Politics and friendships in the Time of Social Media

So I have not written for a long time… yet again! They say a good writter needs to have some level of angst inside to produce good works but I guess too much angst can be debilitating as well. Anyway, I digress from my extemporaneous-speech-worthy title. I can just imagine picking up this title from the jar and being given 1 minute to compose my thoughts before I launch into my speech. But, that was a different life, when I was young and the world was my oyster… yet I digress again!

So, onto the topic chosen.

Social media has become ubiquitous in our present lives just as the smart phones have become akin to extensions to our hands. We have become a society that lives in both real and virtual worlds. Social media has made it possible for us to connect with people miles away and in different time zones. Sharing of information is just a matter of nano seconds now compared to days if not weeks by ordinary post. People across the globe can be influenced and galvanised into ideology or action with the use of social media. People, like myself, can share my two cents’ worth of opinion to the world. Social media is a good tool depending on how it is being wielded and who is doing it.

In the last Philippines Presidential election, social media played a big role in galvanizing the people of 7,107 islands and of at least 120 dialects. Social media managed to challenge the biases of mainstream media as the people themselves can post live streams of the actual events rather than listen to or read the news that have already been slanted to the media’s own biases. The people’s decisions were no longer influenced by what is on the tv or radio. There was suddenly an alternate way of knowing of what is really going on. Social media made it possible for a mayor with no real political machinery to win by unprecedented huge margin.

As I said earlier, social media can only be as good or bad as the user. The one advantage and disadvantage of social media, our thoughts and opinions will be broadcasted to the public instantaneously. Politics, just like religion, is polarising in its nature. People will always have to take a stand in politics. Even the act of abstaining is taking a stand. This is where social media can become a virtual field of landmines. People can take a personal affront to opinions or posts shared. That is one of the effects of sharing an opinion unfortunately. But there is also an unspoken agreement in social media decorum or etiquette that is expected which are:

a. Everybody is free to post their opinions

b. We can agree to disagree on things

c. We can have a friendly reasonable discussion on the topic on my wall as long as there will be no name calling or expletives

d. If you want to throw your toys out of the pram (aka throwing a tantrum), please post your meltdown on your own wall.

e. There is the unfollow button to click if the posts are annoying or offending you.

I have followed the above rules in my use of social media. I have clicked on the unfollow button several times so I avoid irritation and I also do not lose friends over opposing opinions.

Having a meltdown in someone else’s wall is like following somebody to their own home so you can have a tantrum in that person’s home because you had a disagreement on something. I know that this sounds ridiculous but that is exactly how it feels when someone is having a tantrum on my own fb wall. Gentle ribbing is ok  and I normally can roll with the punches thrown. I understand that that there will always be differing opinions but when reactions are incindiary, I sometimes just erase their posts. That is my way of showing them the door in the virtual world then click on the unfollow button.

With the recent Presidential elections for USA, the whole world is still reeling from it and trying to re-orient itself to its axis. It is indeed polarising not just for the citizens of USA but for the whole world. People fell out with their friends on social media because of the results. Social media has made it possible for all your virtual friends to know  simultaneously your opinion once you have decided to post it online. 

In the next couple of months, UK will be going to the polls again. Social Media is now starting to fill with election related articles. I do not shun these things on my fb feed. I actually welcome and read them (- both sides )so I get a balanced view on things. ( although, I have always be a socialist in my ideology). I would like to enourage everyone to read up for themselves too. It is our responsibility as citizens to read on what we are voting for and not just be swayed by who talks the loudest, longest or more charismatically. Learn to be savvy on determining on who is telling us half- truths. How do you do this? Educate yourself on what is being discussed. We cannot blame the politicians for telling us half-truths because that is their tactic to get votes. We can only blame ourselves for the ignorance in our own votes. 

Last night, my friends and I were talking about the coming election. We are of differing opinions but we respected each other’s opinion. We were respectfully listening to each other and agreed to disagree. No tantrums were thrown. 

