By Michael L. Tan
Last Friday I wrote about how sleeping, which seems to be something totally biological, can also be cultural, because across societies, there can be sharp differences in the way we look at sleeping: where we sleep, when we sleep, really how we sleep.
By Danilo S. Venida
On the sacrifices of generations past are nations built. The Philippines is moving forward on the sacrifices of overseas Filipino workers. The diaspora in the last 45 years is the single biggest reason why the country is in the throes of becoming a tiger economy, soon able to show its people that in time they will not need to seek work in other lands.
Something new happens today—in Indonesia. Our biggest Southeast Asian neighbor will mark May 1 as Labor Day for the first time in its history. According to the Jakarta Post, some 100,000 workers are expected to take to the streets of Jakarta. But to countries like Malaysia and the Philippines, the celebration of Labor Day presents, not an exciting development, but an old, even dull, ritual.
In the end, a perfectly rational explanation may yet turn out to be the reason for the mysterious disappearance from the skies of Malaysia Airlines MH370. One plausible theory, propounded by a veteran pilot, suggests that the plane’s cockpit suffered a sudden catastrophic fire that overwhelmed its two pilots before they could radio for help or manage an emergency landing. They managed to turn the plane leftward, however, in the direction of Langkawi, Malaysia, where there was an airstrip, but with the pilots rendered incapacitated, the plane flew on until it ran out of fuel and plunged into the sea. A cockpit fire may also account for the breakdown in the transponders and communications systems, which prevented the plane from sending any SOS before its presumed crash.
By Ernesto M. Pernia
A plethora of explanations has been advanced as to why the Philippines falls well behind the other four Asean originals (Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia). These range from the protectionist policies for “infant industries,” political instability particularly in the 1980s that practically shooed Japanese FDIs (foreign direct investments) to our neighbors, weak governance and dysfunctional institutions, to poor infrastructure, rapid population growth, brain and skills drain from massive emigration, etc. While all these likely mattered one way or another, little is said about the underinvestment in education in general and in science and technology (S&T) in particular. Being a public good, education and S&T create positive externalities and, hence, tend to be privately underconsumed and undersupplied especially in terms of quality.