WHY OFW CELLPHONES ARE CONFISCATED by the international syndicate
PLEASE PASS TO ALL OFWs WORLDWIDE
LETS MAKE THIS VIRAL
eastwind journals 163
By Bernie V. Lopez
Permission is granted to re-publish with credits.
Disclaimer – the views in this article are the author’s alone.
Confiscating the cellphones of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW), a new powerful harassment weapon, is like tying their hands, taping their mouth, and blindfolding them, so that they cannot voice complaints, implicate government employees and recruitment agencies who are part of a powerful unstoppable international inter-agency syndicate preying on them, with tentacles in the public and private sectors, both here and abroad.
The syndicate is a multi-billion-dollar-a-year underground industry that no one, not even powerful Presidents, Senators, Congressmen, have succeeded in stopping. The syndicate knows that without a cellphone, OFWs cannot communicate, report, coordinate, incriminate. The scheme is the most ingenious and dangerous weapon against the global OFW community who number in the millions and whose remittances are in the billions of dollars per year. OFWs are the Philippine’s biggest dollar earner. It is roughly estimated that the syndicate siphons a staggering 15% of OFW income. The heavens cry out for vengeance against this evil force.
The OFW cellphones are confiscated 1) in Philippine government-owned shelter houses for the distressed (they are distressed as victims of the syndicate). 2) recruitment agencies (they are victims of these agencies); 3) overseas employers (who violate labor laws and fail to give just compensation. The OFWs are essentially helpless against this malpractice.
Possible steps against the syndicate – 1) Interpol arrests of those holding OFW cellphones; 2) filing of court cases against those holding OFW cellphones; firing them on the spot; 3) exposing the names of the confiscators and the institutions they represent in global media.
Campaign from the angry OFWs.
We, the undersigned urge the Philippine government to:
#1 STOP the confiscation of OFWs’ cellphones at the Philippine government owned shelter houses for distressed workers
#2 REVOKE the license of recruitment agencies that confiscate cell phones from the OFWs
#3 REVOKE the accreditation of recruitment agencies in labor receiving countries that confiscate cell phones from the OFWs
#4 REVOKE the permit to hire from overseas employers who confiscate cell phones from the OFWs;
Petition Background (Preamble):
This Petition seeks to STOP the common practice of confiscation of mobile/cell phones from the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) by:
the staff of the Philippine government owned shelter houses upon arrival of the distressed workers seeking government protection from abusive employers
the staff of recruitment agencies licensed by the Philippine government
the staff of accredited recruitment agencies in the labor receiving countries, subjecting the OFWs to body searches, including body cavity search
the employers who are in the approved overseas employers list of the Philippine government
The OFWs, already facing the uncertainties of employment or repatriation, their desperate situations, becoming more desperate when their cell phones are confiscated, effectively cutting off needed emotional support from families and friends.
Additionally, confiscating cell phones from abused workers discourages them from seeking refuge since they will be experiencing more isolations at the Philippine government owned shelters.
This Petition asserts the basic rights of the OFWs to communicate with the outside world via their cell phones.
Pls click here: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/stopconfiscatingofwsphones/sign.html
The Art of Drifting
eastwind memoirs 13
by Bernie V. Lopez
I am a Filipino, a drifter in my youth. At the age of 26, I left New York City to embark on an adventure of a lifetime that I dubbed eastwind, hitchhiking 25,000 kilometers for 3 long years, drifting through 18 countries in Europe and North Africa. It was a mind-boggling heart-rending storm-chasing experience that changed me dramatically, every fiber of my soul.
