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Of Brilliance and Blogs and Brainless Bureaucracy

Thanks for the link, Bernice. :) That was a great story. Like you, I couldn't stop 'til I had read it straight through. It's like the opposite of all those prettily written stories where nothing much happens and the only changes are almost imperceptibly subtle and the only insights are tentative, almost nonexistent ones. "The Last Words on Earth" is now my favorite short story so far this year.

One good link deserves another: here's an interesting article on blogging. It's also fuel for a future fiction story I'm working on. :) Thanks to roboppy for the link!

Back in the 1980's, when I attended high school, reading someone's diary would have been the ultimate intrusion. But communication was rudimentary back then. There were no cellphones, or answering machines; there was no ''texting,'' no MP3's or JPEG's, no digital cameras or file-sharing software; there was no World Wide Web -- none of the private-ish, public-ish, superimmediate forums kids today take for granted. If this new technology has provided a million ways to stay in touch, it has also acted as both an amplifier and a distortion device for human intimacy. The new forms of communication are madly contradictory: anonymous, but traceable; instantaneous, then saved forever (unless deleted in a snit). In such an unstable environment, it's no wonder that distinctions between healthy candor and ''too much information'' are in flux and that so many find themselves helplessly confessing, as if a generation were given a massive technological truth serum.

Finally, this is interesting too, but in a more annoying way. [Side comment: it's also kind of sad to read about Butch Dalisay in his capacity as University mouthpiece rather than as brilliant writer.] An excerpt:

On Sept. 4, 2002, Dr. James Philip Cruz, a young pediatrician working as chief resident at the Philippine General Hospital’s pedia ward, sat down at his desk, prayed and began writing an e-mail.

Cruz had just completed another long, tiring day at work attending to the poor children who were literally dropping off like flies before the eyes of the hospital staff. There was no epidemic or anything like that. It was just a “normal” day at the government-run PGH, the chronically cash-strapped, undermanned and overburdened hospital along Taft Avenue.

The doctor was inspired to write that day because he had witnessed yet another poor, malnourished, sick child die for lack of the most basic of antibiotics, because the parents could not afford the drugs. He was going to send the letter to four of his friends, whom he felt had the resources to spare for the children dying daily under the hospital staff’s care.

Philip’s heartfelt, plain-spoken appeal for anyone to come to the aid of the sick children at PGH was like the proverbial shot heard around the world. Everyone who had an e-mail address, it seemed, had received a copy of the poignant letter. Well-meaning people, business enterprises large and small and fund-raising organizations from all over began calling Philip’s personal cellular phone and the offices of the Give-A-Life Foundation, a private group that had adopted the PGH pedia ward as its beneficiary.

It was a fund-raiser like nothing anyone had ever seen hereabouts. Eventually, Philip’s letter would bring an estimated P30 million in donations to the pediatric ward of the government hospital — and much-needed aid, comfort and new leases on life to the thousands of impoverished children who rely solely on PGH for free medical care.

. . .

Today, Dr. James Philip Cruz is in career limbo. Despite his having completed his four-year residency more than a year ago, he cannot practice medicine as a full-pledged pediatrician.

The reason is simple: PGH, the hospital of the University of the Philippines College of Medicine, will not give him a clearance certifying that he has completed his residency training.

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Best described as a Murakami detox support group, we're all fans of the quirkily brilliant Japanese author, Haruki Murakami, and writing about such things as films we've seen recently and books we're reading (not to mention meandering musings on the man's work, of course) helps us to pass time while waiting for the next book from Haruki-baby.

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