dakdakerong pinoy

A collection of opinions from major newspapers in Manila about anything, everything. I do not claim credit for most of the articles, images and opinions featured here. They’re funny, interesting, irritating, but I can’t claim that I own the rights to all of them or anything. All content is copyrighted to its respectful owners. If you own rights to any of these opinions, articles and images here, and you don’t want them to appear, please contact me for prompt removal. Thank you.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Feeling poor may make you sick

Feeling poor may make you sick

The results of a recent survey on poverty and hunger by the Social Weather Station (SWS) provoked a rancorous debate in the media.

SWS has been doing this survey every quarter since 1998. Respondents are asked to locate themselves on a socioeconomic ladder. They are also asked in the vernacular whether they have experienced moderate or severe hunger in the past three months.

This survey was done between September 24 and October 4, the period when the economy was on the mend. SWS reported that fewer respondents—51 percent—rated themselves mahirap compared to 59 percent in the previous quarter.

But, as usual, columnists and politicians found fault with the self-rating method. They forget that this should not be used as the only measure, but in conjunction with quantitative data to give a fuller picture of the national condition.

I do not intend to join the debate on methods and intentions except to say that I’m convinced that SWS’s method are scientific and its intentions beyond suspicion.Instead I’ll try to point out the effect of prolonged experience of poverty on a person’s health.

The poor, at least statistically, are less healthy than the more fortunate. For obvious reasons. Their food is inadequate, their surroundings are insalubrious and polluted and they do not have enough money for health care.

But feeling poor, or being made to feel poor, is a more insidious threat to a person’s well-being even if he or she has some means to pay for health care.

Let me explain. The human body is superbly adapted to deal with sudden stress. Those who have been in a fight or flight situation experience a surge of energy. In physiologic terms, this is due to the release of glucose from the body’s reserves, an increase in the heart rate to deliver the glucose to the muscles. If the stress persists, functions like digestion, tissue repair, reproduction all shut down. The immune system is put on alert to stop pathogens that might enter the blood stream. All the senses, including memories in the limbic area of the brain, become sharper. But the toll on the body is very high. Exhaustion follows.

There are scientists who think that poverty, especially long-term poverty, is a stressor. The feeling of hopelessness affects the homeostatic balance of the body. This kind of psychosocial stress could bring on respiratory and heart ailment, depression and gastro-intestinal disease, among others.

The best-known study of poverty as a stressor was done at the University of Nottingham in the UK by Richard Wilkinson. His 15-year study showed that income inequality predicted a number of health issues.

The correlation between income disparity and poor health was particularly marked in the US where income inequality is highest in the developed world.

Wilkinson’s hypothesis found some experimental support in the work of David H. Abbott at the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center. By putting monkeys in a subordinate position in a hierarchical environment and at the same time withdrawing rewards from them, Abbott was able to approximate roughly the human phenomenon of income inequality. He found that the deprived primates had a higher resting level of a stress hormone, an indicator of deteriorating health.

Wilkinson’s definition of poverty is much broader than just lack of money. Among the working poor, he discovered that being bossed around, made to do repetitive work, travel long hours brought on illnesses that otherwise would have been less frequent.

The other line of investigation into the connection between inequality and health is being carried out in Harvard University by Ichiro Kawachi and Bruce Kennedy.

Their study is built around the concept of social capital. This includes a number of factors but the most important are the levels of trust and support in a community.

Using a complex statistical method called path analysis, Kawachi demonstrated quite persuasively that the route from income inequality to poor health runs through chronic suspicion of other people’s motives, absence of family support and the indifference of neighbors. These predicted self-reported statistically significant bad health.

Studies on psychosocial factors as an explanation of poor health are potentially valuable for national policies.The SWS has amassed considerable information on self-rated poverty. Perhaps one of our universities could begin looking at the nexus between feeling poor and poor health.Instead of giving the SWS results only a political interpretation, economists and public health specialists could collaborate on an investigation of a psychosocial stressor.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Controversial pictures on Filipino blog get mixed reactions

By Erwin OlivaINQ7.net
Posted date: November 03, 2006

Filipino blogger Bryanboy has angered Filipino Catholic Christians this week after posting a controversial photo in his blog on October 30, 2006.
The photos featured a British man doing a pose in Bryanboy fashion beside a statue of Jesus Christ on a cross.

His post generated mixed reactions on the Internet, including an online petition that labeled the gay Filipino blogger an "antichrist." The petition was addressed to the Catholic Church, and it urged Bryanboy to remove offending pictures on his website.

"He is a disgrace to the Filipino catholic community," the online petition read.
Another popular Filipino blogger Abe Olandres was first to break the news on the online petition in reaction to Bryanboy's latest blog posting.

"I have nothing against Bryanboy and I don't know him personally (though we had some email exchanges before and he occasionally leaves comments on my blog ) but I guess the pictures he posted are kinda offensive to the Catholic Church," Olandres added.

Olandres said this is not the first time he got email from people complaining about Bryanboy and the contents of his blog.

"But it's not my blog nor do I have any control over it. We're on thin ice here," he wrote in his blog.

Another blog, called Political Pinoy, also focused on Bryanboy's latest posting.
"From the readers’ reaction, those who mostly condemned the blog entry are Filipinos and those who couldn't care less are foreigners. If this is about Islam, I wonder if Bryanboy can even strut his stuff out even in their neighborhood. My point is that there should be respect for every religion and culture," the blog read.

Some Filpino bloggers have pointed out, however, that there are far more offensive images and photos of Jesus Christ that had been posted on some blogs by Filipinos.

One reaction to Olandres' blog provided a link to Man Blog, which posted a parody on images of Jesus Christ that have been spreading on the Internet.

Another blog, called Captain's Log, also posted a YouTube video of another parody on Jesus Christ but apparently did not get the same reaction.

A search of "Bryanboy" on Technorati will produce other numerous reactions to the Bryanboy blog and the online petition.

One blogger called "Buwayahman" said that the online petition against Bryanboy was short of curtailing his freedom of speech.

The Baratillo@Cubao blog found this recent controversy amusing.
"All Souls Day has always been associated with the dead and things that go bump in the night. It just seems so appropriate that this bit of news should say boo in the Pinoy blogosphere. The Ghouls and Spooks who authored this petition, last time I looked there were eight who signed, seem to be (a) sipping too much witches' brew, or (b) overdid the dancing naked bit before a full moon, or (c) just in it generate interest. And to a moderate degree it has. Whatever the reason - psychotic, demonic possession, mammon (greed), or just plain 'hobgobliness', it was for all intent and purposes entertainment for Halloween. Anyway that is what I think: A case of on-line trick or treat," the blog read.