Gelzon de la Cruz

Archive for September, 2012|Monthly archive page

Of Cybercrime Laws And Criminally Awful Movies

In Media, Society, Technology on September 28, 2012 at 12:33 am
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The Internet was conceived to be an immensely robust network of interconnected networks—infrastructure that would survive, as a whole or as a fraction of itself, even the ravages of a holocaust. Such durable reach comes at the cost of complete decentralization, of utter freedom, of unqualified chaos. And this is why we treat the Web as a place where the default posture is of desire trumping diligence, of people believing and writing what they damned well want to.

So every time real world denizens admit to using an Internet source, their friends would naturally roll their eyes before giving them more rope and asking who else, among common buddies or elite celebrities, might support their views. But without this crowd-sourced credibility, any online content is greeted as entertainment or the effluence of crackpot rants. Social media is not a place for facts but rather for doubts and for questions often asinine but also, on rare yet globally vindicating occasions, sometimes profound. It is where outsiders looking in can interrogate any establishment, asking “if that were absolutely true then why is it other guys say …” It’s where anything can be scrutinized with varying degrees of competence yes, but also with the constant of some user’s personal investment.

Users of social media trend themselves into natural agitators for the establishment’s accountability. In response, with frank if not proud admission of being meant to enforce accountability among erstwhile bloggers, the anti-cybercrime law provides the establishment with the supreme defense, a direct and countering offense. So the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 does not just even the playing field, but turns the tables on these online critics.

But, this other world, this channel for passionate opinion from people who might otherwise remain unengaged, is what transforms our ideals of tolerance and integrity into actual imperatives for humane coexistence, for it is in this other world where we keep or set the pace along with the other peoples of our planet. The new social of this new media world is the old subversive of old-school thought. So to keep our small part of this other world in the backwaters of censorship would be to invite the kind of regression that made men murderous as they avenged a B movie’s besmirching of their God’s prophet.


The Numbers Add Up

In Society on September 10, 2012 at 9:03 am
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Jueteng gives our leaders clay feet. With pervasive play making it easy to speculate on huge and frequent pay-offs to local up through national hierarchies, the mere whisper of the vice finding its way into our government’s halls is already an occasion for scandal: On first blush because of how base our leaders appear, having dipped into such a petty racket, and on second glance because of how large the numbers must be to be of interest to political operatives. The argument for condemnation is self-sustaining.

If I were an organization looking to discredit the government or any other institution, I would take my turn, as critics of both church and administrations did in the past, and again poke the beehive that is the country’s numbers racket. Its an issue easy to twist into news cycles to evoke feelings of betrayal among constituents. Its not even like kicking a sleeping dog. And, there is no elephant in the room to whisper about. Jueteng is so deeply blended into city neighborhood and small town color that to live in these without it would be like being transplanted to a land without sari-sari stores.

Just a fun, harmless vice with better odds than the lotto? For the man on street maybe. But not to its operators and certainly not to the those who would benefit by occasionally citing its scandalous existence.

How to stop it? First option is to replace it with even more lotto rounds that are cheaper, more frequent, and can be sold through the one man operations that are now your friendly neighborhood bookies–just as the national lotto once had the ambition to do. Or second, stigmatize it and not only make it a crime but also depict it as a foolish weakness that perpetuates the traditional politics that we now abhor, and that erode away our children’s futures. Elegantly, if we help with the second option, simple economics will make the first option more attractive to those in authority.

So, instead of hackneyed gossip that usually single out a particular politician or cleric, I’d prefer to hear outright sermons about the evils of petty vice, watch information campaigns about the unintended consequences that millions of jueteng players should also be held accountable for, and see more parents keeping coins in pocket and away from a not so harmless racket.

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