Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Of online chatting and virtual sex

AFTER having defined the protocol for International Networking, the works of computer programmers Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn in coming up with a shared use of computers, in which packets of information are sent on from one computer network to another, have created today’s challenges in dire need to protect society from abuses brought about by the proliferation of online pornography and virtual prostitution.

The Internet, The Web

The design of the Internet was done in 1973 and published in 1974. There ensued about 10 years of hard work, resulting in the roll out of the Internet in 1983. Prior to that, a number of demonstrations were made of the technology – such as the first three-network interconnection demonstrated in November 1977 linking Satnet, Prnet, and Arpanet in a path leading from Menlo Park, California to University College London and back to the University of Southern California in Marina del Rey, this according to a FAQ site provided by Tim Berners-Lee who pioneered the global hypertext system.

While the Net is a network of networks, basically involving computers and cables for different sort of programs such as the electronic mail, the World Wide Web nicknamed Web is an abstract and or imaginary space of information. One finds computers on the Net. One finds documents, sounds, videos, a load of information on the Web with the use of different languages between computers called “protocols” to provide a service.

While people don’t really want to know about computers and cables, the word Internet has stuck more over the term Web. By making the Net useful, it is the Web that draws people to go online, marking an increase in real time use every year. With videoconferencing and streamed audio channels, and online gaming and chatting, people are observed to have become more and more interested in the Web. But while this accessibility to files of information has helped some in research works and other worthwhile purposes, it has also led to cyberprostitution operated mostly by foreign nationals, and the easy access of pornographic sites that open a conservative society like Cebu to the concept of bangbus (group sex), hentai-manga (sex cartoons), and virtual sex as done during chatting sessions in either the main room, over voice chat, and in private message boxes.

Internet use, chatting online

The United States tops the number of Internet users worldwide with 185,000,000 as of 2005. This means that 63 per 100 Americans were online last year. This was followed by densely populated China with 94,000,000 or seven active Net users per 100 Chinese. Japan tails with 64,160,000 or 50 per 100 Japanese.
Here in Cebu, it is estimated that in less than a week, close to five hundred people come to every Internet café that mostly has an available 20 computer units. Seeing that one wage earner has to save his keeps over a period of time of from one to two years to be able to buy a computer unit and complete peripherals that the average US citizen could buy for the price of a month’s salary, the scenario has inspired entrepreneurs in the putting up of Internet cafés around to deal with the specific needs of a captive market. As a regular chatter since 1997, I find the chatroom to be the most democratic venue for _expression you can ever find. There’s no one who can control it, except of course if the chatroom you are using is your own and you display it on “Public” mode or if you are connected to a chat channel with an active operator called in chat lingo as “chandman” such as ICQ or MiRC. But what’s most interesting in rooms (from Cebu Tambayan to OFW to Metro Manila Barkadahan) at the Yahoo Messenger chat channel is who’s trying to control it. There is the game of the forces of _expression to control operation versus the creative impulse to express.

Cybersex in the city

Long before an American was caught here for hiring women willing to simulate sex on web camera using sex toys – dildo, vibrator – and long before a woman was arrested in Minglanilla for having children pose nude in front of webcams in exchange for a certain amount from Caucasian customers, cybersex has already proliferated in Bislig, Surigao del Sur.
In fact, the report via a giant television network mentioned that Internet cafés in Bislig and other key cities in Mindanao have helped pump up the economy with more and more people utilizing available technology.

