that don’t give exact change War Irony Spoilers Pineapples on pizza Poor grammar and/or spelling Hashtags Hypocrisy Multi-level marketing Working at “Edi sa puso mo” Redundancy Low effort blog posts that start out serious but end up trying a bit too hard to be funny People who don’t understand sarcasm People who stand in malls and shove fliers in your face Commenting on posts without reading the actual article Lists that end abruptly at weird numbers so you’re not sure if there’s more or what
Posted by under post at / Opinions Philippines / Syndicated: / 0 / 194 words

Dec 2016

Nov 2016

This reminds me of back when the footbridge near the corner of Commonwealth and Tandang Sora was still under construction. At that time pedestrians could already climb up one side even though it was not yet done, so at one point I saw it and was like “cool, may footbridge na pala”, went up and got to the halfway point only to find that it didn’t reach all the way to the end /glare

Posted by under replies at / Philippines / via reddit / Syndicated: / 0

Oct 2016

I don’t really have many “fanatics” who follow me. Maybe someone should make an image version of the monologue part, with the president in the image (implying he said it) and post it to one of the pro-Duterte groups. You know, the ones that believe he’s been named the best president in the solar system lol

Posted by under replies at / Philippines / via reddit / Syndicated: / 0

Appearances and Diplomacy


(A bit of Philippine politics in this post, if that sort of thing bothers you) Recently as the whole world watched one of our political leaders display his expected lack of diplomatic finesse on the global stage, I couldn’t help but think about how in my younger days there’s a good chance I might have approved of his frank, straight-talking, shoot-from-the-hip brand of diplomacy. I have a bit of a reputation myself for preferring to speak frankly and directly instead of dancing around the issues, although these days I understand the wisdom of adapting to the situation as needed

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Sep 2016

Investigating the Drug Killings


It’s no secret that many are unhappy with the way the congressional investigations into the so-called “drug war” and related killings here in the Philippines. If I were in charge of these investigations, these are the some of the questions I’d want answered: (Disclaimers: I’m not a lawyer or any kind of expert. Understandably, the resource persons may be reluctant to answer some of these in open session, in which case an executive session could be done.

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You know how a lot of Pinoys are so proud of Pacquiao whenever he wins a match - I don’t get that. I don’t relate to him just because we happened to be born on adjacent chunks of land. I had no hand in his upbringing or victories. He and I are around roughly the same age, but I doubt we had very similar experiences in life

It’s probably different in a country like the US where they have some notion of what it means to “be an American”. Here in the Philippines, I don’t think there is any such notion. I don’t know what it means to “be a Filipino”. We aren’t really that united in terms of culture and we don’t have a strong national identity that all of us can rally around.

Maybe in the end our own diversity can be good for us too, as it means we aren’t constrained or tied to a single point of view but are able to work with a veritable melting pot of different cultures and dialects and what-not. Maybe this is what it means to be a Filipino. Maybe this is what it means to be human

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Roy Tang is a:

roytang.net is a personal site, an E/N site, and kind of a commonplace book; I post about a random assortment of topics that interest me including software development, Magic the Gathering, pop culture, gaming, and tech life. This site is perpetually under renovation.