In the last referrendum, a good percentage of people did not vote then cried foul over the results. It is my belief that those who did not vote do not get to complain regarding the results because they lose their right to do so when they actively opted not to vote.  Those basically who did not vote, gave up their right to have a say and decided to go with the majority, hoping that the majority will make an educated vote. Errr… no, it does not work that way. 

I am not here to convince you who to vote for. I just want to remind you of your power as a citizen in helping steer the future of this country. Educate yourselves. Read up. Register. Vote. 

And our opinions will differ and for sure social media will become a virtual field of landmines. We just need to remember that when the election is over, we will still need to interact with our friends, colleagues, family and loved ones so let’s have a good debate going without attacking the person airing his or her opinion. Let us not lose friendships over politics. 

So… let the campaign begin!

 

NB I started writing this last November (hence the introductory paragraph) but I got interrupted and never finished this until now. With the new election looming, I have decided to finish it as it seems to be relevant to the times again.  

 

 

 

The Game


There is a game, so I am told

That people play in love

Do it well and you’ll win

What are the rules, I ask

Go hot and cold

Let them wait and stew

Be mean to keep them keen

To always keep the upperhand

Being earnest is a big no

Don’t show how you feel
Keep your cards close to your heart

Or else out in the cold you go

But I am inept in this game

Taught as a child to love without care

Show love and care sincerely

Be bold , say it loud

When heart is bursting

Patience, tolerance,  kindness , comfort

Thoughtfulness, faithfulness, and generosity

Ways to show love and care

In books  and I hold these ideal

In real life, it makes one a fool

Wearing heart on your sleeves

Does not make you win hearts, it seem

It makes you lose each time

Hurt, unloved,and unwanted is all there is

For one who does not know how to play

The game

Of Tears


Happiness, laughter, sadness

Emotions that produce water in our eyes

Voluntarily or involuntarily they roll

Conveying emotions in the soul

When in mirth they come

Clap our hands and show to friends

Alas! If sorrow is the source

Comfort in our loved ones we seek

But if love unappreciated breaks the heart

Roll down they come unbidden

Amor propio forces a plastered smile

As heart breaks of love unreturned

In the rain and isolation 

Freely welcome the stinging pain

Of tears

The colour of You

Whilst most kids will be gravitating towards either blue or pink as part of culturally accepted gender stereotyping, I preferred neither and was more than happy to like their combination colour –  Purple! (guess I was already stubborn and a rebel even then) Though I can never carry clothes coloured purple, lilac or violet as they drain my colour, my favourite things will be a shade of purple. My favourite ice cream is Ube and it is coolured purple too.  My favourite beddings was one with purple hearts on it. And yes, I love the song Purple Rain too.

Then I became a teenager and my colour preferrence changed to red. I cannot remember whether it was a conscious decision but my eyes always stray to anything red. It has cone to a point that one of my close friends would exclaim, ‘Red again?!’ each time I hold a top or dress coloured red. Currently, my phone case is red ( and it is not the first time) and my tablet cover is also red. My winter coat is red – for which I have been called ‘Nona of the North’. So if you ask me now what my favourite colour is, my automatic answer will be red!

Going through my drawers and my recent clothes purchases, I noted a trend and a shift in the spectrum! I have more navy blue new tops and dresses than red! It got me thinking – Have I switched yet again? I now have to make a conscious check before purchasing anything that it is not in blue again! Perhaps, the change has something to do with the fact that I wear red at work all the time so I cannot be wearing same colour outside of work too. Then again, I like blue skies, blue flowers, blue eyes, etc.,

I guess our colour choices and any choice for that matter will be fluid and variable with time. Our experience and interactions will influence our preferrences. What was true 10 years ago may no longer be true today. As our Social Studies teacher told us in 2nd year high school, ‘the only constant in this world is change’.

So I am not going to sweat it that my wardrobe is now mostly blue. Who knows? I might decide tomorrow that green will be my favourite colour. Life is full of colours anyway and there is no rule that says to choose only one.

