the babel machine


Saturday, March 26, 2005

help mary crystal alojipan

Update: Mary Crystal Alojipan is back home, safe and sound. See my latest blog post, and thanks to everyone who helped.

It's shocking but this morning I read an e-mail from one of our fellow tech journalists, asking for help because his 14-year-old-daughter is missing.

Here is a picture of his daughter Mary Crystal F. Alojipan. If you see her or learn her current status, please call the Philippine National Police 117 c/o Agent Code 0044 (or anybody) and give the full details. You may also email her father Selwyn Alojipan at ; or call +63-2-435-2783 and +63-918-9259290.

I'm posting the details Selwyn e-mailed:

Announcement of Missing Person: Mary Crystal F. Alojipan

My daughter, Mary Crystal Frias Alojipan, age 14 (born 31-Aug-1990), left our house alone at 8-C Maginoo Street, Barangay Pinyahan, Quezon City on 12:30pm, Maundy Thursday, 24 March 2005, to go to her sister's house in Pacita Complex, San Pedro, Laguna. She was supposed to take a bus from EDSA Kamias and should have arrived sometime at about 2pm. She didn't arrive and we all got worried and called up her friends and classmates.

At 11:20 am, Good Friday, 25 March 2005, Crystal called up our home phone crying. She said her bus had been held up and she didn't know where she was. We asked her questions but she was crying and very distraught. She said she was safe and with a few of the other passengers who had been given shelter by a certain "Helen Arcilla," owner of a sari-sari store on "#45 Claro Street, Magallanes," (no mention of barangay, city, or province). When we asked to talk to the lady, Crystal said they were having lunch and that we should call again at "02-892-0105" to talk to them.

Other details: Crystal said she wanted to go home but didn't have money so the people in the store wanted her to exchange her watch for some cash. I was worried that she might encounter another incident on the way so my wife and I said we'd go to fetch her if she can wait. In the meantime, I told her to remember and write down as much of the details of her robbery for later analysis. All the while she was crying but seemed unable to give any details without having to ask someone beside her. We never heard anyone else talk on the phone. We have received no other phone calls from her or about her current condition and location.

We prepared to leave for Magallanes and tried to call the number but there was no answer. On arrival at Magallanes EDSA Interchange, we went to the PNP detachment under the Interchange and discovered there was no "#45 Claro Street" anywhere in Makati and that the number "02-8920105" belonged to "Don Bosco Technical Institute." Like wise no "892-0105" number could be dialled at area codes 46 (Cavite) or 44 (Laguna). So far, there are also no reports of any bus robberies or holdups that took place on that date. This leads to the conclusion that most or all of the other info provided to us by Crystal in her conversation was coerced on her or made bogus by the person/s having custody of her.

I called up my brother Glenn who was staying temporarily in Ternate, Cavite, and he tried to go to Magallanes town near Maragondon, Cavite, but couldn't locate the address or the "Helen Arcilla." I sent the word out to PNP 117, filed a police blotter at QCPD Station 10, and at the Women's and Children's Desk of the PNP CIDG in Camp Crame. Likewise, the information is now on the Malacañang War Room hotline flashed to all PNP units.

Attached is her photo and other personal details. Height = 5'1"; Weight = about 90-100 pounds (40 kg); chinky-eyed, round face, shoulder-length curly hair; loose (fractured) upper inner right incisor. Last seen wearing blue jeans, striped multi-colored blouse, black step-in sandals, and carrying a black backpack. She didn't have a cellphone with her. You may get other details about Crystal at her Friendster accounts: mca_virgo and mca_berks.

She's finishing third year high school at Don Quintin Paredes High School (Anonas St., Project 2, QC).

If you see her or learn her current status, please call PNP 117 c/o Agent Code 0044 (or anybody) and give the full details. You may also email me at ; or call +63-2-435-2783 and +63-918-9259290. We need your assistance as well as prayer at the soonest possible time so we can recover our daughter.

