Thursday, March 17, 2011

online application

Four months ago, my sister graduated from college and she did not know what she is going to do next, so she thought of trying out her luck in getting a master’s abroad. Since she cannot immediately leave for Canada or the US, she checked the Internet for universities which cater to the course she wanted. She applied for her TOEFL and IELTS online. She also submitted her application online. Almost all her requirements were submitted online, except of course the letters of recommendation and her transcripts of record. I was hesitant on this way of processing her application. I was afraid that it might not be taken seriously and that it would be better if she process it personally, meaning going there and actually submitting the application herself. But yesterday, she proved me wrong. She got an email from the university where she applied. She got in. I was so proud of her but more so, I was amazed that it actually worked-- online university application does work. I realized that I still lack trust on our ICT developments. I guess sometimes, we just have to trust that these technological advancements will see us through, that they actually work. Because they actually do work, it is just up to us to use them intelligently. My sister just did. :P

Pim, congratulations! :)


Entry #17

Pia Augustha G. Agatep

Drastic Action Against Copyright Violators

A 12 year-old was among the hundreds sued by the Recording Industry Association of America, a music industry lobbyist group, for illegally downloading music. The girl was surprised when she found out that she was among the hundreds sued by the group. A representation of the RIAA said that they have no knowledge of the personal circumstances of the persons sued. They said that nobody wants to result to lawsuit, but if you’re products are being stolen on a regular basis drastic action must be taken. The girl raises as a defense that they paid a service fee for service, and that she doesn’t have any idea that downloading was illegal. If we apply Philippine law to the situation of this girl, we could argue that children under 15 years old are presumed to have acted without discernment, that is, without criminal intent. Therefore, she could escape liability.

On another note, this drastic action taken by the RIAA was undoubtedly meant to have a chilling effect on violators. However, I'm sure that they cannot sustain this course of action. It is not cost effective to keep filing suits against people who cannot pay the damages later on. The RIAA should invest instead on new technologies that can prevent copyright infringement.

Online Pedophile Ring Busted!

Last Wednesday, police in several countries arrested over 184 (670 suspects have been identified) alleged members of an online pedophile ring. They were able to rescue 230 children from an operation that has been ongoing for three years.

The case involves an online network with over 70,000 members worldwide, and with server based in Netherlands. According to Europol, suspects were members of an online forum called, which promoted sex between adults and young boys.

"The website attempted to operate as a discussion-only forum where people could share their sexual interest in young boys without committing any specific offenses and operate below the radar," Peter Davies of Britain's Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre told the press conference. "Many members, however, having made contact on the site, moved on to more private channels such as e-mail to exchange and share illegal images and films of children being abused."

Interpol director Wainwright said that investigators had a breakthrough when Europol experts cracked the Dutch-based server's sophisticated security features in 2010 to uncover "this huge network." Europol thereafter issued more than 4,200 intelligence reports to more than 30 countries, enabling them to track down offenders and their victims.

This case gives us a glimpse of the complex nature of cybercrimes, and how it raises so many questions. Is the Interpol allowed by law to "crack" the said website's database? Will that list be admissible in evidence? Will the creators of the website be prosecuted and if so, on what charge? Where will the suspects from all over the world be tried? What rules will govern? There are so many questions but right now all I know is this is good news, and kudos to Interpol for the successful operation!

Ma. Anna Katrina C. Eustaquio, Entry # 17

For full story see:

image from:


Cellular phones (a.k.a. cellphones) are amazing. What started out as luxury gadgets for the rich evolved into everyday-items which can be found almost anywhere and are owned by almost everyone. This, I think, could probably be credited to the invention of the “prepaid subscription.”

At the advent of cellphones, there was no such thing as a prepaid subscription. Everything was “postpaid.” (a.k.a. a line) Each person had to avail of the service by subscribing with a service provider and paying for a bill every month. However, realizing that the market for postpaid subscribers was too small, the providers then came up with the brilliant idea of allowing people to avail of a service which allowed them to have cellphones but still be able to control their daily spending. Hence, the birth of the prepaid subscription.

The battle between postpaid and prepaid has come a long way. The former usually catering to those who had more money to burn (hereinafter Postpayers), while the latter was more commonly availed of by the more frugal class (hereinafter Prepayers). The two kinds of subscriptions varied in the perks they offered. The Postpayers would often argue that while on its face a line would cost more, the overall value of such subscription would actually be greater than that of prepaid. That is, while you pay more, the amount of benefits you would get would likewise increase. Also, you would no longer have to worry about running out of credits to make a call or send a text message. On the other hand, Prepayers would claim that availing of a line would result in greater expenses since it provides a virtually limitless use of one’s cellphone. Moreover, the use of a line would prevent one from trying to save on communication expenses since there would be a fixed minimum amount which the subscriber has to pay monthly even though the actual usage results in a less amount.

