Sunday, September 27, 2015

Don’t Fall into the Modus Operandi of Opportunists and Rogues

Dr Abe V Rotor
Beware. Don’t fall victim to impostors, opportunists and rogues. These are ten tips to protect yourself and other people.

1.     Have presence of mind always.
2.     Don’t be too confident and trusting.
3.     Avoid unlikely places and hour of the day.
4.     It is good to be with somebody or group you know.
5.     Distance yourself from suspecting characters.
6.     Dress simply and leave your valuables at home.  
7.     Screen and limit access of personal information about you.
8.     Be prepared for contingencies.  Be security-conscious always.  
9.     Keep emergency phone numbers and addresses ready at fingertips.
10.   Attend seminars and workshops on safety and security.

I am writing this article from fresh memory of an incident in which I am a victim.  I must admit I violated Rules 1, 2, 3 and 7 in the above list. 

First I was too trusting and confident in welcoming a “new found relative” – one Mario B. Rotor, incoming president of “The Leagues of Young Educators of  Regions I and II.” (See hand written note of the impostor.) Through  phone call, my wife endorsed this person to see me at UST where I was holding classes. (He had introduced himself on the phone, first to my daughter, then to my wife, picking up information in the process.)

Second, with this added information beefing up his readings and researches  about me, he was ready to meet me finally – “his successful ‘uncle’ whom he had been longing to meet personally.”  When I met him he practically knew me from head to foot, giving me a genuine impression about him as a new found nephew. I remember Mark Twain’s “Tom Sawyer” and “Huckleberry Finn”.  Quite similar to the story of the swindlers in these novels, he started greeting me “uncle”, with music in his voice and familiarity in ambiance.

The third rule I broke is that I was totally unsuspecting.  And this is when opportunists strike.  He came on a Saturday, just after noon time, met me at the entrance of the graduate school,  greeted the security guard and everyone else, with profuse courtesy. I led him to my classroom where I was going to give final examination.  He waited until I finished giving the instruction and questionnaire. I entertained him at the corridor. 

“Thank you for accepting our invitation to be our inducting officer and guest of honor,” he said, handing me the invitation, which has yet to be printed. “I’ll come back to give you the final copy, with your permission to print your name.” He told me how happy our relatives in the province are about me, that he is thankful to auntie (my wife) for arranging for this meeting.

“Why it’s an honor!”  I answered.  Who would not like to meet friends from both the Ilocos and Cagayan Valley where I was assigned for many years when I was regional director of then National Grains Authority. “I am sorry for the short notice,” he said.  It will be at the National Defense College Auditorium, Camp Aguinaldo, at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, which means the following day.

Now here is the climax of the modus operandi.  I offered him even only the cost of my food in the affair.  He refused.  “You are my guest,” he insisted. “Just donate a trophy,” he said. “Or the cost of it,” which I gave.  He told me he had to rush to Manila Bulletin. “I’ll see you there, uncle,” he said and  left.   

There was no induction ceremony, and the phone number he left is the operator’s at Camp Aguinaldo.  I came to know it only after he had left. When I reached home my wife and daughter exclaimed, “We thought he is the son of Vicente, your cousin.  His name is Mario B. Rotor, a teacher.”

Except for his extreme feminine nature – bodily and by his voice – he could pass for a polished conversationalist, quick in wit and in scribbling notes. He spoke Ilocano perfectly with proper intonation.  We talked in pure Ilocano throughout. He is around 5’ 4”, slim, kayumanggi, stoops a little, shoulders are rather high, and has rather sharp eyes, bony checks and prominent jaw, nose and ears (typical features of Rotors and Valdezes, so I thought).  I was looking at my uncle Manuel and Ismael in their younger days, except that he could be mistaken for a woman by his voice, even on the phone. (He called up UST twice, I received the second.)

I am relating this story to warn potential victims of this impostor.  What if the victim is not in his home ground?  Or a neophyte in the city?  His original plan according to my wife was to invite me outside.  He suggested a fast food store near Dapitan, or anywhere outside UST.

Reading the Person through Handwriting Analysis

As I went over the notes this impostor wrote, I wondered if handwriting analysis or graphology can really tell the true character of a person, and thus
tell us whether to avoid or welcome him, more so to be properly warned.  I know that graphology is among the tools used in the recruitment process administered by certain companies in the US and Europe, but is it sufficient to give us a keyhole view of hidden motives, other general personality characteristics?    

