Christmas Vacation and my Christmas Books

piles of books (whew!)

piles of books (whew!)

Christmas break finally started last week. I was so thrilled because there seems to be lots of things to do in the Christmas break! For one thing, I miss watching anime because I was too busy finishing my end-of-the-year-papers. And I miss sleeping, waking up late in the morning, and having much time to smell and sip my morning coffee.

I’ve been reading a lot of books (at least, starting to read) lately. I’m doing routines stuffs every vacation breaks since I usually stay at home the whole day (I don’t like going out that much). So my normal day would be eating, sleeping, watching TV, reading, or chatting in the internet.

So back to the books, I’m reading –
Happy Endings by Luis Joaquin Katigbak. I just finished my required book review (in one of my major subjects) and I chose this book without hesitation because I like the book myself. That’s a plus – at least, I didn’t have a hard time doing my homework.
The Selected Poetry of Rainier Maria Rilke – I’m not really ‘scrutinizing’ the poems, I’m just reading 2-3 poems each day. If I understand it, good. If I don’t, then nothing happens. Probably in the future I’d be able to understand most of his poems (they’re difficult to understand, but there is something in the poems that you can feel, and I don’t know what’s this mysterious emotion). One of my favorite poems is the one with the first line, “World was in the face of the beloved.” That sentence says so much, it feels like it’s a whole story already.
The Great Divorce by CS Lewis. I love CS Lewis. I read his Narnia series and I came to like the author very much. When I stumbled upon this book in the library I thought this might be interesting, so I borrowed it.
An Anthology of Aesthetic Theory – I miss critical theories (honestly!) so I’m still reading a few art theories, theories of interpretation, treatise, etc. In intense moments of concentration, I find the readings really pleasurable (treatise that are not discussed in class, of course). I love Criticism class and I love theories. I don’t know why is this, but through studying it, it paved a way for a much wider perspective on looking at things. And critical theories in literature are not boring (at least, not all of them) entirely.

Lolita

Lolita

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov – I just downloaded the ebook of this story, and well, when I first read the first few lines of the book, I was immediately hooked to the story. The translated version feels as if it’s pure poetry! It’s lovely to read it aloud, you can feel the words being chewed in your mouth, sort of, like ice cream.

Sigh. I wish I have lots of books to read. And I hope that I have lots of time to read them. Well, anyway, time has its own way to draw itself to us, and we, as humans, have to deal with them in anyway that we can. Happy Christmas everyone!

I’m Out of Food!

I was walking in the street when I noticed a long queue of people waiting to buy at least three kilos of rice from the NFA. This is because the market price of the rice in the country nowadays has skyrocketed from 23Php to a painstaking 33Php. But the rice that is being sold in the NFA-accredited stores only costs 18Php, which is convenient to low-income families. Some people find this alarming, but others remained to be passive about it and say that the people are just in the state of ‘panic-buying’.

Hunger is apparently widespread in the country, and it is not only because we have problems in the supply aspects, but the growing demand for food is rapidly increasing each year because of the growing population. Thus, the problem is relative to other problems as well, which includes the employees demanding for a wage increase, transportation groups calling for fare hikes, and the mounting uneasy of the administration’s performance on alleviating poverty of the people.

But with the advent of the agribiotech research on Golden Rice, chances are big that this would alleviate hunger in the country, researchers said.

Golden Rice is one of the genetically modified crops that are in the research pipelines today, along with virus-resistant papaya, bt eggplant, and many more. It is GM rice engineered to produce pro vitamin A. Because it has a value added pro vitamin A, it is regarded as a cure for the Third World countries’s widespread deficiencies in vitamin A that would decrease the risks of blindness in children and other vitamin A related-deficiencies. When you think about it, it seems to be totally amazing, but some critics say the otherwise.

Issues raised by the GMO critics are mainly centered on safety issues of the said modified rice. And they also insisted that there are absolutely alternative and cheap medicines to combat vitamin A deficiencies. Furthermore, beta-carotene/pro vitamin A is consumed when Golden Rice is eaten, but it is a only a precursor for vitamin A, so therefore, in order to absorb vitamin A, one should also consume food that is rich in protein and fat, with which the low-income families couldn’t afford readily. What’s more, they also said that Golden Rice is like a Trojan horse, that if we learn to accept it, then it would be easy to accept other GM crops as well.

Another issue is also the capitalist control. Will other people tend to become richer than the other people? Is there a uniform sizes in the pie in terms of global distribution?

But the truth is, the technology behind the Golden Rice is given free of charge to subsistent farmers. And the issue of capitalist control is not possible because it would not be developed for and by an industry. But let’s just hope and be wary that the benefits of this would outweigh capitalist control and consumers would also benefit from the GM technology.

This is a great leap to limit the possible numbers of blind children and vitamin-A deficiency-related deaths, however, scientists and researchers should be certain of this technology before releasing it to the market. There is definitely a need to continuous monitoring and proper regulation for the introduction of this GM crop.

Presently, Golden Rice is still under rigorous research. IRRI and PhilRice are the two institutions that investigate this project as of the moment. It is said to be available in 2010.

By then, I hope I won’t see a long queue of people in the street squeezing themselves to buy rice.