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- The SONA of DU30: The Good, the Bad and the Funny
- Antonio Luna, science and the emerging Filipino national identity by Benjamin Vallejo Jr
- Announcement STS: List of Approved Topics for the Group Project Midyear 2016
- Rizal and His Dragon: Man of Science or Scientist?
- Book Reading Assignment for STS X4 – Midyear 2016
- Are We Ready For The Internet That Will Be?
- You Want Him Buried at Libingan Ng Mga Bayani by Ed Lingao
- It Is Our Fault Why the Marcoses Are Back
- The Importance of a Social Gadfly or In Praise of Social Gadflies
- Karaoke: Ang Kaibigan Kong Dilaw
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This is one of my favourite chapters in Rizal’s EL Filibusterisimo. It perfectly captures the universal inequality of things in the world. The steam ship Tabu or taboo is the perfect image of among other things the state of Internet connectivity in the Philippines. Tabo is a Filipino word for water dipper initially from coconut shell, which progressed to an empty can and presently plastic complete with a handle. It is used to get and pour water when bathing and effectively washing any body part that needs to be washing. The Tabo is standard in most Filipino houses and is an alternative to the toilet paper or TP.
This explains why in Rizal’s Novel the steamship Tabo struck a chord. Imagine a ship named after the implement that helps one to wipe his ass. Rizal is very droll.
I am reminded of the good steamship Tabo when a few weeks there were tweets and FB posts reacting to the state of the Internet in the Philippines. And this could be dumped up in the phrase unequal, stratified, and divided – the Great Digital Divide.
This is nothing new. Studies have time and time mentioned the divide and stratification. The state of the our Internet is like Rizal’s steamship Tabo – ‘ quite dirty in spite of her pretensions to whiteness, majestic and grave from her leisurely motion”.
And like the steamship Tabo the Internet we can have differs – different depending on one’s economic class. Some are on the upper deck enjoying a derive that tries to be first class from time to iimd. And the great majority are located below deck suffering and enduring slow, bad or no Internet concoction.
The challenge of closing the gap in the digital divide is not an easy problem to overcome. Some believer hat market forces and commerce would eventually drive the extinction of this gap/ But as we can see the divide is not only in the connection but on consistent speed – in other words the quality of the service. And here market forces must be aided no strengthened by the concept of the Internet as a utility and not just a value added service. Something that has been consistently called for but sadly falls o the deaf ears of the National Telecommunication Commission.