Although the arguments of Prepayers are all valid, the same could be debunked by the current trend of advantages provided for postpaid subscriptions. At present, the types of postpaid plans being released cater to the different needs of the different classes of subscribers. The cost of such plans has even been reduced or minimized to as low as three hundred pesos (P300) a month. This allows even low income earners to avail of a line, considering that there are a lot of Prepayers who would spend about the same amount or even more per month. Some of the plans available could be found in the following websites:

If what prevents you from availing of a line is the fear of spending more than you are able to pay, then the answer to your problem lies in the type of plan you avail of. Unlike in the past, the plans today now allow unlimited calling or texting each month. So you wouldn’t have to worry about spending so much. In fact, if you availed of such a plan, you would be able to connect more with your friends and loved ones without having to burden yourself with extremely high expenses. Furthermore, you would no longer have to make the excuse that you ran out of credits to reply to a message your friend sent you. Of course, not running out of credits could either be a pro or a con depending on how much you like your friend. Without actually seeing for yourself the kinds of plans offered by the service providers, there really isn’t anything more that can be said about the benefits of being a Postpayer. But overall, the reduction in costs of the postpaid subscription has led many to avail of it and consequently provided for a means to connect people better and faster.

Paul Obmina, entry no. 17

Going Off the Grid

I have been gone from Facebook for about three months now. It was like a bad relationship that you just keep coming back for, but was able to detach myself just in time for the bar.

All this social media and keeping in touch had its uses (i.e. stalking), but I seem to have grown out of it. Facebook has its uses though for people like my mom, who has never seen her friends for decades. Her favorite photo is a group picture taken of her when she was in the Kalayaan dorm wearing bootleg jeans and a midriff-bearing shirt.

But all the drama, the bragging, the self-absorbed-ness has taken its toll. The last time I used Facebook, I was bombarded with all sorts of pictures and information that I just didn't want to see. What started out as a fun way to connect with old friends turned out to be the easiest way for people to connect annoy. Facebook used to be fun, and then it turned out to be the most efficient way to make you do (school-related) work - which you obviously don't want to do when you want to maximize "personal time".

While this began as a novelty (a pleasurable way to waste time), became an annoyance, and then a source of dread. While all these advances have made information available in a lot of places at the same time, the viewer has the difficult burden of sifting through trash.

All this interconnectedness is making us lose our mystery, which is is what reunions are for. By going off the grid, I communicate on my own terms, and only with true friends. It makes life simpler. And this is how the magic works, even if there seems to be a scarcity of it nowadays.

The following are Alexandria Topacio's other blog entries:

  • #01 - The Third Player
  • #02 - The Good, the Bad, and the Possibilities with the Google Book Scanning Deal
  • #03 - Participatory History in the Age of Disposable Technology
  • #04 - The Potential of Location-Based Apps (I want to be Mayor of UP Law)
  • #05 - Christmas Village
  • #06 - A Recipe for Intellectual Property
  • #07 - The Armchair Doctor (Dangers of Online Self-Diagnosis)
  • #08 - The Anti-Medici
  • #09 - Security Blankets and Being Anti-Social
  • #10 - The Blind Eye of Providence (Online Endorsement and Disclosure)
  • #11 - The Professor and the Eye at the Back of his Head
  • #12 - Note-Taking Apps/Information Managers for Law School
  • #13 - We, The Facebook (Digging for Dirt and Ditching Jury Duty)
  • #14 - The Toughest Place to be a Bus Driver
  • #15 - 2011 Bar Exam Woes
  • #16 - Death of Lawyers and The Rise of the Machine
  • #17 - Going Off The Grid

Spirals of Group Buying Websites

It all began with Spirals. Last December a friend (let's disguise her under the name Katrina Sy) told me that a Spirals buffet promo was selling at half off online. I found out that the deal was offered on a group buying website. Thus began my beautfiul relationship with the online market.

Group buying has been around for ages. The concept is pretty simple. Buyers group together to purchase from one seller in order to drive the seller's price down. The seller becomes willing to discount his selling price because of the number of purchasers interested. Now the dynamic wouldn't be the same if the same number of people went to the seller individually instead of as one group. Why? Because when the buyers transact separately then the seller would have no guarantee as to the final total buyers he would have. In group buying, the seller is assured of the number of sales he will successfully transact. This certain number of sales incentivizes the seller and in fact gives him basis to drop his prices.

It's interesting how entrepreneurs have used the online market to promote group buying. By pandering wares online, more buyers can join the "group" transacting for the particular service or product. It was a stroke of genius. Sellers could now access a greater range and variety of buyers. Sellers didn't have to keep running surveys to identify people with like interests and coax them into signing up for group buying. Now, people only had to click a button to both identify them as having a like interest and to signify their inclusion in the group purchase.

