Thursday, November 29, 2007

Rethinking Foreign Aid

Thursday, November 29, 2007

There is no denying the importance of international organizations for creating a more just economic order and the pivotal role that aid plays in development. Again we must ask: To what extent is the role of international organizations in bringing about development outcomes such as equity and social justice and what are the fundamental motives of these organizations in giving aid? As argued by Sen (1999: 123): “individuals live and operate in a world of institutions, many of which operate across borders. Our opportunities and prospects depend crucially on what institutions exist and how they function.” There is a need, therefore, to examine the functions and motivations of these international aid-giving institutions.

Aid from international organizations (bilateral or multilateral) can advance human welfare and social justice through: 1) allowing recipients to increase consumption and investment; 2) improving the provision of basic services such as health and education; 3) extending social insurance; 4) supporting reconstruction in conflict areas; and 5) building global health challenges. (Human Development Report 2005) Moreover, donor organizations can influence the broader policy environments under which development projects and programs are designed and implemented, in ways that can either facilitate or obstruct processes of promoting poverty alleviation and human development. Foreign aid can make the greatest contribution where the institutions and policies are ‘right.’ Foreign aid donors selectively reward strong reformers and those that meet the necessary conditions the aid entails for the argument is that aid is only effective in countries with good’ policy environments, in terms of fiscal stability, low inflation rates and open markets.

The collapse of the Soviet Union and the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War has stimulated a rethinking of development aid and pushed for the revamping of the aid agenda as manifested in the creation of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. However, aid distortions and issues related to strategic donor behavior and realpolitik still exist. A multitude of factors have diminished the impact of aid on development – cold war politics, the use of aid to promote commercial objectives in donor countries, aid and loan conditionalities, the absence of effective national poverty reduction strategies, corruption and economic mismanagement. A study by Alesina (2000) using OECD-DAC data from Nordic countries, covering the period of 1970 to 1994 confirms that the foreign policy goals of donor organizations continue to be the most important motive for giving aid. The pattern of aid-giving is dictated mainly by political and strategic factors instead of economic needs and policy performance of recipient countries. The strategic behavior of donor organizations, policy prescriptions and loan conditionalities in particular, even further underpins unequal power relationships among countries.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

thread through the labyrinth

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

“Our love has been the thread through the labyrinth, the net under the high-wire walker, the only real thing in this strange life of mine that I could ever trust. Tonight I feel that my love for you has more density in this world than I do, myself: as though it could linger on after me and surround you, keep you, hold you.”

Audrey Niffenegger,
The Time Traveler’s Wife

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Voluntary Solitary Confinement

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I have a friend who cannot stand to be alone. She always asks me to have my phone by my side every weekend, in case she needs a towerblock to lean on. I asked her what about solitude that she hates. She said that when she’s alone, she’s forced to confront herself and her thoughts. Isn’t time alone with ourselves a welcome relief, instead? Most of our waking time is spent with others. Isn’t it refreshing to be left alone, once in a while?

Alone time for me is a luxury. My solitary confinement is voluntary. It’s the only time I can carry out an honest conversation with myself; it’s when I can do things enjoyed only in solitude - like reading, writing and dreaming.

Being alone does not indicate thinness of existence. What we do in solitary gives color, vibrance and texture to our existence. Our capacity for solitude is what sustains our ability to deliver ourselves fully to another person.

Monday, November 26, 2007

work gone bad

Monday, November 26, 2007

Why do I have to receive flack for somebody else’s mistake? Do I have to always pick up the trash of somebody who cannot clean up his act? After fourteen hours of toil, you still blamed me for somebody else’s work gone bad.

Seeing the results, tell me, did i or did i not do my job?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

different stories

Sunday, November 25, 2007

We used to be inseparable, my dear. You weren't just a friend to me. You were my sister. Have we grown apart? I think not. Everyday, somebody from Akron, Ohio visits my page. I know it's you. Who else from that faraway place would be interested in what's happening with my life?


