Archive for June 10th, 2012

Philippines in shock over Pacquiao loss

The Philippines was silenced Sunday after boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao was stunned by American challenger Timothy Bradley, losing his first bout in seven years.

From the chaotic slums to the swanky sports bars of Manila, Filipinos looked on in horror as Bradley ended Pacquiao’s 15-fight winning streak and seized his World Boxing Organization welterweight title.

Judge Jerry Roth scored the bout 115-113 for Pacquiao, while C.J. Ross and Duane Ford both saw it 115-113 for Bradley, even though it appeared Pacquiao hurt Bradley throughout the fight — particularly with his straight left hand.

Pacquiao fell to 54-4-2 with 38 wins inside the distance, suffering his first defeat since he dropped a 12-round unanimous decision to Erik Morales in March 2005.

“We were robbed. Everybody saw that Bradley was hit more,” said Raphael Raboy, 37, a laborer who was among hundreds who watched a free live telecast of the bout in the suburban Marikina district.

Raboy and his friends left the area shoulders hunched while the partisan crowd was shocked into silence.

An American firefighter on holiday in Manila said he had counted out Bradley in the early rounds, but thought he regained his footing in the later rounds.

“Thank you Manny. Let me have your coldest drinks now to celebrate,” he said, after claiming his winnings from a bet at Manila’s Oarhouse pub.

President Benigno Aquino III sought to console the public, stressing that Pacquiao remained a treasured sporting icon despite the loss.

“Manny remains our champion and the nation’s national fist,” Aquino spokeswoman Abigail Valte said in a statement.

“Despite losing his WBO welterweight belt against Timothy Bradley, our support for him has not wavered.’

Bradley improved to 29-0 with 12 wins inside the distance.

Left-hander Pacquiao has translated his sports fame into huge riches, a movie career and election to parliament.

‘Absolutely yes,’ says Pacquiao on winning fight vs Bradley

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao believed that he won the fight against American Timothy Bradley.

“Absolutely, yes,” said Pacquiao after one of the commentators asked whether he won the bout.

Bradley wrested the Welterweight title from Pacquiao in a controversial split decision that stunned boxing fans worldwide.

On the importance of “No”

“Hitler may have lost the war on the battlefield, but he ended up winning something,” says M. Halter. “Because in the 20th century, men created the concentration camp, resuscitated torture, and taught their fellow men that it is possible to close one’s eyes to the misfortunes of others.”

The most important words in any language are small words. “Yes,” for example. Love. God. These are words that are easy to utter, and they fill in empty spaces in our world. However, there is one word – also a small one – that we find difficult to say: “No”.

And we see ourselves as generous, understanding, and polite. Because “no” is considered to be cursed, egoistic, not at all spiritual.

We have to be careful here. There are moments when we say “yes” to others and in fact are saying “no” to ourselves.

All the great men and women in the world have been people who, rather than say “yes”, said a very big NO to everything that did not fit their ideal of solidarity and growth.

We may often be called intolerant, but it is important to open up and fight against everything and all circumstances if we see injustice, manipulation or cruelty. No-one can admit that, after all is said and done, Hitler set a pattern that can be repeated because people are incapable of protesting.

So scars are necessary when we fight against Absolute Evil, or when we have to say “no” to all those who, sometimes with the best of intentions, try to impede our journey towards dreams.

Filipino English

How good are we in English to communicate with people across our national borders? Or perhaps even among ourselves? A quick online research led me to two contrasting takes. Half-empty or half-full?

The blogs are lately abuzz with news that the Philippines has topped the 2012 list of the world’s best in Business English proficiency. It’s the only country-out of 76 countries whose 108,000 workers in global companies were assessed through an online test by the GlobalEnglish Corporation-that scored 7.11 and qualified our fluency at the Business English Intermediate level.

On a scale of one to ten-with one indicating an ability to read and communicate using only simple questions and statements and ten representing an ability to communicate and collaborate in the workplace like a native English speaker-the average test score was 4.15, down 7 percent from 4.46 the previous year.

In other words, our BEI level is “within range of a high proficiency that indicates an ability to take an active role in business discussions and perform relatively complex tasks.”

A Manila Times editorial even bragged that “the Philippines is supposed to have taken over India as the world’s primary hub for call centers and BPOs.”

GlobalEnglish Corporation is a California-based technology company that provides on-demand enterprise solutions to support global business performance through effective Business English communication. It found out that most of the “workers tested understand only basic information.”

Yet, two years ago, the Christian Science Monitor noted that Filipino call-center agents, “chatting on their headsets to inquiring English-speaking customers half a world away, were supposed to provide the answer to the Philippines’ economy. They could be drawn from the country’s famously large pool of English speakers to tap into the lucrative offshoring and outsourcing (O&O) market.”

That pool of English speakers turns out to be large but shallow. Says CSM, “Employers in the industry say they now have to reject 95 of 100 job applicants because their English proficiency is inadequate.”

The respected US newspaper quoted an unidentified foreign O&O manager who said “I believe that every Filipino who wants to work in a call center and whose English is good enough to work in a call center is already working in a call center.”

According to the CSM, the decline in English has more general causes. Among other things, as the economy has underperformed, so has education. About 43 percent of students finish high school and only 2 percent finish college. A Department of Education study in 2004 showed that only 1 in 5 in public high school teachers was proficient in English. A case of the blind leading the blind?

Long-term foreign residents say that in the late 1960s it was possible to converse in English with almost any Filipino that had attended elementary school. They say it is now hard to find ordinary Filipinos under the age of 40 who can speak English confidently.

I agree that as far as call center agents go, Filipinos have a good command of English, especially the conversational American English, which comes bundled with expletives when they converse with their customers.
But that fluency becomes something else when I complain to tech support on some glitch with my Wi-Fi connection. Thank God, I’m a Filipino who can fluently converse in our national language, Filipino, to the Cebuano staff on the opposite end of the line. What’s a national language after all?

I won’t, however, knock it with our decline in English proficiency. Just ask the Japanese, South Koreans and the Taiwanese and even mainland Chinese who come here in droves to study Filipino English.

Save for devastated Japan after World War II, the backward, rural economies of South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, and South Korea have far outstripped us, which in the 1950s was the second largest economy in Asia. In these countries, they talk to one another in their national languages.