Maricris L. Real
Entry #17

Midnight Snack

Ever since we were kids, my mom would cook for us something to eat before we sleep at night. This is just one of those that I'm looking forward to after a very long and tiring day at school or at play. She would let us taste new recipes she learned, old recipes which she kept from us during meals and sometimes, if she's not up to it, just orders fastfood delivery. This has become a practice to us to the point that whenever I sleep at some other place, I can't sleep if I'm not full.

But it's not just about the food.

It's the getting together of the family, just sharing jokes and anecdotes throughout the day. Since most of the serious stuff were already exhaustively exhausted during dinner, we would just talk about light stuff like school crushes, embarassing moments, or even plain rubbish talk. We thoroughly enjoyed not only the food, but also the people you are eating it with. I'm proud to say that my family is as close now than it was before.

At present, I can't enjoy a midnight snack due to my ballooning weight. But I could certainly use someone to talk with at the most relaxing time of my day.

Salma likes the Social Network

Last night, I watched The Social Network. What particularly struck me while watching the movie was how Mark Zuckerberg's character was depicted as socially-unadjusted. Perhaps the movie would sell better if he were painted in such an interesting light. Either it's an irony that the founder of the giant social network is socially unadjusted, or seen in a different light, it is the reason he founded facebook. Maybe Zuckerberg was so engrossed in cyberspace that he didn't know how to interact in the real world. But he was aware of how popularity and social circles worked in the real world, and he just thought it would be great to bring the "entire college experience" into the virtual world. He's right, alright, and I won't fuss any more about how great facebook is.

Another thing that got me thinking about the movie is how conventional business thinking is just not enough to make it in the IT industry, let alone make it big. I think that's where Eduardo Saverin is lacking. As Zuckerberg's most trusted friend, his financial acumen just wasn't enough. Saverin was actually able to earn $300,000 from smart investments during his undergraduate studies at Harvard, headed an investment organization, and graduated magna cum laude! But not enough.

It's also not enough to just have an idea or even the cash. Without a radical and clear vision and the geeky capacity to actually get it done, you'll just end up like a kid whose triple-layered ice cream fell on the ground before you even got the chance to actually lick it. Tsk, tsk, tsk... That's the tragedy endured by the twin rowers and their weirdo friend.

The movie also shows how important it is to keep one's image clean. There's really no distinction between business image, social image, or online image. So it's important not to be an asshole or to try being one in an effort to be cool (Zuckerberg), not to torture animals or seem like torturing one in an effort to conform (Saverin), and not to engage in anything illegal, no matter how innovative (Sean Peters' napster) or just plain stupid (the heroin bust implicating Peters).

Salma F. Angkaya
Entry #16

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Change Ahead

The current situation in Japan is a major blow in the global ICT economy. Today, it is feared that the closure of various mobile telecom equipment factories will attribute to the shortage in supplies of semiconductors used in production of gadget chips.

Japan is one of the biggest supplier in the technology sector, and any threat to the continued production of such materials may manifest in the increased price of tech gadgets. As a countermeasure to this situation, different telecom companies sourcing materials from Japan are structuring plans of procuring from alternative suppliers.

Amidst everything that has been happening in Japan, we have seen how the rest of the world is responding. The loss of lives, properties, and now business opportunities as consequences of natural disaster are inevitable. Nonetheless, we as human beings are blessed with the capacity to think, adapt and make the most out of any situation. Consequently, during these difficult times, we need to keep our emotions stable and our logical brain active. We are urged to find solutions and to welcome innovations in accord with a sustainable form of development.

The perceived disruption of technology supplies may be seen as a budding opportunity for minor players to step up. The Philippines may respond to this call. The market may loosen down and allow new players to come in. This is an opportunity born from difficulty.

The world and its global citizens can definitely surpass this challenge. As an author puts, “A bend in the road is not the end of the road... unless you fail to make the turn.” We only need to be the change we want to see in this world. A united people concerned with each other’s survival and well being. God bless everyone. Its been a pleasure blogging and connecting to you. ♥

Uy... Phishing!

I remember two weeks ago that Sir Rudy asked me to research on the etymology of the word “phishing”. I wasn’t able to recite on it last week since we had our film showing. Thus, I would just write about it today. :)

The term “phishing” comes from the words “password” and “fishing”, and phishing is done by creating bogus websites imitating original ones so that attackers can access information such as password, usernames, etc.[1]

Speaking of phishing, I have long pondered upon on whether the Yahoo! Mail website I’ve been accessing is a bogus website. I rarely use Yahoo! Mail nowadays and during the rare times that I log in to my Yahoo! account, there’s an option allowing users to sign in using their Facebook or Google accounts. This I find weird. Why would Yahoo! allow its users to log in to their Yahoo! accounts using an account provided by a competitor?! It’s admitting that there are now more Google than Yahoo! e-mail users, especially since the option is not available the other way around! Yahoo! account users cannot access their Google accounts using their Yahoo! accounts. Maybe Yahoo! is indeed accepting this fact and is now taking advantage of it.