Remember, we used to dream of this, “sana kapag magkita tayo, iba naman ang pag-usapan natin.” I think it's different with me, now. When we meet again, the stories I'd tell you would be about another man and other things. The sob stories would be replaced by happy ones. And I know, yours would be different, too.

Things have changed. We really are getting old, mare.

Friday, November 23, 2007

two crazies speaking their own language

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thursday, November 22, 2007

online dating

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

One

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Your happiness is inextricably intertwined with mine; your pain, unvoiced but not hidden, I can feel. Our relationship, founded on both likeness and disparity, proceeds smoothly over distance. We were put to test but remained together. Our love, though seemingly unnatural and tremendously unconventional, involves a certain balance of insane clarity and ferocious calm. You and I - we are one.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

pictures, pictures, pictures

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Monday, November 19, 2007

Eleven Years Ago

Monday, November 19, 2007

I was reading my journal written eleven years ago. I could not believe how obsessed I was about grades and exams and being a “good student”. One entry goes like this.

December 13, 1996, 6:54 AM

I don’t know what to do anymore. I feel like throwing up. I’m so out of sleep that I feel like killing somebody, anybody. Or maybe I’ll just kill myself instead. These past few nights, I’ve been studying like hell but my exams were so damn difficult! That’s why I realized that all those precious hours I spent reading and reading and rereading were all useless. Why do teachers have to make excruciatingly hard exams anyway? To make students like us suffer? To test our “intelligence”? This is not learning; this is torture – intellectual, physical, emotional torture. Oh shit! How I hate exams! I know I don’t have to perfect scores and high grades all the time. But still, grades are so important. Sometimes I wish I’m not like this. Am I missing anything important by being like this instead of just being like any other student who doesn’t give a shit? I can’t answer this right now. Maybe later.

What’s funny is that I think I haven’t changed at all.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

If versus When

Saturday, November 17, 2007

How I hate the word if. It implies conditions, stipulations, suppositions, restrictions, low probabilities, uncertainty, and indecisiveness. So why use if when you can use when?

Friday, November 16, 2007

too examined life

Friday, November 16, 2007

We have been taught Socrates’ dictum: the unexamined life is not worth living. However, the too examined life is not worth living, either.

Hegel and Marx advocated historical self-consciousness; Freud introduced psychological self-consciousness; literary self-consciousness is prevalent in most contemporary fiction. We question everything. We seek for answers but in our pursuit, the only thing we find out is that there is no solace to be found in endless, vertiginous examination. By the time we finally get answers to our questions, we find out that there are more questions that do not have answers or do not even have to be asked. We get lost in a labyrinth of questions; we forget that things can be simple, too.

Beyond the why, why not, how, what might have been, what could have been and what should have been is a life worth living.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

act like a man (crushed like a cockroach)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

It has been more than a year now. Still you are avoiding her deliberately. And when it becomes absolutely necessary to face her, you cannot bring yourself to talk to her without stuttering or avoiding her eyes. For once in your life, act like a man.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

who says you can't have both?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Who says you can’t have both – a good career and a great family life? One of my closest friends, Christine, proved that it could be done. She has just successfully defended her dissertation, which means that she is now a PhD holder, a great mother, and a devoted wife!

Monday, November 12, 2007

twenty-one new things about me

Monday, November 12, 2007

Fine lines have started appearing under my eyes – a prelude to wrinkles.

One of my dreams – to have an article published – is now about to be realized.

I’ve started a countdown, something I’ve never done before.

My phone is active again!

I am no longer a victim of unrealizable dreams.

Well crafted phrases delight me.

I used to doubt relationships that started virtual. I ate all my words.

    I now have 26 pairs of shoes.

For me, love is no longer a trap, an elusive idea, a performance or an illusion.

More and more work responsibilities are being given to me.

I am happy and I feel so loved.

All my preparations for spinsterhood got scrapped.

I’ve stopped obsessing about my weight.

I am less of an introvert than before. I've realized how fun it is to be in the company of friends.

I go to work earlier than usual with a bright smile on my face a cheerful good morning for everyone, eager to start a new day.