I consequently wrote from sheer memory the book Wings and Wanderlust (The Art of Discovering Your Inner Self) 20 long years after. I took me two weeks of frenzied ‘stream of consciousness’ to finish the book, sleeping an average of 2 hours every night. I feared that if I stopped, I would lose the momentum. It took me one year to refine and edit it. The book is a mix of anecdotes and verses. This is the 13th excerpt from that book, others memoirs available at eastwind-memoirs-collection. To order the book, email email@example.com.
when you enter the dark forest
good and bad things lurk
to make and break your soul
take the chance, you will not regret it
darkness and light will encompass you
make the Lord your beacon
gather strength in His grace
and everything will fall into place
The art of drifting and self-discovery is based on things which are many times against everything we learned in school or in work. Perhaps the best way to explain it is through the so-called ‘brain matrix’ shown below. The right brain is the poet in you. The left brain is the engineer in you. Let us look at the matrix.
The Brain Matrix
the pendulum swung from structured to unstructured
order to chaos, completeness to vacuum
sequential to random, steps to non-steps
programs to non-programs, quantification to qualification
right brain to left brain
in all the absurdity there is meaning
in all the meaning there is absurdity
Everyone has a left and right brain. The art of wings and self-discovery belongs to the right brain. It is therefore important to make the right brain dominate your actions and decisions while on the road. Otherwise, you will not attract magical experiences by chance, you will find yourself more elusive, and you may remain in a whirlpool or vicious circle of caution and discipline.
play piano by ear
pictures, vision, ideas
words, grammar, vocabulary
one at a time
But there must be balance. You cannot survive the whirlwind if you are totally right-brained. Complete abandon to the whirlwind is not practical. There are limits to ‘un-planning’. Balance is the key. You have to have caution, measurement of risk, over and above your sixth sense, accounting of prices, of money left. Although the right brain dominates drifting and adventure, there is a time for the left brain to take over, especially in dangerous situations.
The right brain mysteriously senses danger but when it is there, the left brain must plan a course of action to avoid that danger. Left and right brains compliment each other like yin and yang, light and darkness. We know the meaning of darkness only because we know the meaning of light and darkness is the absence of light. Light and darkness are bound together and is manifested in the lights and shadows on a face. We do not see anything if it is white on white or black on black. We see everything if it is white on black or black on white.
Drifting is addictive. I have met people who have been on the road for twenty years. I did only 36 months and it was so filling and intense, I needed to stop. For me, drifting was only a ‘process’, a spiritual phase, a preparation for a vocation or a career or a mission, a key to self-discovery. It was not a way of life like for the few rare people I met on the road. For most drifters I knew, it was a phase in life. But there were a few rare ‘extremists’, the ‘hard core’, the ‘professional drifters’ who made it a way of life. It doesn’t mean they were in paradise all the time. There are always lapses, some wide, some narrow.
There was so much gain in drifting, but I thought that in the long term, drifting would kill my soul. It was enough, 36 magic months. Then, I was ready to go back home, stronger, wiser and so nicely less realistic, more defiant of the frenzied world, more rebellious, more questioning, more irreverent, more poor. It would be easier for you to go through any kind of crisis or pain after drifting. Pressure in work will not be pressure per se if you understand there is more to work.
to be idle is not evil
you must be empty so you can be filled
nothingness complements fullness
they are cosmic partners like yin and yang
like light and darkness yielding shadows and figures
when no thoughts enter your mind
that is the time you discern your being
you become aware of your fullness
be the undisturbed water in a pool
as smooth as a mirror
that you may see yourself clearly
joy is meaningful after sadness, feast after hunger
meditation and prayer, like night into day
begins with emptiness and ends with fullness
Finally, wings and self-discovery are a form of education beyond one’s wildest dream. I compare it to a doctorate but only much more. A doctorate degree can be an arm chair affair, vicarious, book-bound. Its wisdom is theoretical and of the mind. Drifting is sensual. Its wisdom is experiential and of the heart. I can still smell the fried fish in Tetouan, Morocco. I can hear the distant peal of sheep bells in the Portuguese countryside near Fatima. I can still feel the sting of fine grain of Sahara sand on my face.
