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I was initiated to the much protested body x-ray scanning machine at the San Diego Airport during the Thanksgiving weekend. (FR headline, Nov. 26-Dec. 2, 2010). The x-ray machine was not in use at Newark Liberty International Airport when my son and I left last week for San Diego where we spent the holiday with my children.

After walking through the usual metal detector machine without belt and shoes and with empty pockets, we were asked to stand with two legs apart and arms straight up for 10 seconds facing the x-ray scanner. That’s it!

Reminds me of my prostate robotic surgery two years ago. I could see the machine in front of me, but not the surgeon who, like the x-ray scanner operator, was in one corner of the room “playing” with the machine.

To me, there is nothing to complain about the new body x-ray scanner except perhaps, its possible radiation risk on health, if any, for frequent users. But how many times do most of us ride an airplane?

I think the noise against this machine is an overreaction, especially those who have not experienced going through it. To me, any screening procedure aimed at protecting the riding public from terrorism is good for everyone.

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Every time North Korea acts up, it is said that it simply wants attention and money. Kulang sa pansin!

Apparently, the two international conferences recently held in South Korea and Japan, the G20 Meeting and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, were the triggers in the latest attack by the North Koreans on South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island. North Korea is not recognized by those two organizations, much less, by the international community.

Para mapansin, binomba ang isla!

But the problem in the Korean Peninsula is not that simple. It is very delicate considering that North Korea has nuclear capability and it is allied with China.

South Korea, on the other hand, is closely allied with the U.S. and Japan. Because of those reasons, the situation becomes a world problem. Of course, the Philippines, being an ally of the United States, is also involved and affected.

In fact, the lives of some Filipinos are already affected by the tense situation. The departure of  overseas Filipino workers going to South Korea has been temporarily stopped because of the tension created by the bombing last week.

I have cautioned my niece, a student at Emory University, who is supposed to study for one year in South Korea starting in February. I asked her to watch the events closely before deciding to go.

Perhaps, it is time to treat North Korea with firm glove through diplomacy.

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On domestic politics, remember the likable Mrs. Barbara Bush? She was interviewed recently on national TV. When asked what she thought of Sarah Palin, Mrs. Bush answered, “She is a beautiful person. She seems to be happy in Alaska. She should stay there.”

I agree, Sarah Palin should just stay in Alaska.

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It’s Christmas season again. If you are thinking of sharing your bonus, I would suggest the education programs for poor Filipino children being offered by some Fil-Am organizations or charitable groups.

One such charitable group is ANCOP (Answering the Cry of the Poor) U.S.A. Foundation. For $1.02 a day, one can send a poor Filipino child to elementary or high. Or for $2.00, one can send a poor Filipino to college.

The program is called ANCOP U.S.A. Child Sponsorship Program (CSP). If interested, you may call CSP’s program director Roger Santos at 848.459.8019 or send e-mail to: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

You may also visit www.ancopusa.org

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This space extends deepest condolences to Jun and Millie Hornilla of Jersey City for the passing of Jun’s sister who lived in the Philippines. The couple left for Manila for the burial.

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As many of you already know, Filipina singing sensation Charice was among the topnotch singers, like Mariah Carey, Josh Groban and Sheryl Crow at the lighting of New York’s most famous Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center on Tuesday evening. Half a million people witnessed the lighting and the entire event was carried live by NBC.

I held my breath while this talented Pinay was singing her first of two songs...not because I was afraid she would be out of tune because she won’t, but because I wanted to listen intently to her every note.

NBC’s Al Roker and Natalie Morales had high praises for Charice.

“Wow, what a voice!” was Roker’s reaction right after Charice ended her Christmas song.

Even David Foster, who accompanied Charice on the piano, couldn’t help showing amazement at his protégé.

At 18, Charice is made. If she would stick to her advice to budding singers, which is maintaining the grace of humility, she would go farther in her singing career. She adds another feather in the cap of Filipinos here in America and everywhere just as Manny Pacquiao does after his every fight.

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