Baskers and the Songs of our Lives

One of the things I like about going to Kingston town centre is the fact that there will be baskers aplenty. At the very least, there will be one singing his/ her heart out and on weekends, there will be at least 3 with just approximately 50 feet distance between them.

The thing with baskers is that they  will be singing songs that stimulates our subconcious and take us back to yesteryears. Ok, this afternoon there were two guys basking along the main town centre. The first one was singing ‘Michelle’ by Paul McCartney. He was doing so well that I had to stop and and watch. He looks of Oriental descent and listening to him made me think that my friends and sister who are fond of K-drama would have loved him. Just a few steps from him was another basker singing, ‘Thinking Out Loud’ by Ed Sheeran. Both of them put a smile on my face as they both brought happy memories. The first one made me think of those lazy afternoons that Mama tries to get me to nap whilst listening to Beatles or Barry Manilow or Air Supply. The second one? Well, it is one of my favourite songs in 2015 to the point that I was declaring it to be my ‘wedding song’ -( as if that will happen! )

For somebody who claims to be and in reality is most likely is tonedeaf, I do love music. Whilst there are no singers in our family, music does fill our house. Mama will always have her casette tape of her favourite music playing until my older sisters grew up and taken control of the radio and cassette and vinyl player. We got Pop music blaring most of weekend- Menudo, Madonna, Cindy Lauper and Michael Jackson comes to mind.  We also have U2, Pearl Jam and Red Hot Chilli Peppers on the airwaves. When I became a teenager and there was no one else who can dictate what I listen to ( all older siblings have left the nest!), I became a Rock chick – Guns N’Roses, Bon Jovi, and Poison were my favourites. I never got into Black Sabbath or Metallica though but I do love live bands. Listening to Y101 countdown on Sundays whilst studying was the norm for me. As I grow older, it was more of Katie Melua, Il Divo, Michael Bubblé type of music that I tend to like.  Jazz and accoustics have become standard. I guess my music taste has to grow up too.

Consciously or unconsciously, we all have a playlist as background to our lives.  A few strums of strings can elicit the emotions, smells and colours of a memory of our lives. So I am thankful for these hardworking baskers as they help bring back the songs of our lives… that somehow, somewhere, these songs have become part of who we are.

So happy listening… ‘Hey Jude’ is now playing 😊

In the Garden


In the garden…

I sit and dream with a smile

Thinking of the day we watch the flowers bloom

Immersing in the beauty and wonder

Of a lovingly tended garden

Roses, tulips, daisies, daffodils, Cherry blossoms

They bloom under the lovely sun

Like the flowering plants I wait patiently

For your promises to flourish

For you to finally find this lone flower blooming solely for you

For our hearts to beat together like butterfly wings

Filled with hope, happiness, and love

So patiently I wait here

In the garden

Love Is…


They say…

Love is destiny

Love is written in the stars

Love is connection between two souls

Love is the energy of the universe

Love is the reason to live

Love is an uncontrollable force

Love is without reason or rhyme

Love is crossing borders and boundaries

Love is forgiving wholeheartedly

Love is without conditions

Love is giving without expecting return

Love is the colours of sunshine and rainbow

Love is the Music In our hearts

Love is staying together through thick and thin

Love is dreaming another’s dream

Love is universal language that knows no boundaries

Love is infinite

Love is a lot of things
I say…,

Love is a choice

And my choice is you

Sunrise, Moonrise

missingleton

image

At the crack of dawn
Fingers of light reaching out
Birds tweeting their day songs
Heralding a new day
A clean slate for 24 hours
All possibilities and opportunities
Filling heart and mind with a smile
I thought of you at sunrise

Stars twinkling into existence
Fighting off the invading darkness
Reflection of the hours gone
Opportunities taken, opportunities missed
Time to unwind and relax
A reflective light brings light to the shadowed world
A prayer said, head on the pillow
I dream of you at moonrise

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