But lessons learned are what I call ‘meta-sensual’. Beyond the sensual is the spiritual. When you feel the warmth of people, the children at the Mondego river in Portugal or the sensuous French Canadian who was running away from life, then there are spiritual lessons learned. I can still feel the faint brush of Maria’s hair on my soul in Las Palmas. I can still feel today the sorrow of seeing people in extreme spiritual pain in spite of their affluence. The wisdom of the mind is nothing. It is the wisdom of the heart which is true wisdom that makes you see yourself in others.
Fellow drifters from Mauritius at Pisa, Italy. Note the author’s eastwind sweater.
all is darkness, all is silence
suddenly, a nova blinds the eyes
thunder rapes the ears
all is darkness, all is silence once again
My general plan was to head south for winter where it was warmer. I was on a general direction towards southern Spain, that was all. Nothing specific. My right brain was functioning. That was good. But my left brain kept bobbing up. It was a product of my programmer’s time frame, quick, short and with no orientation to linger, overly conscious of efficiency. I was still a greenhorn as an adventurer. Order was pullng me down. I needed chaos. As soon as I saw a place, I moved. Drifting does not hurry. It lingers so one can absorb people and places more deeply. Drifting is precisely defying the regularity of nine to five schedule and programmed city life. Tourists who have no time have to hurry and cover a lot of ground in a short time. Time frame is a product of lifestyle. But you can change your time frame by changing your lifestyle.
I was starting to avoid the big cities because they posed more effort to get in, seek complex tourist information, then get out. It was more complex, more maps and streets to study, more for the left brain. The people in the cities were also more busy and colder. The thing was to simplify. The countryside and villages of Europe were more edible to me. The people were also more warm and had more time to talk. Quiet, no hustle and bustle, the Old World in its rural splendour was nice, more for the right brain.
Swiss friend. Stein-am-Rhein, Switzerland, near the German border.
The best medicine for loneliness or boredom on the road was the road itself, I was starting to learn. Pain and loneliness vanished instantly when the excitement of the road emerged, when I looked towards the horizon. This would happen many times, Madrid, Canary Islands, Zurich. Whenever I felt lonely, I ran away from it by achieving the speed of light. Motion was the best friend of the drifter. That was the advantage of wings. You can run anytime and to anywhere. You can run away from pain, at least for now, not forever.
My map intrigued me. There was this tiny nation called Andorra in the heart of the Pyrenees between Spain and France. My gut feel, rather, my right brain, said it was a nice mountain place. I had to see it. Passing through Beziers, Narbonne, Perpignan, Prades, I veered east towards the rugged Pyrenees instead of south towards Barcelona. I would not regret my decision. I worked as a construction worker and met the beautiful Catalan labourers who inspired me because, like me, they were the essential rebels who defied rules, the essential drifters who loved recklessness.
hitchhiking requires both left and right brains
left brain for the physical
right brain for the spiritual
miss one and you miss the other
it’s all or nothing
By the time I reached Barcelona from Andorra, I was completely transformed from my New York self. I was ready for the world, ready for Spain which colonized my country for three hundred years. Now, I was bold and daring. I was beginning to realize the importance of not planning and of walking aimlessly as the best form of drift. My nascent right brain was swelling and constricting my programmer’s left brain.
Getting lost in crowded cities became a habit… Athens, Rotterdam, Copenhagen. Once you got the hang of it, it was great, a powerful tool to absorb new places and new people. I drifted aimlessly, not knowing where to go but having the gut feel where to go. Discovering new places this way was better than a planned cerebral organized map-based or book-based tour. You have no expectations. You are not looking for a place a book mentions. Your left brain is recedes. Your right brain swells. You are thus surprised at seeing things. Later on, after another six months, I would expand unplanned city travel to unplanned country travel. I would hitch without knowing where to go. The essence of drift is the right brain.
