Mark Lorenzana

Freelance copyeditor. Sometime copywriter. Occasional blogger.

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Rant #10

I would like to apologize profusely to Pulse Asia.

I called bullshit on them on their pre-election surveys that projected Bongbong Marcos winning the presidency by a landslide.

My lack of confidence in those surveys was triggered by an earlier survey that Pulse Asia had conducted, which found Rodrigo Duterte to have had a 93% trust rating. This despite a botched COVID-19 pandemic response; Duterte refusing to fire Francisco Duque amid irregularities found in the health department to the tune of ₱8 billion in government supply contracts that connected Duque to Chinese businessman Michael Yang, who bagged those contracts; the ₱15 billion stolen from PhilHealth by their executives using different fraudulent schemes; and the massive borrowing by Duterte, supposedly for his COVID response, which has now amounted to P1.31 trillion.

The surveys were accurate after all; Pulse Asia was...

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Random Thought #5

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I never worried about that echo-chamber crap even before the elections. I’m worried less now.

If in that echo chamber I’m with like-minded individuals who campaigned for the most-qualified candidate, and who will continue to fight for what is right going forward, I’m at peace with that.

Hey, the people I’m closest with—both family and friends—share my values anyway. They’re the people I admire and look up to and will go to battle for.

As we grow older our circle of friends—and family—naturally shrinks anyway. This recently concluded elections only helped speed that up for a lot of younger people. The way I see it, that’s something to be thankful for.

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Rant #9

I just got off the phone with my boss, from one of my English-writing jobs here in Mexico.

She called to condole with me for the impending landslide win of Bongbong Marcos as next president of the Philippines, and added that if I didn’t feel like turning in my write-up for this week, it’s okay; she’d understand. She said she couldn’t believe that, in our lifetime, there’d be two Marcoses sitting in Malacañang. Before her call, I’d already been receiving messages of sympathy from my other colleagues as well.

These are newspeople, legit journalists. They know the score. I’ve read the coverage of our elections from other foreign media outlets as well, and they’ve been painting a gloomy picture about the outlook of the Philippines—which is perfectly understandable, no matter how optimistic we want to be.

It’s just sad that foreign journalists—outsiders—seem to have a better...

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Random Thought #4

I used to be an e-book snob – I preferred the tactile experience of reading a physical version of a book. Eventually I caved in and bought a Kindle (it’s still with me, all of 11 years old, the rugged workhorse). I also learned to consume – and actually finish – books from my smartphone, especially while on the train or the bus.

We need to adapt or perish. The battleground of these elections was on social media. We lament that majority of the newer generation never read anymore, but that’s not accurate – they do, not just books. They read on screens. They read social media posts, they read comments. They still consume information, but through TikTok and YouTube and short clips on Facebook. Bongbong Marcos exploited this; he and his team knew what they were doing.

I love reading columns, political columns, and I’m sure a lot of you do as well. Good columnists who know their stuff help...

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Rant #8

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Quite a few people are up in arms over this photograph from Rappler, and majority of them—obviously—are Cebuanos.

Another case of shooting the messenger.

Why blame the media (again), when all they did was take a picture of what is really there?

What’s funny is that the same people who are complaining about this supposed “pandaut” are also mum on the proliferation of fake news on social media, which is much, much worse.

I remember that now-famous photograph taken by photojournalist Raffy Lerma, several years ago, of a woman cradling the dead body of her partner, Michael Siaron, after he was gunned down under a footbridge in Edsa by motorcycle-riding gunmen. At that time, die-hard Dutertards were up in arms because the picture was informally called “La Pieta,” in reference to Michelangelo’s Renaissance sculpture depicting the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother, Mary, after the...

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Random Thought #3

When a job “forces” someone to turn his back on his principles, especially if the person is one of the more stand-up guys you’ve known dating back to your college days, what does that say about the character of that person? Where’s the integrity you thought he had? And we’re not talking about some grunt here who’ll starve the second he loses his job; we’re talking about someone whose profession and experience will guarantee the same (high) quality of life for him and his family even if, hopefully, he wakes up and decides that living up to those principles is more important than keeping a job that muddled up those principles for him in the first place.

What can I say? That’s what politics can do to someone you believed was an upstanding person.

Addendum: I’ve never fully embraced the corporate life. And I haven’t really escaped the grind, truth be told, although I’m fortunate enough to...

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Random Thought #2

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Another thing I noticed here in Mexico is that everyone wants to get the COVID jab; Mexicans will take a day off work and troop to the vaccination centers. They generally don’t mind queu​ing up and waiting to get vaccinated, like majority of Filipinos back home. Also, I haven’t encountered any antivaxxer rallies.

I will continue wearing a mask in public here, even when, eventually, the mandates will be lifted soon; it’s a personal decision, and after two years living in this pandemic, I’ve gotten used to masking up anyway. And I don’t mind getting a regular booster shot as well, whenever it’s readily available.

Even six months ago, when the pandemic was still at its peak, I felt silly wearing a mask in the States: people would stare at me as if I were crazy. And at the Los Angeles International Airport, where I got my early booster of the J&J vaccine, a pop-up vaccination site at the...

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Rant #7

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One thing’s for sure: this doesn’t apply to the faculty of the Sociology-Anthropology Department of the University of San Carlos, at least the current iteration of that department, where I used to study—proudly, I might add—as a sociology major. I heard from a very reliable source that majority of the USC So-An students and recent graduates are, in fact, Dutertards and Marcos loyalists who are campaigning for Bongbong and are even sharing fake news and sowing disinformation.

What’s worse is that this department has been merged with the History Department a few years ago, so now it’s known as DASH: the Department of Anthropology, Sociology, and History.

So you can’t teach your future anthropologists and sociologists critical thinking anymore, and you can’t even teach your aspiring historians proper history? You’ve been rendered useless then.

If the department can’t be true to its...

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Rant #6

It’s the Filipinos’ fixation on and reverence for politicians that has made them abusive and entitled.

For your child’s christening, guess who you are looking to get for his/her godparent? A politician. Si Konsehal or si Vice. (Why can’t your friend the schoolteacher be your child’s ninang? Because she doesn’t earn a lot. Wait, whoever decided that you should only get a rich ninong or ninang for your kid?) Or you’re proud because you know (or are friends with) the mayor’s son. Or whenever you throw a party, for a fiesta or a birthday or whatever, you need to invite Vice Gov as the guest of honor. Etc., etc., etc. You get my drift.

Politicians are supposed to be public servants; taxpayers pay them to do their jobs. We should not worship them. In fact, we should have a healthy disdain for them until they prove to us that they are not just in office to steal from the nation’s coffers.

...

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Rant #5

I know it’s unfair to allege impropriety on Pulse Asia. You can’t blame me, though. I’m not just talking about the presidential elections here. A while back they conducted a poll on Rodrigo Duterte’s popularity, this after the botched pandemic response and accusations of wholesale plunder in the DOH. And he scored a 91% approval rating? I’m not privy to their sampling methodology, but I think at the very least there is some distortion. It’s like the polls in the United States several years ago, Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton, all the polls were projecting Clinton to win by a landslide, but we all know what happened. And the polls didn’t just take into account the popular vote, but also the electoral-college vote. Those polling companies tout their time-tested methodologies, but maybe those methodologies need to be reexamined?

In this case, the proof of the pudding is in the winning...

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