The business of shutting down

Summary:I had intended to write about the controversial National Broadband Network (NBN) deal, an issue that has been in the front-pages of newspapers here in the Philippines for a few months now--but the word "shutdown" was all around me today that I just had to give in to the temptation.First order of the day is the announcement of CA's decision to dissolve its Philippine operations, effective Oct.

I had intended to write about the controversial National Broadband Network (NBN) deal, an issue that has been in the front-pages of newspapers here in the Philippines for a few months now--but the word "shutdown" was all around me today that I just had to give in to the temptation.

First order of the day is the announcement of CA's decision to dissolve its Philippine operations, effective Oct. 5, and conduct business in the country via local partners, as part of its "channel partnership strategy".

This "carefully considered" strategy, according to CA's vice president for corporate communications Raj Seth, "has been under development in [the] Asia-Pacific and Japan region for a number of years".

"Far from reducing our commitment to the Philippines, CA is putting into place a service structure able to draw on a heritage of local industry expertise, coupled with in-depth cultural awareness of the Philippines market," Seth said in a statement.

This development, in my view, is symbolic for a company considered as the world's fourth largest software companies--standing alongside Microsoft, SAP and Oracle. With two Asian immigrants as its top officers--founder Charles Wang was then chairman and Sanjay Kumar as CEO--the company was once a symbol of pride for the continent.

But unable to shake off the effects that hit the corporate world after the Enron scandal, Wang was soon forced to prematurely leave his post while Sri Lankan-born Kumar suffered a more miserable fate when he was convicted of financial fruad charges and slapped with a jail term in the United States.

The company did try to rise out of the rubble but the damage was already done. The closure of the CA's Philippine office, in my view, is a clear effect of that setback.

Joy Balmadres, the Filipino-born Singaporean country manager of the now-defunct CA Philippines, is reported to have been offered a severance package, along with her staff who are now officially jobless.

Going to my second "shutdown" moment, I learned just now that Netopia, the largest Internet café chain in the Philippines, is also closing down its branches in Bangkok, Thailand.

I still remember the day when Netopia, then rapidly expanding after being acquired by dominant carrier PLDT, gathered a group of journalists (I was not one of them) to cover the grand launch of the first Netopia branch in Thailand.

Obviously, the formula didn't work...perhaps because things worked entirely differently here and in Thailand. The latest word I've received is that there is presently just one store, at The Mall Bangkapi, left standing in Bangkok. Pretty soon, this lone fellow would also have to say goodbye to Thais.

Lastly, I picked up my last "shutdown" encounter from a press statement issued by a lady senator, Loren Legarda, on her desire to have a pornographic site boybastos.com, obliterated completely from cyberspace.

In her statement entitled "Legarda wants 'Boy Bastos' shut down", here's what she has to say:

"This is by far the filthiest Internet site we've come across that offers open and unlimited access to some of the most obscene videos and photographs of Filipino women and girls... Our biggest worry here is free access. Other adult sites at least require prior user registration and credit card details, which somehow help to screen or discourage minors."

The senator then urged the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) and National Bureau of Investigation to find ways to shut off boybastos.com, which claims on its site to be "the premiere bastos portal of the Philippines'."

By the way, "bastos" is the Filipino word for malicious or vulgar. Thus, boybastos is a boy or young man who has those rude traits.

With those "shutdown" moments, I'm now feeling a little down. I am therefore dozing off as this computer shuts down.

Topics: Philippines

About

Joel has been a media practitioner since 1996, starting off as a reporter and eventually becoming editor of a pioneering IT trade newspaper in Manila. He is currently one of the content producers of a Manila-based developmental website.

About

Melvin G. Calimag is currently the executive editor of an IT news website in the Philippines. Melvin has been covering the local IT beat for the last 13 years. He is currently a board member at the IT Journalists Association of the Philippines (CyberPress), and also serves as a charter member with the Philippine Science Journalists Associ... Full Bio

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