Thursday, May 24, 2007

Pie Thrown on a human face - not an Asian practice

A famous comedy duo that appeared in films just before World War II somewhere in the mid thirties, were Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Laurel was the think one and Hardy the fat one. They were of British descent as revealed by their English accents. Most of their comedy routines stemmed from funny situations. Laurel is the straight man who always plays the part of the better informed half of the team while Hardy is the foil or the fall guy who gets it between the eyes and his whole corpulent body shakes with anger when it happens.

One characteristic of the two is that in all their movies, they never used the “slap stick” technique at all. To the aficionado humorists, the highest form of wit is intellectual or double meanings similar to the type of humor that Bob Hope uses.

The lowest is slapstick. With the Laurel and Hardy team, sometimes one would hit the other gently to emphasize a point but that was all the physical or visual effect. Often, they depend on the situation itself using the power of pantomime, enough to produce the desired laughter.

On the other hand we have the very popular American spawned The Three Stooges known and liked by many over many decades and in fact is having a comeback these days. These three were totally dependent on situations and with the ample use of slap stick – and I mean hard hitting slap, bops on the heads, and falls of various types - to get a laugh. One plays the straight man in a superior position and the other two stooges is supposed to obey or imitate what number one stooge wants. Usually the two follow wrongly and therefore get bopped by some hard object depending on what is within reach or available. Mock anger by the number one partner produces the comedic effect and the other two nursing a painful head or nose or back provokes the laughter.

In many American films, it is almost certain that a slap stick comedy sequence would be topped by a pie in the face sequence. And this act usually gets terrific reaction from the audience – a non Asian audience. Why do we say this is so?

In Asia the human person’s face is considered delicate and priceless. The fact is in effect the person's logo and should not be mistreated. It is his whole being, his public image. Over the developing period of Asian societies the basic elements of human relations rested and depended largely on how one honors one’s face especially in business transactions. Bartering – which preceded the exchange of currencies – which is to trade with one another using items or services and not money - depended principally on the quality of a person through his face. When one made a professional commitment orally facing the other party one has to stake his face and must meet the commitment before or on agreed time. His face is his asset, and of course his visual word of honor!

In early agricultural society Asia, a man’s face stands for his individual integrity, family honor, prestige and standing in the community. That is why the term “losing face” and “face the music” “face value” originated from and often really refer to that commodity, precious and fragile which is one’s face. It is his ticket in polite and honorable society. It is supposed to represent his willingness to abide by the common code of conduct and business relationships.

Thus, whenever one who is Asian or of Asian descent views the American film comedies featuring the pie thrown on one’s face, it creates a slight psychological trauma within his own Asian bred body and soul. The person not ready to laugh at this physical humor. But one asks, does it follow that because the Americans who make use of this type of humor has no honor and that he does not value his face at all? And the answer of course is that American society values the totality of the person and not just the face and attributes one’s personality and integrity as his credentials as a member of society. Having a pie in the face, to the American mind, does not diminish the person’ honor, nor integrity for it is done in jest, it is a "child like" moment and for humorous effect without giving the act of throwing pie on the face any other meaning.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Lizza Joaquin Osborn - A Gonzaga University MBA graduate

Lizza's venture into activities she liked - running a marathon [exclusively to raise funds for the Leukemia Society] accepting a human resource management job high up at Park City, Utah, and deciding to pursue a master's degree
was characteristic of this young lady.

When she opted to try another career, she did not hesitate to leave a marketing position at Couer D'Lane Resort in Idaho and began to work for a pharmaceutical firm.

She liked it and soon was hired by Glaxo where she is happily working today. In fact, it was Glaxo who sponsored her MBA studies.

Since she already had experienced the quality education that Jesuits were known for, [she graduated with a Bachelors degree at University of San Francisco with a major in Hotel and Restaurant Mgmt.], she chose Gonzaga University, which is named after a Jesuit Saint Aloysius Gonzaga.

Lizza, very determined to pursue her MBA, took up a part-time study load and so after four years she finally got her degree.

When she announced the commencement date for her graduation rites at Gonzaga, Chita and I, did not hesitate to confirm our presence on this special occasion - Lizza the only MBA holder [I hhold a non degree post grad at Ryerson Institute of Technology for Radio TV] in our family, the youngest of five children yet.

Chita and I do bask in our reflected glory. Alleluia!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Bert del Rosario wins Karaoke case

When Marvy del Rosario Schumann got word that the Supreme Court of the Philippine Republic had declared her father Roberto del Rosario as the sole owner of the original patent rights for a sing along system now popularly known in the Japanese language as Karaoke, tears of joy welled in her eyes, and looking skyward she smiled and said a silent prayer of thanks that her father though no longer here with her, had finally won his case against the Japanese company who claimed that the device was their invention.

Marvy and her other siblings were entrusted by their talented inventor father Roberto del Rosario when he noticed his health becoming worse, to pursue the case and “not to give up” despite the tremendous amount of stress not to mention tons of money spent in (and out) the Philippine courts to fight for their father’s case which had taken several decades.