It is interesting to note the following features I observed on the impostor’s handwriting which are as follows: (See reproduction)

1.     His writing lies perfectly in between lines, the words rarely touching the lower or upper bars. (Sign of independence, cleverness, non-conformist)
2.     Heavy writing.  You can feel the back of the paper like Braille  (serious, intense, violent tendency, risk taker).
3.     Loops of letters f, g, p, y vary. A large loop is a sign of openness; while tight and sharp pointed loops show the opposite character.  Lack of “tail” after each word means an inward, silent character, but the sharp and deep downward strokes (f, p, t, l, I) show emotional intensity. 
4.     Ambivalence is also shown by the inconsistent writing pattern,  and inconsistent type and size of letters. There are letters, which cannot be immediately deciphered, or are missing.  (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde syndrome) 
5.     The dot of letter i, lies too far towards the right.  No dot is exactly above the letter i.   The letter t lacks the usual cross line at the top; instead it is cut at the middle either by a short dash or line that connects the nearby letter. Note wide spaces between words, large margins, and empty lines. (procrastination, loafer, tamad
6.     Writing has a feminist touch, which explain his personality.

I have always been fascinated by graphology since college days and through books in the library and bookstores I have learned a number of basic signs associated with talents, tendencies, etc.  I must admit that as a field in psychology, graphology faces many views and controversies (like Freudian and Jungian approaches in psychology), but with computers today, this new science can be developed into a potent tool in personality analysis.  I remember our teachers in elementary and high school who used to remind us in class that handwriting is the mirror of ourselves.

A Plea for Help as Modus Operandi

 I lived at Don Antonio Height 2 at our family residence way back in the seventies when the area was still sparsely populated.  One late evening I was awakened by a pleading sound, and when I looked from the veranda I saw a man apparently bleeding from wounds, leaning under a street lamp across  our house.  He was groaning and repeatedly pleading, “Dalhin ninyo ako sa ospital,” 

Our neighbor was also alerted.  As we had coded security communication, we cautiously observed the “victim”.  We sensed something wrong.  Apparently he was only acting. When he saw that we were armed and did not open our gates, he started walking away. There at the nearest curb he joined his companions, a  jeepload of tough guys, apparently hold uppers. 

After the incident the whole neighborhood arrived at a theory that the “wounded” person acted as a decoy.  In the process of being helped, his companions rush in, and declare a hold up.  This “pasok bahaymodus operandi is not new and has been modified into other varieties, such as  “akyat bahay”.  In this case the gang takes advantage of houses when the  residents are on vacation.

This mutual defense strategy proved to be an effective deterrent of a would-be crime. You can modify this according to your situation.  One is by having  coded night light or alarm.  The rule is that, “Do not lift the drawbridge or  open the fort gate,” so to speak, if you are living in a pioneer territory.  

Be Sure Your Car Doors are Locked

My cousin had a co-teacher at Ramon Magsaysay High School Manila who fought a hold upper.  She showed me both her hands bearing the scars of multiple wounds from knife. “My husband was also hurt,” she said.  “Thanks God we are still alive.”

This is her story.  Every morning the husband drives Remy, my cousin’s co-teacher, to Ramon Magsaysay before proceeding to his office. He would pick her up in the afternoon. For years this became a routine.

One morning while waiting for the green light at an intersection along Quezon Avenue, an unsuspecting man passing as a pedestrian suddenly opened the car’s rear door and occupied the backseat.  With a fan knife he declared a holdup. Resisting the threat, the husband fought.  The wife tried to help the husband. The struggle attracted passersby and pedestrians. The hold upper escaped, leaving the wounded couple that was immediately brought to the hospital.

Lesson:  Be sure to lock all doors of your car.  Roll up the windows to a level no one from outside can unlock and open the doors. When parking, leave the car immediately after locking the doors.  Be sure to put on the wheel or engine lock. Don’t linger around, more so stay inside and sleep while the aircon is on. You are an easy target of hold uppers.