Anyway, I’ve never used the option and I log in the traditional way. I still just type my username and password which are… Uy, phishing! :P

Kate Lomoljo

Entry 17



It has now reached a point where technology emulates fashion. For the masses to appreciate the new gadget, much pains are needed to be undergone to research the trendiest colors and patterns of the season. No longer does the memory capacity or the RAM govern the choosing process of the buyers, but the style and the sleekness of the product is also key. I think this is the reason why Apple products are doing so well. Similar products which do the same things that are out in the market have not taken into consideration the look and the feel of the product as much as Apple has. “The next generation” is a term that is now more loosely used for the development of products and Apple has sparked the generation after generation of gadgets, each one much sleeker and cleaner than the next.

People nowadays have the tendency to think thin. Some would even ditch 3 meals a day just to fit into their bikinis for summer. I think that not only fashion trends but also trends in technology, which has been so intertwined in our daily lives, have influenced our way of thinking. Taglines like “fat to flat” and “thin is in” is not only used by the weightloss industry but even more so now producers of LCD TV sets and computer producers. In fact, one of the come ons of the Apple iPad 2G is that it is thinner than the iPhone.

How sad is it that even your gadget is telling you to lose weight for summer?

by Vann dela Cruz entry #17

Public - Private Partnerships

One of the main thrusts of the current Aquino administration are PPP Projects or Public-Private Partnership Projects. This is advantageous to a cash-strapped government, since the one who will build the necessary infrastructures is the private sector. It helps the government provide basic services to the public, stimulate economic growth while at the same time save costs for the government. The private sector, in turn, benefits from this arrangement since they can derive returns from such investments, generate more jobs and help improve the economic outlook in our country.

However, during the project implementation, this would be an added burden to the public, especially the ones availing of these services. In order for the private sector to achieve its projected rate of return, it has to charge users, the public, for the use of such service or infrastructure. It takes the nature of double taxation, since the main point of paying taxes is so that the government can provide us services, at most basic, in return. To be charged for using such service is indeed an added burden.

As to the long term effects of PPP projects, we still do not know. PPP is a recent concept, initially implemented during the Ramos administration. It remains to be seen on whether PPP's are indeed our shortcuts to success and development.

staying on top

And while the law of the competition may be sometimes hard for the individual, it is the best for the race,because it ensures the survival of the fittest in every department.

- Andrew Carnegie

Last Tuesday, Microsoft released its newest Internet browser, Internet Explorer 9 (IE 9). It is the successor of Internet Explorer 8 which was released sometime in 2009. Since the release of Internet Explorer in 1995, it has gained popularity and became the number 1 web browser. It is still the leading web browser now however its popularity is slightly going down compared to its rivals which is slowly trending up. According to Microsoft, the release of IE 9 was done in the hope to address the challenges posed by Firefox and Google Chrome.(click here for the full article)

IE9 was built supposedly to make the most of Microsoft's latest operating system, Windows 7, as well as graphics processing chips that can power videos, games and graphics. IE 9 was crafted to spotlight slick websites and beat back competition from Firefox and Google. It is said to be a great improvement from the last version of Internet Explorer. To further promote the browser, Microsoft has partnered with different websites including Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo, some of the web’s heavy hitters.

Truly, competition is almost always harsh. It brings out the worst in people. It even kills. However, competition is not all negative. In the same way that it brings out the worst, it also pushes people to be better, to strive to become the best. And in the ICT industry, competition ensures the continuous development of browsers, sites etc. which is always a good thing for users like us. So, let us promote competition, a healthy one that is. :P


Entry # 16

Pia Augustha G. Agatep

Image from:

Wake-up call

image address:

To be detached from everything that's happening now is to completely miss the point. I'm taking this opportunity to remind us all of how brief life is and that there are things beyond our control. Given this, we should take time to reflect and connect our soul to the important things in life. The here and now is all we have. This is it. Let us stand by our loved ones and fight for what is right. We should ponder upon our actions, some of which have irreversible consequences. These costly mistakes will be avoided only if we constantly remind ourselves (without need for grim reminders such as nature's wrath magnified and drawn closer to us all by information and communication technology) of how precious life is. Let existence not be consigned to worthlessness. We are to be in this route because we know better and we should be better. To brush aside gigantic events such as what happened in Japan is common nowadays as society has been structured to be so fast-paced and so demanding that people are acting like robots as if naturally without any choice but to constantly toil and hoard money. As a result, so many souls (or spirits) are lost, the right is compromised, and money is higher than life in the hierarchy of values. Money policies now trump human welfare policies. Let us not be one of them. Should we wait to see ourselves in a precipice before we change? Remember, nothing might lie ahead of it. We might not be so lucky to have a second chance. Seize this moment for it is all we have.