I can now wear what i want, eat what i want, sleep when i want, say what i want, do what i want, go where i want, be with the people i want to be with. I'm free, at last.

I am now officially the tiniest in our whole clan. My 12-year old sister and even my nieces are now taller than me.

My insecurities, I’ve learned how to deal with.

They say I am less bitchy but more crazy than before.

I have come to terms with past events.

I found The One. Or rather, he found me.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

an astonishing farce of misperception

Saturday, November 10, 2007

“You fight your superficiality, your shallowness, so as to try to come at people without unreal expectations, without an overload of bias or hope or arrogance, as untanklike as you can be, sans cannon and machine guns and steel plating half a foot thick; you come at them unmenacingly on your on ten toes instead of tearing up the turf with your caterpillar treads, take them on with an open mind, as equals, man to man, as we used to say, and yet you never fail to get them wrong. You might as well have the brain of a tank. You get them wrong before you meet them, while you’re anticipating meeting them; you get them wrong while you’re with them; and then you go home to tell somebody else about the meeting and you get them all wrong again. Since the same generally goes for them with you, the whole thing is really a dazzling illusion empty of all perception, an astonishing farce of misperception.”


- Philip Roth, American Pastoral, 1997


Friday, November 9, 2007

The Good Wife's Guide

Friday, November 9, 2007

Thursday, November 8, 2007

viciously vile vitriol

Thursday, November 8, 2007

There is something pitiable and pathetic with people who viciously spew out vile vitriol. Virulence and undisguised animosity do nothing but reveal the depravity within.

did not work well in groups


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

8,521 miles

Wednesday, November 7, 2007
  • What is a distance of 8,521 miles when you feel that he's closer to you than any other person on earth?
  • What is 8,521 miles when you can hear his voice everyday tirelessly telling you that you are the love of his life?
  • What is 8,521 miles when you know that you'll be together in no time?
  • What is 8,521 miles when he sends you torturous text messages, effortless telephatic messages and heartfelt emails that never fail to lift your spirits up?
  • What is 8,521 miles when he constantly sends you lovely red roses to brighten up your day?
  • What is 8,521 miles when you know that your bond grows stronger everyday and you are both determined to stay together no matter what?
  • What is 8,521 miles when there's this blog that made it probable, plausible and possible for him to find you?
  • What is 8,521 miles when by defying all dating rules and conventions, you made each other's dreams come true?
  • What is 8,521 miles when you are certain that you make him happy like nobody else can?>
  • What is 8,521 miles when you both know that despite it, you love each other more and more each passing day?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

this has got to stop

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

This has got to stop. Staying up until the wee hours of the morning to finish a book is a compulsion I have had since childhood that I can’t shake off. It makes me so sleepy during daytime that I have to down mugs and mugs of black coffee to keep myself awake. And what’s worse, I end up looking like a panda, with dark circles under my eyes even a whole stick of concealer couldn’t hide.

Oh well, at least I got to finish what I started.

Monday, November 5, 2007

nothing and everything has changed

Monday, November 5, 2007

Has it been a year now? It seems only like yesterday that Nica and I were struggling over her Christmas tree project for school; a year has passed and now we’re making Christmas lanterns.

A year has passed and it’s like nothing and everything has changed. We’re slightly different people doing the same things in different ways for the same purpose in different times.

Friday, November 2, 2007

mysterious equations of love

Friday, November 2, 2007

It is only in the mysterious equations of love that any logical reasons can be found.


- Russel Crowe playing John Nash in A Beautiful Mind

Thursday, November 1, 2007

igniting the UP pride

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Quoted from a Sayote Republic post entitled UP at 100:

“The text below was taken from an image posted in the University of the Philippines group over in Facebook. Thought I’d share it to everyone to further ignite the UP pride.” (Charles Asuit, 30 October 2007)

ISKO/ISKA

UP trained you in such a way that when the people of the world are sitting, you’ll be standing; when the world is standing, you’ll stand out; when the world stands out, you’ll be outstanding; and when the world dares to be outstanding, you’ll be the standard.

 
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