Life is a Struggle

         By Vic Odarve

Life is a struggle whether one is poor, rich, and powerful. Poor people, which constitute the largest segment of the world’s population, have to struggle in order to meet both ends …foods, shelter, and education. Wealthy and the bigwigs of the society have to fight drugs, alcohol, relationship, sickness, and many more. World leaders, too, powerful as they look to be, have to struggle for the survival on their leadership due to political adversaries, deteriorating economy, and failed foreign policy. Whatever the colors and society, people must have to struggle in order to survive and prosper!

Life in the rural areas

         Life in the rural areas

According to a UN expert, nearly one-fifth of the world population or 1.4 billion people cannot fulfill the most basic needs every day. A few decades back poverty is concentrated in rural areas in most developing countries, but a recent study showed that urban poverty is also increasing as fast as cities are growing. These areas are refugees of drug addicts, criminals, and many epidemics that ravage a nation wholesome environments. Inadequate access to safe water, poor sanitation, overcrowding, and insecure residential status make the poor people’s life a miserable!

Living in an overcrowded city, this kid struggles to learn computer

Living in an overcrowded city, this kid struggles to learn computer

Life struggle does not spare the rich and famous. Although not on basic needs, they suffer in life lingering sickness, drugs, alcohol, relationships, and scandals. Singer Celine Dion is struggling in pain trying to make the best of last Christmas with cancer-stricken husband Rene, who is now battling a throat cancer for the last two years. Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, had reached the pinnacle of success in the business world but ended his life struggling from pancreatic cancer in 2011.  A few years back, the singer-actor Chan, son of Jackie Chan pleaded guilty in a Beijing court for providing a venue for drug users and was sentenced to six months in jail. Life is a struggle, poor and rich alike!

Russian President Putin

Russian President Putin struggles on his foreign policy

History always reminds us that in order to survive and sustain their autocratic governance leaders have to struggle to stay in power. Countries like Russia, North Korea, and China, the leaders have  to consolidate their power with super wealthy backers, torture political opponents in jail at a moment’s notice, and maintain secret agents. Putin, for example, also struggles over his foreign policy in Syria and Ukraine, a problem on oil’s freefall causing the ruble to crash and slamming Russia with a depression. The lives of these leaders are in deep trouble and struggling in pain.

There is no way to avoid the struggles in life. And in every struggle, there is heartbreak, emotional trauma, and setback. But all these things can make people stronger and better.

Believe it or not, human struggle ends when life ends.

Blatant Display of Abuse of Power

                                                          By Vic Odarve

Sometimes we have to pay an attention to tiresome people that hit world headlines. Authoritarian rule continues sacking political rivals who are threat to his government; political warlords and members of their dynasty break the rules of legal regulations and ordinances; and wealthy business moguls and their family members seem to be worshipped like God. These pictures and many incidents are examples of blatant oppression of the poor by the powerful.

President Putin of Russia

President Putin of Russia

Recently, Russian President Putin has acted an iron hand to its political opponent Alexei Navalny. In the final judgment, Alexie was sentenced to five-year prisons on fabricated charges with stealing a small amount of money on the sale of timber. This man is really a thorn to Putin; responsible in exposing high level of corruption in the country; organizers of anti-Putin demonstrations following the disputed parliamentary and presidential elections; and charismatic

Uncle of Kim Jong North Korea

Uncle of Kim Jong North Korea on trial

blogger and activist-thus plenty of followers. As such he could not run for public office; thus Putin has successfully removed Navalny from formal politics.

While in North Korea, Dictator Kim Jong II brutally killed his powerful uncle, who had been considered as second in command, for allegedly attempting to overthrow the state; his uncle was

Uncle Executed-Eaten by Dogs

Uncle Executed-Eaten by Dogs

stripped naked, thrown into a cage, and eaten alive by a pack of ravenous dogs. These are blatant displays of abuse of power.

Not only the authoritarian rulers demonstrate their abusive powers, Philippine political warlords and dynasty, sometimes close their eyes to the established laws and regulations. Last Nov. 30, 2013, as the main gate was already closed after 10 PM, Makati Mayor

Vice President Binay

Vice President Binay

Junjun Binay, together with his sister, Senator Nancy, was advised to use the other exit gate at the posh Dasmariñas Village in Makati City.