The Supreme Court’s resolution dated March 19 2007 stated:

Plaintiff Roberto Del Rosario owns the patent rights for a sing-along system, popularly known as the KARAOKE. On January 18, 1993 plaintiff filed a case with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City, for patent infringement against defendant Janito Corporation who, without his consent, was manufacturing and selling a sing along system marketed as “Miyata” which was substantially similar and identical to his (Del Rosario’s) patented invention.

After trial, the RTC in its Decision dated November 9, 1999 ruled in favor of plaintiff relying upon his uncontroveted evidence that defendant, without his consent manufactured and sold the Miyata system which was substantially identical to his patented invention.”

This triumph by a Filipino inventor who holds patents in other inventions as well, is not only a personal victory for the del Rosario family, stated his other daughter Isa Valenton but a feat worth acclaiming for the Filipino people.

Bert was born in Pasay City, the son of Teofilo del Rosario and Consolacion Legaspi. He married Eloisa Vistan, a former beauty queen with whom he has five children- three girls and two boys. Bert has been a widower since 1979 when his wife died at age 45 of heart failure. Bert did not remarry.

He admits that he never took up formal music lessons and cannot read music. Bert has also won awards in the Philippines and abroad, but the one he cherishes the most was the 1985 Gold Medal Award by the WORLD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ORGANIZATION (WIPO) of the United Nations. An award that recognizes him as a Filipino inventor.

Like most inventors, Bert admires other inventors like Thomas Alva Edison, who believes that invention is “one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration” and the Wright Brothers for their having invented the airplane.

Bert del Rosario an accomplished musician who could play seven other musical instruments very well besides the piano, during his leisure hours, enjoyed playing with the popular orchestra known as The Executive’s Band organized by Former Senator Raul Manglapuz and made up of businessmen and members of the diplomatic corps who get together to play just for “fun”.

During the sixties and seventies, the band was often invited to perform for charity and in big social events. All the “sidemen” were executives with a sprinkling of some American or British diplomat who enjoyed playing Jazz music as a hobby. Among the musicians were Senator Raul Manglapus who was the recognized bandleader and founder, who alternated on the piano with Bert del Rosario, J. Morato, (Trumpet), Freddie Kaufman (drums), Lito Molina (Clarinet and alto saxophone) Bobby Manosa, (singer) and architect; Lennie Hontiveros, (saxophone) a senior advertising executive and for a time former Philippine Republic’s First Lady Mrs. Ming Ramos joined in as a pianist in the group’s “jam sessions”.

The band flourished in the sixties and seventies. They even played abroad upon

the invitation of foreign dignitaries like the King of Thailand, President Bill
Clinton, and Pope Paul II.
In 1962, on his own, Bert set up the first of many piano factories that populated the Philippines. He

called his pianos “TREBEL" – a combination of Bert’s name spelled backwards [TRE] and Eloisa his wife- EL.

Back to his minus one system, it took several decades for Bert to finally win the case. In the later models, another cassette tape player/recorder was added. It could record on one magnetic tape both the musical accompaniment and voice of the person singing. This unit was created in 1977. To enhance the quality of sound the device had a knob to produce "reverb" [or echo-like sound] adding technical artistry to the resulting sound.
Bert saw the first sign of corporate leakage – and the specter of “industrial piracy” during the time that he had to contract a Japanese manufacturing firm to produce most of his replacement parts. Not long after this arrangement he and his friends began to see very similar units of his invention but with a Japanese logo being sold openly in major Asian citieis and even in Manila stores..

This, Bert said philosophically, was the price one has to pay for a successful product. People would like to steal the idea or just make copies and sell them under another name.

After some sleuthing, Bert traced the bulk of the “piracy” to a Japanese firm. Since Japan could easily produce units in greater quantities Bert was aware that he really had limited resources and less money to battle this underhanded practice by a bigtimg Japanese firm.

He was no match money-wise against the moneyed Japanese. But it did not discourage Bert from filing copywriter infringement, pursuing it to several decades for he felt in his heart he would be given justice.

In one of the media interviews Bert shared his philosophy in life: “Be
observant, be creative. Most of all work hard at what you believe in.” At last, Bert really worked hard in what he believed in and he won the fight for justice.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

I need your inputs for Uncle Nick Joaquin's biography

Eduardo T. Joaquin, nephew and sole heir of the National Artist Nick Joaquin, announced recently that he has appointed Antonio BK Joaquin to write the biography of Quijano de Manila (Nick Joaquin).


“I am pleased to announce that Tony Joaquin will write the official biography of Nick Joaquin,” Eddie Joaquin announced from his residence in Honolulu, Hawaii. “He is authorized to do research on the book and to get in touch with people who can help enrich the writing of the book,” he added.

Tony Joaquin was a publisher of several trade magazines in Manila during the martial-law years up to the murder of Sen. Benigno Aquino, when he decided to move his family to Daly City, California. He has written an autobiography, “Simple Glories,” which he launched on October 11, 2000.