When opening your garage when going out specially in the early morning, and upon arriving in the evening, look around first for any suspicious people around.  My friend, director Ruel Montenegro, lost his GSR Lancer this way.  His driver did not resist the hold upper who simply took the car from the garage.  It was never found. 

What rules did the couple violate?  First, they were not security-conscious. And second, they lacked the presence of mind at that time.  This is often the case  when we are preoccupied with routine activities. Again, as in my case they were too trusting and confident no one would harm them. In this civilized world we are still living in a jungle – a jungle made by man himself.

x     x     x

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Homesite and Home Garden Models (A to Z)

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School on Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM, 8 to 9 Evening Class, Monday to Friday 

Home gardening is fun, exercise, and source of food and medicine - and income. Study these models and find out which ones are applicable in your area. Share your experience with the members of the family, school and your community.

Patola (Luffa acutangula) on trellis. Home garden project at Barangay Valencia, San Juan, MM

hese gardening models have been developed from studies and observations of successful projects locally and abroad. They serve as guide to participants and listeners of Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (School-on-Air) to help them in their projects, particularly in times of food scarcity, such as the present situation caused by the El Niño phenomenon.

But even during normal times, these models are useful to gardening enthusiasts, especially children and senior citizens who find this hobby highly rewarding to health and leisure, and as a source of livelihood, notwithstanding. Those who are participating in projects in food production and environmental beautification, such as the Clean and Green Movement, and Green Revolution projects, will find these models similarly valuable.

One however, can modify them according to the peculiarity of his place, and in fact, he can combine those models that are compatible so as to develop and integrate them into a larger and more diversified plan.

One who is familiar with the popular Filipino composition Bahay Kubo, can readily identify the plants mentioned therein with those that are cited in these models. And in his mind would appear an imagery of the scenario in which he can fit these models accordingly.

Here is a plan of a Homesite - an ideal integrated garden around a home in a rural setting. Compare this with Bahay Kubo. Update it. Innovate it according to your concept, situation and needs. Allow innovations as long as these do not lose the essence of the plan. You can even expand the area, adding more features to it.

In effect, this Homesite model becomes a model farm, a Homestead one that has economic and ecological attributes that characterize the concept of sustainable productivity cum aesthetics and educational values.

I invite all followers and readers of this Blog to adopt these models in their own capacities wherever they reside - in the rural or urban area - and whenever they find them feasible, and thus join the movement which PBH has been carrying on in the last twenty years or so.

It is for this nationwide campaign that PBH has earned, among other programs, the Oscar Florendo Award for Developmental Journalism, indeed a tribute to all those who have participated, and are going to participate, in the pursuit of the noble objectives of this campaign.

Keep track with the development of this project, learn more about its practical methods and techniques, and participate in the open forum of the radio program. Most important of all, share with the millions of listeners your experience with your project on how you made it a successful and rewarding one. Which therefore, makes you a resource participant to Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Global Warming is Creating a New Art Movement (Part 1)

Paintings by Dr Abe V Rotor
Coral Reef Deforestation  

When the sea rises and buries the shoals and sandbars,
the sea grass and coral reef;
when the sun bears hard on the fringes of sea and land,
requiem hums eerie and grief.   
Oh, Art - what gift do you bring in suffering and lament,
but catharsis however brief. 

Mountain Desertification 

When the wind hot and dry sweeps over hills and mountains
all day long, freezing cold in the night;
and rain after a long absence brings gales and hurricanes;   
the landscape turns into a pitiful sight.  

What movement can a artist recall in the long history of art? 
too far out romanticism and classicism;
realism lost to the lens, impressionism to varied abstract art -  
welcome Dali-Miro'-Ernst surrealism.  ~

Global Warming is Creating a New Art Movement (Part 3)

Paintings by Dr Abe V Rotor
Onslaught of the Glowing Armyworms 
Armyworms are so-called because of their gregarious, voracious and they suddenly appear and attack. When food is scarce and environmental conditions unfavorable, they become wild and uncontrollable. Such is the tendency of a bandwagon, building up into a mob.
They come in an army strong in spring, 
rising from quiescence with the first rain,
greed and abandon the rule of their game
spoiling all rules, free- for-all, and insane.

But only when cornered the biologcal
instinct reigns, survival the ultimate aim,
where nature lost its order, its pristine,
by man craving for wealth, power, fame.  