Later I will be giving the full details to various TV, radio, and print media outlets for public assistance.

Selwyn Clyde M. Alojipan Quezon City, Philippines Posted by Hello

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 8:59 AM :: 5 Comments:

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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

peter moore on xbox and xenon

"We are always aiming to do better. The day we stop setting new goals will be the day we concede this market to Sony."

With these words, Peter Moore, corporate vice president of Worldwide Marketing and Publishing for the Home and Entertainment Division of Microsoft Corp., made it clear that the software giant is committed to aggressively pushing the Xbox and its next-generation console codenamed Xenon not only in Japan, but throughout the Asia Pacific.

Read my hackenslash article as Moore talks about how Japanese developers are embracing Xenon and how Microsoft will continue to help build "Asia’s gaming ecosystem."

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 4:21 PM :: 0 Comments:

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he loves this game

It was a double overtime. Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash had barely a minute to tie the game for a possible third overtime. But the Canadian cager was shooting blanks despite his three-point streak in both overtimes.

The latest news from the NBA? Nope, it's hackenslash reporter Erwin Oliva's review of NBA Live 2005 for the PC platform.

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 4:03 PM :: 0 Comments:

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adventures of a super robot when he was a boy

Hackenslash contributor Jing Garcia parties with Astro Boy on the Game Boy Advance.

Read his hackenslash review.

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 4:00 PM :: 0 Comments:

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say you want a revolution

Any GameCube owners reading this blog? I'm sure you're happy to know that the next-gen Nintendo console codenamed Revolution will be backward compatible with the Cube, and will feature built-in wifi protocols.

Read the hackenslash article.

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 3:57 PM :: 0 Comments:

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rp defends jessup cup

March is celebrated as Women's Month, making it fitting that women's power is very much evident in the composition of the Philippine team that will defend the country's crown in the 2005 Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition that will be held in Washington D.C. from March 28 to April 3.

The Philippines, which will once again be represented by the Ateneo Law School, is the defending champion, since the Ateneo Philippine Jessup Team 2004 won the World Championship last year, defeating the likes of Harvard, Yale, Cambridge and Oxford.

Read my Global Nation story about the Ateneo Philippine Jessup Team 2005.

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 3:52 PM :: 0 Comments:

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face of the assassin

You may have seen Willow of Philippine Ragnarok Online many times, but have you ever wondered about the woman behind the assassin? Claire Chan puts aside her gauntlet and purple tights to talk about alternate endings, the Willow Dance, and a balance beam.

Read Joan Ong's story in hackenslash.

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 3:47 PM :: 0 Comments:

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Monday, March 21, 2005

piracy and the philippines

Piracy is a thorny issue in the Philippines. I think very few here can be holier-than-thou and say they haven't bought a pirated game, bootleg DVD or other counterfeit good at some point. Yet most of us agree that piracy is a crime.

Read my Infotech article "Game piracy may be financing other crimes: ESA exec," based on my e-mail interview with Ric Hirsch, senior vice president for intellectual property enforcement of the Entertainment Software Association. ESA is the US industry association representing the world's biggest game publishers, and is the owner and operator of Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3).

I've already gotten feedback from those who feel it's absurd to link game piracy to organized crime. I think this really shows how we as consumers see piracy in terms mainly of getting a bargain, and that most of us think it's a victimless crime. But have we ever stopped to think about the economic scale of the operations that bring these bootleg products to the hands of our friendly neighborhood pirates?

A reader e-mailed me about this article, saying he was an IT consultant who buys pirated games in order to "evaluate" them, so that he can buy the original copies if he likes the games. He feels that it's absurd of the ESA to allege that proceeds from game piracy could be funding other criminal activities like drug smuggling or even terrorism.