I tried to contact the president of the Internet Operators Association of Cebu to give his side to the issue on cybersex but he could not be reached for comment.
The exposé revealed of economics as the very reason why women – even married ones – would willingly strip before the webcam in exchange for payment done through quick money transfer firms. Though it was only recently that those into abuse of computer use were apprehended, obviously for lack of laws regulating cyber operations, cybersex has long been accepted into the sub-culture of online chatters. “Mas maayo ni dili mi masakit. Kaysa naman pakalat-kalat mi sa karsada,” says Jee, 22, of Poblacion, Minglanilla, a former guest relations officer who learned to chat the other year. “Mas maayo pud ni kay mga Amerikano man akong customers. Di man sila ma-shock nga makahibalo nga homosexual ko. Nya klaro pa gyud sila mobayad maskin ang ilang makita kay enhanced nga boobs,” butts in Hannah, 18, of Sangat, San Fernando but who frequents Jee’s place. Jee explained that it is wrong for authorities to go after Internet café operators because cybersex happens mostly within the confines of homes. “Kon naa sila’y angay gukdon kanang parehas ni Woolbright nga gihimo nang negosyo. Nag-hire na ug mga babaye. But for as long as the act is done in private, wala sila’y pakialam – example, nako – kon unsaon nako akong lawas.”

Last August, I met Choebe, 34, married with four children. She lives in Ibabao Estancia, Mandaue City. While I was also chatting online with my virtual boyfriends – two Pinoys and one Indian national studying in Australia – I noticed that Choebe’s husband Joe was there as her “official coach”. By the way, it is also another accepted culture in online chatting to have more than one boyfriend which one calls either “bana, kabit, lover, or fling.” Joe would tell Choebe to stand so her American virtual boyfriend would be able to get a good look at her figure. Then Joe would tell her to “show cleavage” and tease by raising her skirt up to “show some more skin”. And it is Joe who picks the “probable customers” and would tell Choebe to drop conversations with the rest whom he finds uninterested in “paying the asking price.” I learned from Choebe that she and Joe do chat for a living. “Pamugasay na gyud ni kay upat among anak, wa pud mi mga klarong trabaho. Nakabantay man akong pares (Joe) nga makakwarta ang uban kon maghubo atubangan sa mga Amerikano bisan gani yoyi (slang for homosexual). Sugot man gani sha magminyo ko ug Amerikano pero di lang mi magbuwag, padad-an lang daw nako sila ug ang mga bata ug kwarta.”

In Talisay, I learned of Dennis, 19, who has a virtual girlfriend in Australia named Irene, a Filipina married to an Aussie. Dennis said he got hooked to online chatting because Irene would now send money for his education. “Nindot ni naa pa tay uyab na usahay palami-an tag storya, nya naa pay sulod ang ATM,” he said with a mischievous smile.