How similar a pattern, could it be the genes
dictating? Creatures behaving like beast,
and man in neither in need nor in plenty, 
fights in army whether in war and peace. ~   
Degeneration of the Roses

Global warming has caused many problems in plants and animals. Hybrids are among the first to succumb, while the native species or varieties are the last. Their survival secret? Natural resistance built through countless generations in the open. As a rule. hybrids can't be left alone - they will revert to man-directed lines which are unstable and uncertain. The failure of science is when its progeny is abandoned or misguided.

"My luv is a red, red rose," in romanticism gone,
"Paper roses," a song of love lost and lament;
and Gertrude Stein, wanting of the right word, 
said, "A rose is a rose is a rose," is truly meant.  

The rose is very sick, not only in social norms,
it is sick with the loss of its indigenous genes,
it is sick with the pollution of its genetic pool,
manipulated to suit the market by all means.

While the whole world grows hotter each day;
Carbon in air traps heat; it too, turns into acid 
falling as toxic rain, dousing the red in the rose.
Where have all the roses gone, their lovely bid? ~  


Friday, September 18, 2015

Rare Philippine Plants: Kamagong, Indigo, and Gogo

Dr Abe V Rotor

 Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class Monday to Friday

Kamagong, the wood of mabolo (Diospyros discolor) is perhaps the hardest wood on earth. This is followed by the exquisite black wood, ebony or balatinao. Old wooden houses have stood for decades because of their sturdy posts made of solid molave or sagat (Vitex parviflora). Wood planks that make the broad, shiny floor of Spanish houses in Vigan are made of molave, guijo (Shorea guiso, and yakal (Shorea sp), which are all species of local hard wood. The chin rest and fingerboard of old classical violins are made of ebony. Furniture made of ebony is specially made and very expensive.

These kinds of wood have withstood the elements of time and the strong mandibles of termites, the nemesis of wood materials. Beside their genetic makeup, they grow very slowly so that their lignin cells are firm and compact. Seldom can we find these woods anymore. They are now in the list of endangered species and our laws prohibit their cutting.
Ripe fruits of mabolo or kamagong has a sweet taste with pleasant aroma.
Whenever we hear the analogy, “like a molave,” we imagine how strong and determined that leader is – now an endangered species. Why not plant one of these trees today?

Añil or azul makes white clothes whiter.
When we were kids studying in a catholic high school in Vigan, our rector was very particular with the whiteness of our uniform. Our old folks did not find it a problem at all, even without today’s detergents and whitening agents. All they did was to add a little añil or azul to the final rinse, and presto, our uniforms would be gleaming white in the sun.
Indigo plant
Añil or azul is a natural dye derived from Indigofera hirsuta or I. tinctoria, which farmers plant as green manure. It is from the plant that the dye is also called indigo. During the Spanish period, añil was commercially produced in the Ilocos and exported to Mexico and Europe via the Galleon Trade. Today, the ruins of giant fermenting vats are still found.

Indigofera (tayum Ilk) is a large genus of over 750 species of flowering plants belonging to the family Fabaceae. They are widely distributed throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Wikipedia

There is a revival of natural dye which include indigo, tumeric or yellow ginger (Curcuma longa), and pomegranate (Punica granatum). A relatively unknown group – Handloom Weavers Development in Kerala, India, has discovered natural dyes as a solution to sufferers of allergies such as skin disorders, and asthma. Natural dyes even have direct medicinal value. A common practice in Ilocos to relieve mumps is to paint añil on the swollen area.

Old folks have been using gogo plant  long before commercial shampoo was developed.
Here is an account of Dr. William H. Brown, a botanist during the commonwealth era concerning Entada phaseoloides (gogo).

“Gogo is used extensively in the Philippines and other Oriental countries for washing hair and sold as an ingredient for hair tonics. It is prepared by cutting the mature vine in lengths of 10 to 100 centimeters. It is then pounded into thin, flat strips and dried. When soaked in water and rubbed, gogo produces a lather which cleanses the scalp very effectively. The active principle is saponin.”