Blog Entry Number 17. Last required blog entry.

We we we so excited... for Rebecca Black's Friday!

This video went viral over the weekend and the last I checked, it had about 9,332,311 views on Youtube. Some have even voted "Friday" as the worst song ever made. What exactly makes this song and video so bad? Even Time Magazine joins the disturbingly intense debate and answers:

For starters, there's the opening verse, which is just a straight up narration of what Rebecca's morning routine consists of ("Gotta get down to the bus stop/ Gotta catch my bus/ I see my friends"). Then there's Rebecca's apparent obsession with choosing a spot in the car, which also adds the song's riveting central conflict ("Kicking in the front seat/Sitting in the back seat/ Gotta make my mind up/ Which seat can I take?"). But the song's lowest point (albeit its most hilarious) is when Rebecca literally just sings the days of the week ("Tomorrow is Saturday/ And Sunday comes afterwards").
Well I disagree. Based on the nasty comments on Youtube, I think we're all being a little too harsh here. She's 13! When I was 13 I wasn't allowed to par-tay and I spent a lot of my time crocheting -- I don't remember being gripped with such profound existentialist angst about picking where to sit when my similarly under-aged friends come over in their parents' car. Plus the song is catchy ("We we we so excited/We so excited") and even has someone who eerily looks like Usher rapping in the latter half. This song is sooo WIN!

Anyway, I propose we make this our class anthem. Waking up at 7 a.m. on a Friday morning is something I'm sure we can all relate to.

Consummatum Est: Blogger, Now Signing Off

Image credit:

This shall be my last post as a blogger for our ICT class of the U.P. College of Law this 2nd semester, 2010-11. I do not intend to be sentimental or melodramatic; I just want to make this count as a last post, more like a matter of summary or "closing statement."

First, I thank our professors for conducting an exciting class and for sharing with us their ideas on the dynamics of law and technology. I have gained valuable insight from their presentations, our class discussions, and the video features that I will not have encountered otherwise. More broadly, with the relevance of technology increasing by the day, I'm sure that the issues I've learned in class about SMEs, convergence, the digital divide, intellectual property, and cybercrime among others will come in handy when the need for it arises.

Second, I like to discuss the application of what I've learned. I like to always keep in mind the lessons learned in class so that when our time comes as future law and policy makers or legal practitioners, we can decide and act accordingly. A deeper understanding of how ICT and law interplay gives us a headstart in dealing with the many issues of the modern world like the digital divide, internet fraud, and child pornography. This way, the future of how our society handles issues on law and ICT will envision a brighter side with equipped leaders who know the facts, the issues, and have a feel of the moral fiber.

Last, at the end of the day, it is my hope that all the posts I've made are not just merely blogs that occupy net space. I hope they can be considered "blogging with a purpose." On my first blog dubbed "Acquiring Netizenship," I endeavored to be "responsible, accurate, effective , ethical, and (hopefully) entertaining." Whether I've accomplished those ends, I don't know. But what I'm sure of is that this blogging experience has given me (or forced??) a sense of discipline to put in 17 blogs every Wednesday night (in time for Thursday submission). More importantly, I enjoyed this constant interface with the net, doing research and trying to explore some creative knack in writing that I may possibly have. I had fun in the process, and that's all that matters.

As with all things in life, this too shall pass. This is Rich, blogger on law and ICT, now signing off.

Richmund C. Sta. Lucia, Post #17


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Digital Response to Japanese Disaster

The 8.9-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that happened in Japan before last week ended was so strong it moved the Nippon country nearer to the United States and even tilted the earth’s axis and shortened the day. That is taking the scientific point of view. In terms of ICT, well, the disaster also takes the spotlight.

THE TECHNOLOGY COMPANIES. A Sydney Morning Herald article sums it best: “Google Inc. has an online ‘person finder’ for people seeking information about a missing person. Microsoft Corp. is offering free technical support and temporary software licenses to companies affected by the earthquake. It has also pledged $250,000 in cash. Twitter is trying to help organize the flood of information flowing through its system. It is suggesting people use certain tags for general earthquake information, requests for rescue and other related topics. Inc. and Yahoo Inc. have links on their home pages encouraging people to donate to the relief efforts.” (Click here for article)

Of course, these companies have since also been offering digital ways to donate to Japan's efforts at recovery. “Apple has set up an option on its iTunes software to allow registered users to donate from $5 to $200 to the American Red Cross simply by clicking a button for the chosen amount. The Red Cross has also launched a campaign on Facebook through the social media giant's Causes function…” Also, “Twitter was updating by the second, continually refreshing information and advice as well as directing people to resources on the ground and offering ways to donate to help survivors.” (Click here for full article)

THE PEOPLE. But the response is not limited to the tech giants because ICT is also giving Japanese citizens and other people the chance to help and, well, speak out. Twitter users are sending infinite streams of messages of support to survivors of the quake-tsunami disaster. Messages commending (some criticizing) Japanese leaders also abound. Zynga gamers are asked to donate money through the purchase of virtual goods in CityVille, FrontierVille, FarmVille and its other games for its Save the Children's Japan Earthquake Tsunami Emergency Fund.