But I think what he fails to consider is that piracy is an international crime, a global phenomenon. It's a very profitable criminal enterprise, and while it's absurd to think that every individual pirate is directly involved with drug or arms smugglers, what the ESA and law enforcement agencies are saying is that the big syndicates mass-producing and shipping pirated games all over the world are also involved in other crimes, including drugs and terrorism in some countries. And since no one will sell these products if no one is buying them, we as consumers are also part of this food chain.

Here's part of my reply to this reader:

I think most of us agree that it (piracy) is a crime, and that if we ourselves own a form of intellectual property (for instance, our game developers, or IT programmers, or we journalists), we wouldn't want others to rip us off and use our products illegally.

You might think what Hirsch is saying is absurd, but think about it: Piracy is a very big business all over the world. We are talking about syndicates investing a huge amount of money in machinery, regularly bribing Customs personnel and other government officials, and shipping their products to different international markets. Is it really that farfetched to think that the syndicates in Malaysia, China, Russia and other major producers of pirated games are also involved in other illegal activities like drug and arms smuggling?

The Philippines might be more of a consumer rather than a manufacturer of pirated games, but the criminals who bring these goods in illegally and make them available to retailers wouldn't be doing this if piracy wasn't a big business. That's what Hirsch is saying, that as consumers we might only think of buying pirated goods in terms of getting a bargain, but actually we're part of a food chain that is by itself a large-scale criminal enterprise and conceivably funds other illegal activities. And if we want to support Filipino game developers, then we must also stop condoning piracy. Piracy is partly what did in Anito: Defend a Land Enraged, and it's cold comfort for our Filipino game developers to get international awards and praises for their games when they're being robbed of their hard-earned money.

If you'd like to read more on the subject, a number of articles about the links [between] software piracy and organized crime have come out over the years, some of which include:

Software Piracy Report: Part II

The Impact of Counterfeit Software,1759,1061752,00.asp

Again, I'm not going to be a hypocrite. Piracy has made games, movies, music and other goods affordable to more Filipinos. But if we want to become producers of original Filipino games instead of just being consumers, then we have to start supporting our game developers. But look what's happening. Our knowledge workers are trying to produce original Filipino content, but the public would rather keep getting things for free or almost free. Pati Anito pinirata. Pati OPM pinipirata. Pati Filipino movies pinipirata.

I don't really have the answers, because I know most of this is based on economics, and that piracy is a cheap alternative for most Filipinos. But I dream of the day when the Philippines will also become a world-class game development center, when our talented game designers and programmers can earn a decent living in this country and compete with the world's best without having to leave the Philippines.

I dream of the day when the Philippines will become a major market for international game publishers, with companies like Electronic Arts investing in the country and putting up actual Philippine subsidiaries.

I dream of the day when Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo will actually launch their consoles in the Philippines, instead of us having to get our units through the gray market. Heck, we don't even have Xbox Live legally in the Philippines.

Sure, you might say it's an impossible dream, and the current woeful state of the Philippine game development industry is just part of the overall pitiful state of our country. But at some point we'll have to wake up and realize that we can't be consumers forever -- and even then we're already too small a market of consumers to begin with and we just buy pirated goods anyway, so why the heck should foreign companies invest in our country? It's not like we're China, which, like it or not, has been able to get away with piracy because of the sheer size of its market and its investment on infrastructure, local manufacturers, game developers and other homegrown industries. Not to mention that it's a military superpower, so hey, it's not like we can complain about how unfair it is to pick on a Third World country like the Philippines when other countries are the ones producing pirated goods.

What we have to realize is that we have to develop a competitive advantage as a nation -- not just talented individuals who more often than not end up migrating to other countries. We have to stop this endless cycle of thinking that it's OK for people to break laws because they're poor, because at the end of the day we have to stop feeling sorry for ourselves and start getting our act together.

We're a Third World country because of our Third World mentality.

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 9:34 AM :: 7 Comments:

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clair's corner

Say hello to Clair Ching, our Friday YOU Blog Addict.

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 9:27 AM :: 0 Comments:

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