He was charter founder and past president of the Philippine Society for Training and Development and considered one of the country’s top experts on human resource development from the seventies and eighties.

He was a contributor to the Saturday Mirror Magazine and other weekend supplement magazines in Manila, specializing in tongue-in-cheek essays.

Tony, an active contributor to Filipino American publications in the San Francisco Bay area, said he will start work by calling or writing friends and fans of Nick Joaquin for their favorite anecdotes about the National Artist for Literature.

“I can be contacted at my residence at 25 Ward Court Apt. #6 Daly City California 94015” Joaquin said. “Contributors can also call tel. no. 650 991-4724. My e-mail address is” Joaquin requested contributors to send photos of Nick Joaquin or of themselves if these are available.

Nick Joaquin died on April 29, 2004, at 82. Shortly after his death, two of his biographies were published in Metro Manila, one on the journalist Emilio (Abe) Aguilar Cruz and the other on Sen. Edgardo Angara. The biography is scheduled for publication in late 2008 or early 2009.

Tony, whose father was the great jazz pianist Porfirio (Ping) Joaquin, older brother of Nick, himself had many memories of his well-known uncle. “Nick was present when I was born in Paco. He was my teacher and inspiration.”

Thursday, May 3, 2007

War - a desecration of a precious resource - Man

I am reprinting Ludy Ongkeko's piece which appeared in THE PHILIPPINE NEWS. Tony.


‘Will you give this to my Daddy?’

Ludy Ongkeko, Apr 25, 2007

Some two weeks ago, one of the well-known national weekly publications called the world’s attention to what it dubbed, “Voices from the Front.” The notes came from America’s warriors addressed to their families which the same publication entitled: “In Their Own Words.”

I cannot begin to describe how I felt as I read portions of missives coming from “those voices of the fallen.” I had to stop. Tears welled. When I continued shortly after, I found myself on the receiving end of “Will you give this to my Daddy?” a first-person piece forwarded to me by a friend of old.

I do not have the vaguest idea who the author is. Considering its impact on those who likewise received it, because it is so apropos, it is my belief that it should be shared with PN readers. Here it is: (The account does not bear the writer’s identity; however unknown that is, I would like to add my congratulations for something so aptly written at this time.)

“Last week, I was in Atlanta, Georgia attending a conference. While I was at the airport, waiting to return home I heard several people behind me beginning to clap and cheer. I immediately turned around and witnessed one of the greatest acts of patriotism I have ever seen. Moving through the terminal was a group of soldiers in their “camos,” as they began heading to their gate. Everybody (well almost everybody) was abruptly on their feet with their hands waving and cheering. When I saw the soldiers (probably 30-40 of them) being applauded and cheered for, it hit me. I’m not alone! I’m not the only red-blooded American, who still loves this country, and who supports our troops and their families. Of course I immediately stopped and began clapping for these young unsung heroes, who are putting their lives on the line every day for us, so we can go to school, work, church and home without fear of reprisal. Just when I thought I could not be more proud of my country or of our service men and women, a young girl, no more than 6 or 7 years old, ran up to one of the male soldiers. He knelt down and said, “Hi.”

The little girl then asked him if he would give something to her Daddy for her. The young soldier (he couldn’t be any older than maybe 22 himself) said he would try and what did she want to give him to give to her daddy? Then suddenly the little girl grabbed the neck of this soldier, gave him the biggest hug she could muster and then kissed him on the cheek.

The mother of the little girl, who said her daughter’s name was Courtney, told the young soldier that her husband was a marine and had been in Iraq for 11 months now. As the Mom was explaining how much her daughter Courtney missed her father, the young soldier’s eyes began to tear up.

When this temporarily single Mom was done explaining the situation, all of a sudden the soldiers huddled together for a brief second. One of the servicemen then pulled out a military looking walkie-talkie. They started playing with the device and talking back and forth on it. After about 10-15 seconds of this, the young soldier walked back over to Courtney, bent down and said this to her, “I spoke with your Daddy, and he told me to give this to you.”

He then hugged this little girl that he had just met and gave her a kiss on the cheek, he finished by saying, “Your Daddy told me to tell you that he loves you more than anything and he is coming home soon.” The Mom at this point was crying almost uncontrollably, and when the young soldier got on his feet, he saluted Courtney and her Mom. I was standing no more than six feet away from where this entire event unfolded. As the soldiers began to leave heading towards their gate, people resumed their applause.

As I stood there applauding and looked around, there were no dry eyes, including my own. The young soldier in a last act of selflessness turned around and blew a kiss to Courtney with a tear rolling down his cheek.”

The message from the author of the remarkable incident concluded, “We need to remember all of our soldiers and their families every day; and thank God for them, and their sacrifices. At the end of the day, it is good being an American.

The first thing a soldier says when asked, “What can we do to make things better for you?” No hesitation from him/her. “We need your support and your prayers” is the reply.

Therefore the American people should continue to pray for the military wherever its units are. We can be proud in stating what we’ve been told over and over again, “We live in the land of the free, only because of the brave:”