I could hit the Canary Islands through a boat from Playa del Aaiun in the Spanish Sahara. The map said so in crude pencil marks. From there, it would be almost spring and I can head north through Cadiz in Spain up through Portugal back into Switzerland, where I could rest with uncle Robert Lips. That was the general plan. My left brain was taking over.
for the new adventurer danger is its own end
for danger is a deeply moving experience
but danger is a double-edged sword
one blade is the razor’s edge of excitement
the other blade is the razor’s edge of disaster
one has to make a choice
whether to take the tight-rope walk
whether to take the one giant leap
into the abyss leading to nowhere and everywhere
From Faro, I headed for Vila Franca de Xira to see the bulls. They gave me a good tip. This time, I had to make it on a specific date. It was a time to be prompt. I couldn’t miss it. My left brain took over. I made sure I made it on time even though I was hitching. I arrived at Xira after noon, just in time for the bulls. In the evening, the right brain was in charge. All the houses offered grilled sardinas frescas and agua pe (cheap red wine) to passers-by. I was drunk with joy. Alone, I slept in the woods, thanking the Lord for the gift of serendipity.
If drifting and self-discovery depends on your right brain most of the time, the one time the left brain plays a crucial role is in economics. You can throw all cares to the wind in terms of time, places to go, and people to see, but not in terms of money. Many amateur drifters have lost the ability to drift by simply ignoring this one important factor.
If you are so high and drunk with joy, make sure you have to have the right brain, the instinct, the nose, the sixth sense to sense danger, and the left brain to react quickly.
The economics of drifting is your left brain functioning. It is a good complement to your right brain which takes care of beautiful sunsets, exhilarating roller coaster rides and the magic of the road.
drifting is not just discovering places
it is discovering people
people are more exciting than places
people are complete universes in themselves
they have shooting stars and novas and galaxies and black holes
and time tunnels and solar winds inside their souls
you can see yourself only in others
and in sunsets that pass by momentarily
you are a mere reflection of someone you look at
if you look at someone with reverence or disdain
then you look at yourself
you are opaque to yourself
the other is totally transparent but only if you discern
what you see in others is really yourself
if you see beauty or ugliness
it is your beauty or your ugliness
the more you look inward
the more you see a bottomless pit
it is only in looking outward that you can see inward
if you are able to see the beauty of a single soul
in all its stark nakedness
you would be struck down in awe
and realize your soul is the same
To order the book, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read excerpts from a new book of the author
TEN WISDOMS OF THE LORD’S PRAYER
Book cover, Wings and Wanderlust (click photo to blow-up)
Collision of Milky Way and Andromeda Predicted
eastwind journals 161
By Bernie V. Lopez
at the center of every galaxy is a super-blackhole
that holds in its grip billions of stars
spinning and attempting to breakaway
You are the blackhole, Lord, and we are Your stars
EXCERPTS FROM THE BOOK Ten Wisdoms of the Lord’s Prayer
Note. Some photos posted here are not in the book. Courtesy of Hubble, NASA.
Cosmologists predict that our very own galaxy, the Milky Way, is set to collide with a neighboring galaxy, Andromeda. A galaxy, on the average, has about one trillion stars. Andromeda has about 1.2 trillion stars, bigger that our Milky Way, which has about a mere 800 billion stars.
But do not worry because this will occur in about 100 million years, when we are all dead. A galactic collision does not mean the stars will collide. They will simply pass each other, but in the process, the massive electro-magnetic maelstrom will result in the birth and death of millions of stars. The collision will take a few million years.
Central Region of our Milky Way Galaxy. The blackhole controlling the 800 million stars is surrounded by the bright light, an extreme concentation of stars.
Our next door neighbor, the galaxy Andromeda is the nearest to our Milky Way, a mere 20 million light years away.
The observable or known Universe is whatever we can ‘see’ from light coming to Earth. We cannot see beyond because light travelling from great distances has not yet reached us. Beyond that, we do not have an idea or consciousness of this unknown Universe. The known Universe is about 50 billion light years in diameter, where there are about 100 billion galaxies, each having an average of a trillion stars. So there are about 50 billion trillion stars (21 zeroes). That is how small we are, and how vast the Kingdom of God is, at least part of it.
