a random mix

i have no reason to believe that the rice shortage in the philippines has reached a level that should inspire alarm. i just had dinner at mang inasal at jupiter corner makati avenue, and the sign on the left was posted by the door. i just had one serving of rice, partly because i try to cut down on my carbohydrates, and partly because i would like to somehow contribute to the crisis. yes, i admit there is a crisis, not in terms of supply, but in terms of price. since we are the world's biggest importer of rice, the rising price of the important grain must have a great impact on our food security. so in the long run, if we do not achieve self-sufficiency, and the rest of the world refuses to export to us, then we may eventually deal with a shortage. but that isn't going to happen just yet. i am not an expert on this -- or on anything for that matter -- but my simplistic explanation has been this: the "shortage" is imaginary to a large extent. when GMA discovered that private rice dealers were selling NFA rice as a commercial variety, she cancelled their grains retailer permits. as a result, from about 50 places where NFA rice is normally available, sources were reduced to 1: usually a government agency. the reduction of places where NFA rice is available has thus resulted in these long queues, fueling the fear that there is such a shortage.

the move was brilliant, actually, as attention has been shifted from the already-tired NBN controversy, and senators have been taken to task to actually look into more important issues. i wonder who GMA's spin doctor is: not that there is no issue at hand, but that the matter of rising world food prices was exploited to great effect.

so will the philippines achieve self-sufficiency in the near future? i hope so. production of rice has reached staggering records recently, despite the reduction of agricultural lands, or the conversion of rice fields o accommodate other cash crops, but to be honest, i don't think we have enough land to meet the needs of a population that's growing at a rate of 1.2%! there aren't enough mountains to turn into rice terraces! the solution is to just cut down on consumption and wastage. we can all contribute to averting a possible crisis in the near future.

now that's a load of garbage!

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i just got my electric bill for the previous month, and i was shocked to find that my bill had breached P500! in fact, it was more than P1,200! when i first moved in to my unit, my average electric bill was P220. there was even one month (november i think), that it was just P128. with only the electric fan and the refrigerator working, that wasn't such a surprise, but since it's been really hot lately, i've been turning the old aircon on just to find sleep, since i would be sweating while just lying on the bed. other than that, i've also acquired a microwave, which i rarely use, but which i think is such a monster wattage consumer. also, i've been such a baby lately and keeping one of the lights on. i've returned to opening my curtain to let the light from buendia stream in instead. ah! the challenges of bachelorhood.

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i'm currently reading kurt vonnegut's uncollected short stories, compiled and collectively called the bagombo snuff box. i've never been a big fan of american literature, although i think i should also be reading stories originally written in english for my own education. kurt's language is simple and uncluttered, and he seldom resorts to the kind of rhetoric that i've been used to while reading garcía márquez and other latin american authors. but i've enjoyed him nonetheless. perhaps because of the austere narrative, i'm able to finish around 1 or 2 stories a night. and they're short too, so it makes reading a lot easier. i'll probably finish the collection in 2 weeks! haha. too slow. i'm really not reading as much as i should.

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as i promised -- although i don't think this will do much to push their musical career forward as i only have an average of about 40 unique visitors a day -- i'm pimping tey's revenge: a band composed of AMCI members. they have a regular gig at mag:net at the bonifacio high street on thursdays. they do an hour of retro 80s music. when they first performed at the AMCI acquaintance party last year, i didn't think too seriously about them, although, as i understand, they took themselves very seriously. and although kuya mar will disagree with me without end, i think ernest's voice has improved. jazzie says he's doing voice lessons. well and good. although i did make this joke that the vocalist is usually the least talented among the members, but the most appealing nonetheless. haha. i hope ernest doesn't read this, because, i think it's more than half true! strangely though, i didn't know any of the songs they played. seriously! i'm not a kid of the 80s, i swear.

other members of tey's revenge are umberto, czar, and john-pete. i hope these guys go a long way. after all, they did play at the virgin party. i took this picture of them outside mag:net. if they ever get anywhere, they promised me i'll shoot their CD cover, or poster, or whatever. hell! i'd take their pictures anytime, even if there were no occasion!

now wait just a minute... did i just mention AMCI in this blog? a prize for the first person to say when i last mentioned AMCI on the blog. hahaha.
"they took themselves very seriously" ha ha ha.

They carved the mountainsides for the simple reason that they don't have flat areas for planting. Rice yields per hectare in the Philippines are nearly double those of Thailand, the top exporter, and yet we have been importing nearly continuously since 1869(!!), simply because our archipelago is mountainous (AMCI country!!) and better suited to growing bananas, pineapple and coconuts. Only 30 percent of Philippine farms can tolerate rice, a water-intensive plant, which makes the terraces a stupendous engineering marvel, a labour of love. All major rice exporters by contrast have huge, flat, river deltas with lots of free water.
i agree. we have very high rice consumption, due in no small part to a large population. we also have a very high output, despite the fact that our geology is unkind to rice growing, and our total land area is so much smaller compared to some of our neighbors. comparatively, we've recently been yielding more harvests than previous decades, but the increase in production has failed to catch up with the rate of increase in our consumption. so it's really a potentially huge problem.

and i think that people tend to oversimplify the situation. they say: how come we're importing rice when the IRRI is in the philippines? i think IRRI's location has nothing to do with our rice production at all. another problem i heard: it's because mike arroyo is a rice importer. but we've been importing rice since the spanish period! (but then again, the arroyo forebears have been around much earlier! haha!)

anyway, don't forget to catch tey's revenge at their regular gigs. :D