Today gogo has great business potential as people are shifting from commercial shampoo to natural ones. The “battle of shampoos” has instead driven people to look for natural, cheap and reliable alternatives, among them gogo, rice straw shampoo, alovera (Aloe vera) and the old reliable coconut oil (now coconut virgin oil). Gogo strips can be bought in herbal shops and around Quiapo church in Manila. Commercial planting of gogo has started in the uplands of Cavite and Batangas. ~

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

BIOLOGY in the Epic Biag ni Lam-ang Part 1

Dr Abe V Rotor 
Statue of Lam-ang at the La Union Botanical Garden, Barangay Cadaclan, San Fernando LU. The garden is a project of the local government headed by then San Fernando mayor Mary Jane Ortega, and managed by Dr Romualdo M del Rosario, from the garden's conceptualization to its elevation into a world class botanical garden.  

The epic Biag ni Lam-ang is rich in biology, the study of living things, more so on the uses of plants and animals in the world of the legendary hero.  How do we compare the epic's biology with ours today?  Let's look into each stanza and examine the organisms mentioned in their local and scientific names, including some basic data about them.

Nadumaduma a bungbungan
ti inna dita masarsaramsam:
salamagi a marabanban,
pias ken daligan.

A 900-year old tamarind tree; pods ready to harvest.
She ate a variety of fruits
like green tamarind,
pias  and daligan

[Tamarind or sampalok (Tamarindus indica, pias is Kamias (photo) (Averrhoa balimbi), daligan is starapple (Averrhoa carambola)]

Niog pay a lolocoten,
bayabas a pariggalsem,
sua ken lolokisen
ket dagitoy met ti inna sidaen:

Young coconut fruits, guavas
about to ripen, oranges, and 
lolokisen and for meals 
she ate these.
Fruits of bayabas or guava: in different stages of maturity..  Pariggaisem (about to ripem) is manibalang in Pilipino. 

[Young coconut or buko (Cocos nucifera), bayabas or guava (Psidium guajava). lolokisen or orange (Citrus nobilis)]

Newly harvested buko or young coconut is popular in any part of the country and in the tropical region, for its refreshing water and nutritious soft flesh.
Panapana ken maratangtang,
ar-arosip ken aragan,
tirem a tinoctocan,
pasayam a kinalapan;

Panapana and maritangtang 
ar-arosip and aragan, tirem 
and shrimps.

Spiked and spineless sea urchin

[Panapana or spiked sea urchin, maritangtang (spinless sea urchin);  ar-arosip is Caulerpha or lato (Tag) grape-like green seaweed; aragan is a brown seaweed dominant in tropical regions]

  (7) edible marine shellfish pictures
 Pingpinggan ken im-immoco,
loslosi ken pocpoclo,
leddangan pay ken soso
ta isu dagitoy ti inna cagusto.

Pingpinggan and im-immoco,
loslosi and pocpoclo
leddangan and soso - these
she liked much to eat.
These are some edible species of shellfish which come in different dialects. Tinoktokan is likely oyster because you have to pound it open usually with stone.

 [Pingpingan, im-immoco and loslosi are edible bivalve seashells; soso is a pointed seashell.  Shellfish are usually gathered at low tide and in shallow waters in the coral reefs.  Pocpoclo is a green seaweed, Codium edule]. (photo)

"Inca cuma imatangan ti 
immulata a cawayan
idiay bantay capareian
ket inca cuma pucanan. 

"Go and see the bamboos 
we planted on Mount Caparian 
and cut down some.

[Bamboo is most likely of the species kawayan kiling (Bambusa spinosus) plant by means of cuttings.  NOTE: Bamboo planting is thought to be a recent technology and horticultural practice.]

Ket kinona ni babain Namongan, 
"Ay, asawac a Don Juan,
dayta man tongo ti agdalagan 
a sagat ken gasatan.

And Namogan said, "My
husband Don Juan, I need
firewood such as molave and 
gasatan for my lying-in,

[Molave  (Vitex parviflora)  is a hardwood used as house posts; gasatan is another species of hardwood]

"Dangla ken bayabas nga inukisan,
ket inca met cuma gumatang
itay dongdong ken dalican
ta isu ti pagdalangan.

"And also dangla and guava 
stripped of its bark.  Also 
you go and buy a jar and a 
stove on which to warm myself.

 [Dangla is lagundi (Vitex lagundi) a medicinal plant, guava here is used as medicinal plant.] (photo)

Acknowledgement" Internet photos