If all is to be named, this blog will go on non-stop. So let this be finished with a THANK YOU for the blessings of ICT. And of course, my prayers for Japan and its people.

- Phebean Belle A. Ramos, entry #17

(#17) and now the end is near

I thoroughly enjoy watching The Good Wife (starring Julianna Marguiles of ER) in the same way that I liked The Practice and Ally McBeal. I remember some professors asked our classes why we’re studying law and a handful said that they were inspired by those tv series. ICT has made this influence possible.

As almost all members of the class are graduating students, I would like to share Julianna Marguiles’ insightful commencement speech.
Thank you President Karen Lawrence, distinguished guests, faculty, proud parents, and graduating class.

I have to admit I have been in such a panic about speaking with you today for several reasons. The first being that last year’s commencement speaker was Rahm Emanuel, the White House Chief of Staff—President Barack Obama’s top advisor. And I, on the other hand, am best known as America’s favorite TV nurse from a show I did back in the '90s.

I was also apprehensive to speak to this class given everything that I have read about your generation lately—and how supposedly "detached" you are from everyone else. I actually had nightmares that all of you would be texting and tweeting during the high points of this address.

I was SO nervous I have been doing quite a bit of reconnaissance. I have read every graduation speech that was ever written, sought advice from the smartest people I know, but mostly I have been listening. Listening to your reflections on the school; listening to your plans post college; and listening to your thoughts for our future. Part of this "listening" was to prepare for this speech and part of it, selfishly, was for my two-year old son—because he has such a big stake in the actions of your generation. I was curious to learn about the people paving the way for him.
I spent some time with a few of your fellow graduates—Hillary, Nora, Zach, Sarah and Rachel. I was so impressed by each of them. I want to thank them for sharing their stories with me. They allowed me to wake up to my college again—which is truly a beautiful thing. And after all my listening, I have concluded, at least here at Sarah Lawrence, our future is looking very bright, and my son, and his generation are in very good hands.

As your commencement speaker, I am supposed to say something like, "you’re all about to enter the real world." But I hate that adage. It feels so condescending. Didn’t we all enter the real world when we were born? The truth is, your lives really began to take flight four years ago, if not well before.

Sarah Lawrence has given you a foundation and the tools to think for yourself—which is the most important asset you’ll ever have in life. You already have everything you need to make it in this world. If you believe this degree is somehow an end of study or the step across the finish line—You’re missing the point. This education is a gift that you will be unwrapping for the rest of your life.

The graduates I met were all so surprisingly secure, and not with any false bravado—they were pillars of true confidence. There was not one twinge of anxiety in them, and although all of you are set to face a competitive global job market, a tough economy, and a planet rife with political and social unrest. These students didn’t buy into that adage of suddenly entering the real world, and neither should you. You are already living in it. Plus, all of you are at least a little New York savvy, which gives you a leg up.

The only difference between today and tomorrow is that tomorrow, you get to take the lessons you have now learned and bring them to other people and other experiences. One of the students I met with, Rachel—her father is a professor at the University of St. Louis. He recently asked her, "So, after four years, what have you learned?" Rachel answered with the following: "Dad, I can’t tell you what I have learned because it’s inherent in who I am now." Her answer perfectly illustrates the difference between our school and other colleges and universities. When I was studying here, I realized I had the capacity to learn everything. I got to write my own papers, express my own thoughts. I didn’t have a textbook thrown at me, and a teacher telling me to "memorize it." They said, "Question it. Challenge it. Debate it. Think about it." I was encouraged to explore other passions rather than just find one major.

Like all of you, l had mandatory one-on-one conference work with our professors. So I attended traditional English Lit classes with Bill Shullenberger, where we read the works of T.S. Elliot and Emily Dickenson. But it was in our one-on-one sessions, where I developed my own love affair with authors like Flannery O’Connor—where Professor Schullenberger gave me the assignment to rewrite one of Ms. O’Connor’s short stories from another characters’ point of view. Only at Sarah Lawrence do your professors encourage, and do students have the audacity, to rewrite literary giants. It was one of the most challenging and exceptional assignments I ever had, and stays with me always.

I found my passion for theater on this campus. I was cast in my first play here—it was David Rabe’s In the Boom Boom Room I was a go-go dancer. They gave me three lines, a pair of thigh-high boots, a dancing cage and I was hooked for the rest of my life. On acting, not go-go dancing. It was also here where I was told if I wanted to be an actor I needed to learn about art. And I needed to learn history. Learn science. Learn French. And so much more. And they were absolutely right.