While I was in Talamban, I noticed two men in their early 20s who were busy clicking on, trying to access a beautiful girl named Melanz in China, cajoling her to talk to them via the voice features. When asked why would they push around for one girl, they said, “pusta-anay mi asa’y una tabi-on ni Melanz sa PM (private message).” The two find chatting the easiest way to get a girlfriend. “Mas dali ipanguyab sa chat, gamay lang nga storya I love you na dayon. Nya sunod ana magtinawganay na’g langga or honey. Pero dali lang sad mabungkag kay daghan man pud sha’g kapilian sa iyang ka-chat.” Meanwhile, Mil, 46, separated, running a general merchandise store, frequents chatrooms in search of probable sex partners whether on the phone or for real. “Yeah, I must admit that I do have fears when it comes to hiring services of call girls or prostis. I invite girls to meet me or to have sex with me on the phone. Some do ask for a fee though. But most of the time I end up having everything for free. Maypa’g mo-chat.” Others come online simply to broaden a network of friends like Yammy, 36, of Gingoog City but who is already in Canaan, Connecticut; and sisters Aida, 45, and Dolly, 41, of Germany. Most of these people are overseas contract workers who are embattled by solitude and the longing for home and family. Talking with “kababayans” they say help them fend off boredom and deal with homesickness, just like Ji Pajaron, 32, from Hilongos, Leyte but who works as caregiver in Israel. There are also those who can’t talk about sex at home that they seek a venue where such is discussed in a no-holds-barred manner just like Fux, 18, of Bindoy, Negros Oriental and Onol, 20, of Cansojong, Talisay who both often end up asking me to indulge with them in sex chat. At Cebu Tambayan 2 which can be accessed by getting a Yahoo Messenger download and clicking on Chat: Regional, then Philippines channel, chatters are composed of a motley crew of beauties and beasts, the honest and reliable, the trickster and heel, the comic, the gross and weird, the conservative and perverts. I am a regular here and an organizer of the recent Grand Eyeball. At times, one could cluck a tongue at the absurdity of this whole enterprise happening 24/7 when online chatters in the guise of anonymity converge at this specific virtual room, as CT2 becomes the most democratic venue for _expression one can ever find. At a click of the mouse and punches on the keyboard, there is now that struggle for power as oftentimes the chatroom becomes a battlefield rather than a sanctuary of peace, a warzone rather than a pagod of prayer. Most of the time, discussions would go overboard and maniacal rather than the upholding of diplomacy. And yes, we do have more of the bad mouths than those sticking religiously to their lanes. But during the grand eyeball, we ended up with the conclusion that real time chatting or online chatting is beautiful and invincible in the new age. Like poetry, it seeks to intertwine justice and the arts to find the stability of truth. And because truth is very elusive in the chatroom, the grand eyeball provides a space for one to decipher whether one is a person or a myth. The event comes with the realization that when you click that person at the other end of the line, you will know he or she is for real because he or she doesn’t go overboard with this privilege of chatting in the guise of anonymity. (/30)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Grrrrrrrrr......what's wrong with us guys? (Part II)

Today is the 60th commemoration of Philippine Independence Day since this was changed to June 12 from its original July 4 celebration. It was former President Diosdado Macapagal who deemed it proper to endorse to the Congress, through Proclamation No. 28, the urgency of enacting a measure to fix June 12 statutorily as Philippine Independence Day.

Two years after the endorsement on May 17, 1962, Republic Act 4166 changed the date to June 12, officially.

“The solemn ceremony of the raising of the Philippine flag and the lowering of the American flag in recognition of Philippine Independence by the United States in Luneta, Manila on July 4, 1946 was one of the momentous events in our history,” this according to writer Carminda Arevalo in her article “The hand that rocks the cradle”.

Arevalo explained that our flag stood as witness to the glorious events of our history. It encountered the most significant events in the Filipinos’ fight for freedom. Flying alone in the wind, it brings back the glory of our struggle, not only against invaders, but our question for a just and free society.

Two years ago I was in Butuan City for a tour when I so happened to notice a tattered national flag waving from a pole at the public plaza. To my disgust, upon noticing disrespect for the value of history upon which we as a people had won some kind of independence, I brought the matter to the attention of the chief of the Visitor/Tourist Information Center, which is just 15 meters away from the flagpole.

Having allowed the display of a tattered flag is, I reckon, an act of negligence on the part of the officials of the city and its cultural and historical office, putting their sense of patriotism and nationalism in question.

It is the weakest of alibi for them to reason out they failed to notice that a new flag is needed, and the strongest gesture of the lack of concern to have at least somebody mend the tattered part if purchase of a new flag is not covered by any governmental budget, put that way.

Recently, it is a pitiful sight that such predicament happened in our waters, in barangay Carreta, Cebu City where a tattered flag (grrrrrrr……) hang from the porch of the barangay hall. Imagine community officials one in allowing the display of that tattered flag? What do you think would that speak of community leaders?

And the greatest irony ever is that the tattered flag (grrrrrr….again!) flew on a National Flag Day, May 28.

Well, such could be taken as a communal expression of defiance to a reported poor governance of the incumbent administration maybe; but it still is a poor display of mockery at the state of this nation. Because how ever inefficient some of our leaders have become, such could not tarnish the spirit for which the national emblem stands for.

The flag remains to be a symbol of our nationhood, so that utmost respect and care should be given to such. Though this has been deliberately used in the wrong manner as what happened during some mass protests, the state of hopelessness that these mass actions would like to project should not overshadow what was atoned for to redeem our sense of independence.

ADDY BUDDY. “(Re: What’s wrong with us, guys? Part I) Yes a very tough and good question, ngano man gyud mag-ilog pag angkon nga sila naka-una pag-summit sa Everest? Ang importante naka-summit dili kung kinsa ang naka-una. On telenovela, yes sakto dyud imo observation, ang storyline bati, sobra ka-bakya so with other Tagalog movies na di gyud worth imo gastosan kay wa gyuy hinungdan. Btw, if we love to eat a day old chick, The FREEMAN one-day-old history isn’t good (online). Yes, true one-day old na sad ang The FREEMAN online issue today, I hope this can be corrected soonest.<
ppoculan@aboitiz.com>; “I have come across your write-up on The FREEMAN regarding the site in Naga your group has identified for the mangrove reforestation. I remembered the article you wrote earlier this month on the same topic imploring the readers in supporting your plight of upholding the biodiversity of our shorelines. I am affiliated with the website www.istorya.net and we are a group of people who have somehow logged in to the site and shared our ideas. We have come up with various outreach programs and are continually looking for projects where we can channel the enthusiasm of combined adrenaline (for the lack of anything else to blame it on ). On reading the earlier article you penned, i had taken down your mobile number and e-mail address and had in mind to contact you in one way or another to ask if our group may be of any assistance in the event you might need additional manpower when have undertaken a project regarding the mangrove preservation initiative. The article you wrote has sparked an interest as to how we might initiate our own mangrove plantation project.” - Clarissa Mae “Mayyang” Derecho <ndai_mae@yahoo.com>.

TEXTPRESS URSELF. “Nice write-up bwt Butandings girl! Ur ryt, education cud play a vital role n d stoppage of fishng out our ocean giants, l8s educ8 our fshrmen b4 8s 2 l8. Anway I lyk ur courage 2 tackle dat issue bwt d ocean giants, 2 tel u karon pasad ko kblo how impt d r pala in our ecological balance. Thanks 4 d nfo, napukaw sad ako interes bec. we have samwhat similar probz. I am rily cncernd wd d illegal catching of pawikans here…” - Mel, Bantayan island 8-June, 09:39:46.; “Congrats 4 dat wel written colum u hav 2day. So u r bak 2 ur old excellent self instead of being d PR writer of bands – Rolex. Mobile phone numbers withheld.

Grrrrrrrrr......what's wrong with us guys? (Part I)

All four Mondays of A Space in Space this month will tackle, in parts, acts unbecoming of human beings; man’s actions that provoke the conservationist, inflame the patriot, arouse a teeth gritting “grrrrrrrr” from a passionate climber, and enrage a televiewer for TV programs that continue to insult the intelligence.

First, there’s the bothering plight of the whale sharks - the “butandings” that thrive mostly in the waters of Donsol, Sorsogon. Sometimes, they are sighted in Visayan waters as they migrate to Australia.

Second concern is the flying of a tattered flag on a National Flag Day, May 28, to run until next Monday the 12th, Independence Day. Two years ago, I called the attention of the Visitor Information Center officer in Butuan City, Agusan del Norte for a tattered flag waving from a pole at the city plaza. After sometime, I couldn’t imagine it could also happen in my waters. Imagine barangay officials of Carreta one in allowing the display of a tattered flag? What would that speak of community leaders?

Well, such could be taken as a communal expression of defiance to a particular governance, maybe; but it still is a poor display of mockery at the state of this nation. Because how ever inefficient some of our leaders have become, such could not tarnish the spirit for which the emblem stands for.

The flag remains to be a symbol of our nationhood, so that utmost respect and care should be given to such. Though this has been deliberately used in the wrong manner as what happened during some mass protests, the state of hopelessness that these mass actions would like to project should not overshadow what was atoned for to redeem a sense of independence.

Third concern is on climbers who went up (or did they race?) on Everest, (though this was for the umpteenth time denied), came back questioned as to who really came first as if that was the only thing that’s important to do on Everest. What’s wrong with us guys? Far as I know, we climbers weren’t trained that way. We weren’t supposed to pit racing skills against fellow mountaineers, or test how far in projectile motion could our pees reach, as we only have our very own self to conquer. Mountain savvy taught us not only this one tangible, immutable and concrete love of the great outdoors, but also the golden principle “that climbing is not about reaching the summit all the time. It is knowing when to go down.” If indeed we Pinoys are one in putting our “first man” there, why were there two giant networks clawing and axing their way to Sagarmatha so desperately?

We climbers are supposed to teach others that there is so much about mountains that’s worth the try – the challenge, the camaraderie, the sense of mission. Climbing provides for us most of what have been missing in civvy streets. But now, with the claims on who had legitimately summitted first, aren’t we showing the world we have carried not backpacks there, but our division, literally on higher ground and in the international alpining arena?

Fourth grrrrrr: Geezzz, why can’t our telenovelas switch to more sensible storylines, and put an end to the bullshits of old-time soap-opera formula like themes on the fight for inheritance, killing the wife to gain possession of the man, kidnappings in struggle for power and stardom, Romeo-and-Juliet love affairs --- I would want to throw up to these “laspag, gasgas na” items!

Now back to the butandings. Though they serve as swimming testimonies to the fact that not all sharks attack, despite their 300 rows of teeth, these gentle ocean giants have suffered much too much from acts unbecoming of human beings.

Recently, fishermen towed a baby butanding, estimated to be about two years old yet, from seawaters of Mactan island to Talisay City.

The baby whale shark got killed obviously because of dehydration, exhaustion, and the loss of blood through wounds inflicted on it, most especially around its tail which was tied with a nylon cord. On local television, children were seen jumping on top of the dead baby butanding, others giving it a stomp, a pinch, a prick in a manner that speaks of the merger of curiosity and ignorance.

Weeks ago, another report on the death of a butanding in Montreal, Masbate enraged me. The whale shark sustained 13 wounds believed inflicted by either spears or bullets.

The argument raised on such carnage is economics-based – those fishermen have to survive, and thus have to catch the butanding for commodity, and also a source of income. The other point is on the poor education, or the lack of it, of these fishermen when it comes to man’s interconnectivity with the environment, the key role man plays in the ecosystem, and the call for man’s participation to preserve biodiversity.

Okay, so what’s the big fuss over carnage of butandings? Why would extend an empathy for such gentle ocean giants? Preservation of the largest, believed the oldest living fish, is beneficial in studying the effects of global warming on migratory fish and in determining the effects of pollution to plankton-feeding sea creatures.

Carnage and or poaching disrupts conservation efforts and the active compilation and tracking of these creatures that offer research little haul in understanding behavior, longevity, reproduction and benefits due to their solitude.

Besides, sharks are the apex predators in the sea, and their being on top of the ocean food chain reportedly makes them important. Apex predators prey upon healthy animals and thus, ensure diversity and control populations. When apex predators are eliminated from any area, such results to ecological imbalance. Sharks, as apex predators, maintain the health of the oceans – 4/5th of the planet’s surface. It has been pointed out that an ecological imbalance in the environment spanning 4/5th of the world could cause real problems for the other 1/5th.

Now, the big challenge is to bring behind bars environmental offenders or educate fishermen to reconsider the choice of butandings to appease hunger pangs.

TEXTPRESS URSELF! “hi maria, god bles u richly I like what u wrote. Yes, I agree wit u life s d coffee nt d cup (Re: LIFE IS COFFEE article) lif is beautiful its us dat unmake it not itself. – jrom 8-May-2006 22:38:34. Mobile phone number withheld.