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Automation pains and paper cranes



ORIGAMI, the Japanese art of paper folding, is usually considered to be a pastime of young girls in pigtails. But blogger Marck Ronald Rimorin doesn’t care. While listening to lectures at a training workshop on covering elections currently being conducted by the PCIJ in Subic, Rimorin has been feverishly making one paper crane after another.

He says it’s because he is suffering from anxiety over the 2010 elections, which he fears will again be dishonest, unfair, and violent. “May magpapasabog na naman ng presinto, may mamamatay na naman na titser, madadaya na naman tayo (Precincts will be bombed, teachers may be killed again, and we will cheated once more),” he says.

And so Rimorin thought of making a thousand paper cranes. According to Japanese lore, anyone able to fold a thousand paper cranes will be granted a wish by the gods, and we’re assuming Rimorin is wishing for free, fair, and peaceful elections. Which also seems to be on the minds of the 16 journalists, bloggers, and campus writers participating in the workshop on “Covering Automated Elections and Campaign Finance.”

The second in an eight-part training seminar series conducted by PCIJ on election reporting — with support from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and the USAID – the four-day activity started Wednesday afternoon at the Subic Holiday Villas at Subic Bay Freeport. When PCIJ executive director and training facilitator Malou Mangahas posed the question, “What’s your biggest worry in the coming elections?” to the participants, the responses ranged from breaches of ethical journalism to the failure of automated polls.

The coming elections require a leap of faith, said John Bayarong of Subic Times. He warns of the possibility of people becoming disenchanted with the electoral system and resorting to other means should the 2010 polls be tainted.

“Masakit pag sumesemplang (It would hurt if it fails),” said Bayarong. ” E hindi lang ngayon ang eleksyon. Baka pag masakit, hindi na sila mag-participate uli. E eleksyon lang ang paraan ng pagpapalit ng leaders na hindi masakit. Pag lumabas ka sa eleksyon, masakit hindi lang sa indibidwal, kundi para sa buong bayan (That won’t be the only election we will have. If it doesn’t work, people may not want to participate in subsequent polls, and elections are the only way we get to change leaders with little pain. If we don’t do that through elections, it’s not only painful for the individual, but also for the entire country) .”

Dennis Jamito of Bombo Radyo who covers the Commission on Elections and defense beats, meanwhile worried that instead of the fully automated polls being effective, what would take place would be “automated cheating.”

For Lei Alviz of GMA 7, a faulty automation program would be even more prone to cheating but harder to detect, while John Roson of Bandera expressed fears of ending up with a president who would bring nothing but problems.

And then of course there was Rimorin, who has taken to making origami cranes. In many schools across the world, children are still told of the story of 10-year-old Sadako, who was two years old when Hiroshima was bombed during World War II. She later developed leukemia, and while in hospital, her best friend told her about the legend of the thousand paper cranes. Little Sadako thus began folding paper cranes, wishing to get well, but she passed away before she could make 1,000 of them. Her classmates later folded the 356 cranes she still lacked, and she was buried with a thousand of the paper birds.

There are about eight more months to the 2010 polls. As of Thursday afternoon, Rimorin had 32 paper cranes.


Originally posted by: Jaemark Tordecilla and Rowena C. Paraan

excerpt from: PCIJ Blog


September 13, 2009 - Posted by | National, Unusual

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