There is not a day that goes by that I do not call on my formal education. My film professor, Gilberto Perez, taught me how to dissect a script, a process I still use. My best friends from college are still my best friends today—Alec Holland, Bill Webb, Blair Belcher… Bill flew in from California to be here with me today. The seeds that we planted at Sarah Lawrence have grown into deep roots of friendship. I have been fortunate to meet many influential and famous people—some of whom are my dear friends. But the relationships you make here can be the ties that bind. Don’t ever forget that.

I want all of you graduates to look around at each other. Go ahead. Soak this moment in. Get a good look at your colleagues who’ll forever be linked by the mantra of "learning to think for yourself," and by a one-of-a-kind experience that no one will ever be able to take away. I want you to get a good look at these beautiful people who will support your passions, be your network of contacts, and if need be, catch you when you fall.
You can stop looking at them now. Back to me.

I want to share a personal story—one of those times that tested my Sarah Lawrence foundation and values. I have never really told this story publicly before. And I am sharing it with you solely in the hopes it will inspire you to stay true to your heart—because there is a great value in it.

Shortly after graduation, I got very, very lucky. I landed a role on a show called ER. It was a huge hit all over the world! I soon had money, accolades, status and George Clooney. I started that show when I was 26 years old.
After six years of playing the character of Nurse Carol Hathaway, it was time to go. I missed being away from my home in New York. My contract was up. And while the ER experience was absolutely incredible and changed my life forever—For me, the decision was a no brainer.

My home is here. I wanted to do a play. I wanted to do an independent film. I wanted to experience all four seasons again. And I thought I had earned the right to be able to live my life the way I wanted to. I had already committed to doing a play at Lincoln Center. Everything seemed perfect. I was confident in my decision. Until they started throwing money at me. So much money, it started clouding my vision. Everyone around me kept saying, "Take the money. It’s only two more years of your life!" But I said, "I am not happy here anymore. I don’t want to get lazy with the character. I don’t know what else I can do with her. I want people to remember her, not grow tired of her." The voices of decent continued. "No woman makes this kind of money in this business, unless you’re Julia Roberts."

I was very conflicted. I called my father and I said, "Dad, I don’t know what to do. It’s 27 million dollars."
He gave me the most amazing answer: He said to me: "When’s enough, enough? You’re 32 years old. You own your home. You have money in the bank. When is enough, enough? I kept hearing my father’s words, knowing he was right, and my gut instinct was right—but everyone else was telling me take the money and be thankful
I am not much of a spiritualist. But I went to this bookstore-- the Bodhi Tree in Los Angeles. I was looking for some kind of divine intervention. Absolutely everyone, except my own family, was telling me I was crazy. I thought this might be a good time to look outside of myself, and the people I knew.

I went to the Buddhist section. Because I thought if any religion was the most fair to both sexes—It’s Buddhism. And girl power is important; I am after all a Sarah Lawrence graduate. I picked the first book that called out to me. It was called, Awakening the Buddha Within by Lama Surya Das. I bought it. I went home. Went into my bedroom. Closed the door. Opened the book.

This is an absolutely true story. I closed my eyes and put my finger down on a line. I opened my eyes. The line read, "I realized my mission in life was to learn more, not earn more." There it was, "Learn more, not earn more." I kept hearing the phrase over and over. I then read about the author, who was this big investment banker, hated who he was becoming. He wanted to find himself again. He gave all his material possessions away and found himself in Buddhism. Luckily, all I had to do to find myself was to say no to 27 million dollars and be called a crazy person for years. But I knew I had made the right decision.

So I left ER, and packed up for New York. But I had no idea the backlash I would get for this decision. Frankly I didn’t think it was anyone else’s business. But people said some vile and horrible things about me. One morning I was watching TV at the gym. And some morning talk show was making fun of me, saying that I would be their doorman in ten years, and who did I think I was, after all I was 32, not some spring chicken, (that is a direct quote from a woman I might add). And that my career was over, I was an idiot. I called my father in tears. "Dad, everyone’s mocking me and saying I am crazy." And then my father said, "What you did, makes them think—what would they do? By turning that money down, it makes them feel less than, because they never would. The American dream is supposed to be 27 million dollars. And you said, ‘I am happy without it.’". What I did, whether you agree with it or not, was very Sarah Lawrence—in that I was thinking for myself. I did not act out of fear.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love making money. I love it. LOVE it. And I don’t want any of the parents here rolling their eyes saying, "I just spent tens of thousands of dollars on my child’s education and some TV actress is telling them its better to give up millions to do an off-Broadway play?"

No. I am not saying that at all. I hope all of you graduates will have prosperous and thriving careers. But you will more likely find that pot of gold if you follow your passion, are driven to succeed, and open to learning more as you go. Remember the guys who founded Google were passionate about search first – money came later.