However, because of consciousness, we are just as “big” or even bigger because what we see becomes part of us. What we see becomes what we are. In that sense, the physical Universe is spiritualized in our consciousness. Whenever we pray “Your kingdom come” we are asking God to ‘lend’ us this vast awesome kingdom. The Universe is mirrored in our souls. Our consciousness thus transcends time and space. We are small and big at the same time, small because we are a speck in the vast known Universe, big because the vast Universe is within our consciousness, our minds, our souls, and become part of our existence.
As the Hubble space telescope probes deeper and deeper into space, our consciousness expands with it to the outer limits that it is able to photograph in extreme high resolution. Let us bow down in prayer.
Lord of the Universe
Creator of 50 billion trillion stars
within 100 billion galaxies
what we see is just the tip
of Your creation and power
but it is enough for us
to kneel in humble adoration
of You, our Creator
WE WERE ONCE STARDUST
Our galaxy is part of a “cluster” of 30 galaxies. There are many other clusters around us, and together these many clusters form a “super-cluster”. We are part of the so-called Virgo super-cluster. Super-clusters together form a “filament”. There are hundreds of filaments in the known Universe.
2-dimensional clusters-voids map. Yellow circles are super-clusters, a conglomeration of many galaxies. We are part of the Virgo super-cluster. Blue circles are ‘voids’, mysterious dark areas of the Universe, “dark matter” theorized to have “dark energy” or powerful electro-magnetic storms which inhibit the emission of light. Note that voids are fewer but larger than super-clusters.
3-dimensional version of the clusters-voids map.
About a hundred billion years ago, there was a super-nova, a massive explosion of all explosions whose light illuminated half of the known Universe. Its remnants now form the Virgo super-cluster, our home. In that explosion, the first heavy metals were formed at millions of degrees Centigrade. Those heavy metals are now in our blood – iron, zinc, and more. It is therefore accurate to say that we came from stardust and to stardust we shall return, that is, billions of years from now – when our sun expands into a red giant, then collapses into a white dwarf, then collapse further into a black hole, then becomes a nova. We return to our roots, the stars. Seemingly, we are of star material, a cosmic brew that developed consciousness.
A nebula is a vast expanse of dust clouds and gases, remnants of a nova, or a star explosion. This is the majestic Trifid Nebula (M20 or NGC 6514) in the constellation Sagittarius. Its hypnotic character is due to its being many types of nebula in one – an open cluster of stars; an emission nebula, a reflection nebula. and a dark nebula.
we are dust
and to dust we shall return
in an earthly way
we are stardust
and to stardust we shall return
in a cosmic way
the iron in our blood
was formed a billion years ago
in a blinding super-nova
that was the power of God’s Creation
working through the Universe
to form Man into His image and likeness
A BLACKHOLE CONTROLS AN ENTIRE GALAXY
at the center of every galaxy is a super-blackhole
that holds in its grip billions of stars
spinning and attempting to breakaway
You are the blackhole, Lord, and we are Your stars
with our puny instruments
that we regard as awesome inventions
we are just beginning to understand
the mysteries of Your universe, Lord
at every turn, at every spectacle newly discovered
we discern a glimmer of Your wisdom and power
and we bow in utter adoration and prayer
Whirlpool Galaxy M51, 30 million light years away, merging with a smaller galaxy, or rather siphoning it in its grip.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Ten Wisdoms of the Lord’s Prayer
By Victor Cusi and Bernie V. Lopez
The book walks the readers thru the Lord’s Prayer, broken down into ten phrases, hence ten wisdoms. It gives fresh philosophical and theological insights into this Prayer of all prayers, sprinkled with a collection of 50 heart-rending anecdotes, mostly true stories. To order the book, send request to email@example.com.