“Don’t you know me?” Mayor Junjun Binay said. The mayor berated the gate guards, and his escort brandishing firearms as they got down from their vehicles. The three security guards were reportedly arrested and detained by officers of the Makati Police on orders of the Mayor. And finally, after the incident, the father who is the Vice President, merely said”, A little courtesy for the mayor, please.” It is a blatant oppression of the poor by the powerful.

Sometimes even the family members of influential business tycoon think they are worthy of worship… live higher than Pharaohs and kings. A month ago, a Korean Air heiress Cho Hyun-ah berated a flight attendant in front of other passengers, made him kneel before her and ordered the pilot to take the plane back to the gate to let him off. The plane was about to take off at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport. A dismay to a traveling public! After the incident, her father who is the owner and chair of the airline company, apologized in public and called her daughter “foolish.” A display of abuse of power!

Since biblical times, the mighty and powerful live in a fabulous and lavish lifestyle, and have the power over life and death of an individual. Some of these men don’t even deserve pity; they stain themselves with the blood of the innocents; they live like a king and princes, but like everyone else, they will perish and return to the dusts.

When Leaders are Lying

By Vic Odarve

Lying has been known to downgrade moral values and destroy one’s credibility necessary to lead others, yet public officials and country’s leaders choose to lie simply to hide their ill-gotten wealth and conceal their futuristic plan for glory and power. In order to avoid public outcry for their hidden wealth, leaders hide their bank accounts; deliberately undervalue their assets and other properties; and do not disclose the annual income. In order to get what they want, whether to rebuild their lost empire or conquer and rule the world, some world leaders resort to military adventurism by first lying to the public or the world in general on their true intentions.

Clarissa Ocampo testifying before the Committee

Clarissa Ocampo testifying before the Committee

In most recent events in Asian countries notably in China and Philippines, governments are purging the hidden wealth of public officials who are lying their true income and property assets; carry out the strict implementation of graft and corruption practices and its penalty, and order the investigation of the dishonest officials. But as always in the past, usually public officials would not declare full disclosure of net worth on the property and deliberately tamper the statements of assets, liabilities, and net worth in the yearly income report.

Such was the case of former President Estrada charged with plunder by over lying the ownership of the bank account. Clarissa Ocampo, the banker from Equitable-PCI Bank revealed that he was using the alias, Jose Velarde. That was it and the jury proved that he was lying; thus he was put in prison. The same thing for the former Chief Justice Renato Corona, who was formally charged with perjury and violations of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials. The Ombudsman indicted Corona for allegedly deliberately lying on his true net worth by not declaring properties and several bank accounts as well as undervaluing a number of real estate properties. In China, retired domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang and his associates were found to have ill-gotten assets worth $ US 14.5 bn and #7 billion yuan bank accounts. They were lying for not declaring the true worth.

In the world’s stage, some leaders resort to shadowy moves by lying the public or the world in general on their true intentions of their actions. World leaders, for instance, opt to lie in order to pursue the own agenda; cover ups strategic plans especially on security matters; attain their selfish end and use to gain a strategic advantage over another country. Lying might be a smart and savvy move because often an explanation of their action is done later to ease public condemnation and disappointment. That is what happened to Putin and Hitler.

During his press conference on March 4, 2014, Putin informed the people that he had no intention to annexe Crimea. But what happened on the referendum on March 16? The people had the option that Crimea to be part of Russia. A tricky maneuver! Thus Crimea was annexed and became a part of Russia. He was lying to the world!

Hitler, too, was lying. Barely after 6 months of his promise not to take anymore Czech territory after the Munich Pact, he grabbed the rest of Czechoslovakia on the pretext of protecting the German-speaking population. He was also lying to the world.

In human history, lying seems the easiest formula the world leaders and public officials have to use in order to attain their hidden objectives.

God, in no instances, encourage lying would be an acceptable thing to do. But rather, it teaches us that we are hurting ourselves by lying. It’s in the Bible,

“Stop lying to each other; tell the truth, for we are parts of each other and when we lie to each other we are hurting ourselves.”- Ephesians 4:25

As always as in history, public officials are lying in order to hide the ill-gotten wealth. That is the case of Estrada and Corona. Hitler, on another hand, resorts to lying in order to carry his dream to conquer Europe and eventually rule the whole world. And now, Putin is lying, under the pretext of protecting Russian-speaking people in Crimea, to recover and rebuild his lost Russian federation.

The world has already read and learned the lessons that these people are lying for wealth and glory. The world knows and is now watching closely Mr. Putin of Russia!