Which brings me to another Sarah Lawrence graduate I met, Zach—this intelligent, handsome young man is headed to Northeastern to pursue a PhD in Computer Sciences. I asked him what he wanted to do with that degree. "I want to go back to Sarah Lawrence and teach," he said. First, that is such a testament to how much people love and believe in this school. Second, what a noble pursuit! And thirdly, whether Zach comes back here or not, he is on his path, and is, as my mother says, "Right where he’s supposed be" to achieve his dreams.

As Zach and the rest of you are offered new opportunities, (and fret not, new opportunities will come even in this crappy economy) you will measure them against the goals you have set for yourself today. Often times the distance between the opportunity you have and the goals you’ve set, is the same distance between true fulfillment and settling. Be fearless, but make sure it’s thoughtful and mindful fearlessness.

I have learned to go fully in the face of my dreams. I would recommend you do the same. Now is the time in your life to be selfish. To explore. To take chances. Remember being selfish is not the same as being self-indulgent. You have the gift of time. Use it to do what you love. Believe anything is possible and then work like hell to make it happen. Your generation has every day tools of information that other generations would simply marvel at. Do not, as President Obama says, make them instruments of distraction. Use them to empower your lives and fuel your dreams. In turn, do not be disheartened by the current state of the world. Simply work to better it.

The time in your life when you don’t have obligations and considerations, (like family, bosses and bills) to the time that you do—goes by in the blink of an eye. Use it wisely.Ten years after my decision to leave ER, I had built a life for myself and felt so fulfilled, with a husband and a baby and a grounded life in NYC that I cherished. I was doing Broadway, off-Broadway, a film here and there, building friendships and experiencing a rich and beautiful life and then lightening struck twice—which is a true rarity in my business. When the role of The Good Wife was offered to me, I wanted it very badly. But it was supposed to shoot in Los Angeles or Vancouver. I knew that I couldn’t move my family and uproot my life, so I had to be willing to give up the show, and I told them with a heavy heart that in order to do it, they would have to shoot in NY. If there is a lesson to be learned from that, it is, if you stay true to who you are, you will more likely find happiness. It just may take a little longer sometimes. Ultimately, they were able to bring the production to New York. And ironically, sometimes, we even shoot on this campus.

You are looking at someone who truly feels blessed—I am almost embarrassed by this life of riches that my education has afforded me. The education I received here, gave me the confidence to have the life I always envisioned. We have that in common. This is a smart group of people with lots to offer. I can’t wait to see the next chapter in each of your lives. Spending time on this speech and meeting these students, reminded me of all the promise that emanates from these Tudor buildings. I forever carry that in my heart with great pride. I hope you do too.
Thank you so much. And congratulations Sarah Lawrence Class of 2010.
Here’s to always learning more.
Ma. Luisa Manalaysay
Entry No. 17

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Facebook with Anti-bullying Features

Bullying is an act where one imposes on another his/ her power. It is an act of intimidation and abuse repeated over time. Bullying can either be psychological or physical. It has adverse effects on the “bullied” and the bully alike. For the bullied, it may not manifest its effects immediately but one thing for sure, being bullied affects them greatly.

More often than not, the “bullied” does not tell anybody about his problem. He just keeps it to himself for he is afraid to be called a “weakling” and be further judged by other people. Being silent does not help either the “bullied” or the bully. But sometimes, it seems like there is no other recourse because when the “bullied” reports to the authorities, the bully immediately finds out or sometimes, it is just too late especially when it comes to cyberbullying. [1] That is why every step that we make to stop bullying is important.

The first step is making the “bullied” aware that he/ she is being bullied and that such act is not normal. Second, the child or the “bullied” must be informed that he/she can do something to stop it, like reporting it to the proper authorities. This second step however will not be easy if confidentiality is not secured. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that the school(or any organization) provide a venue where the “bullied” can easily confide or report the bullying without fear of being known by other people.

And Facebook, one of the most popular social networks, has provided this venue. It has just recently added an anti-bullying tool to its safety features. Under the new system, a user could identify a photo, status update or other item as bullying them, then privately send a message to someone in their friend network about it.[2] According to Facebook, the "social reporting" feature is intended to get reports of bullying to the people with the best chance of stopping it. This is a big step in preventing bullying as this feature provides an immediate recourse to cyberbullying, which is more prevalent nowadays. This anti-bullying feature of Facebook coupled with the awareness campaign forwarded by will greatly help in decreasing the bullying incidents especially among teenagers. It is really helpful that social networking sites such as Facebook become more aware of and participate in some social issues such as this. Hopefully, this will also encourage other social networking sites to join the bandwagon and be more socially relevant. :P


Entry # 15

Pia Augustha G. Agatep

[1] Bullying happens through the use of technology like computers and cellphones.


Image from: