Month: October 2020

The Importance of Taking Notes

Copyright of the image above belongs UMass Amherst


(Updated, 10/18/2020, 23:39 HST)


From prep all the way to college, to graduate and post graduate studies: The importance of note taking is so relevant to learning. Even in the workplace, during meetings, conferences, client interactions, note taking plays a pivotal role in achieving a greater understanding of the challenges we’re facing. On a personal level, it speaks of our humility and conviction, to accept that we’re not all-knowing–and that learning is a continuous process that must be carried throughout our lifetime.

I remember, when I was in my second year at Kapiolani Community College: Because, I was enrolled full-time. I saw the only way to earn a little to survive, was to apply as a note taker for people with disabilities to the University of Hawai’i. The requirements were: A legible handwriting, decent grade in upper English courses, decent GPA (grade point average), and good listening skills. I also had to show how I note take to get hired. And I did secure the job. I needed to do my duties well, so that the students assigned to me would succeed in their academic pursuits. I have to take notes for them legibly, accurately, and sensibly, to ease the challenges in their respective academic life. And at the end of every class, I have to show my notes to their professors, before I turn them in to the ADA (American Disability Act) Center, where the students can get them in person. I also made it sure to have copies of all class materials to supplement the notes. I had to ensure, I didn’t miss anything that was said and distributed in class.

Likewise, I remember, in one of the eulogies during the funeral service of the late former U.S. President George Herbert Walker Bush, former Canada Prime Minister Brian Mulroney shared his deep admiration for his beloved friend, seeing President Bush Forty-One took notes during an important event that they both attended. President Bush Forty-One did so to understand other nations’ leaders’ point of views, and for obvious reasons that he cared.

And those are just two very publicized accounts in light of the importance of note taking. I am sure that most of you, my dear fellow bloggers– who according to many reports are educated–you know the importance of note taking in the professional world. It is a testament to your earnest efforts in taking into account and to remind yourselves the priorities of your organizations or companies. It is evident to you engaging with one aspect of due diligence, which is critical to your integrity and credibility.

For when we take notes, it shows our professional skepticism that no matter how smart we are, we can’t fully entrust everything to memory alone. Simply, because, we can’t afford to miss significant information and/or facts, which could lead us to a sound decision and broaden our understanding.

So, I urge you to reflect in your good conscience, what does it mean when someone shows an empty pad? Especially, during a process that involves hundreds of millions of lives?

So, please tell me, what profession that doesn’t require taking notes? Is there anyone of us, who truly knows it all that would not need any new knowledge at all? Aren’t other people’s concerns and challenges worthy of our attentions and notepads? Is insensitivity an indicator of intelligence or arrogance?

As an aspiring jurist, one who had the privilege of working with and for the finest attorneys in Honolulu: I witnessed them all took notes during client interviews, hearings, depositions, research and discoveries. Some even brought their legal secretaries and or paralegals who took notes as well. And in the end, they compared their notes making sure nothing was unaccounted.

Because, hearing is different from listening. And their defining difference: The latter is both a skill and virtue, which makes listening the very foundation of note taking. For without listening, how can you take notes? And how can you attest that you are fully listening without taking notes?

Thus, if you have doubts on the importance of taking notes in our lives, please get your cellphones: Do you notice by default there’s an app for notes? I am an Apple user since 2010; and I can’t remember a version of iPhone, or iPad and iPod that doesn’t have notes as one of their default apps. Again, it’s because, taking notes is part of our lives. It is integral to our growth: it boosts our productivity; and it supplements our recollection and/or memory.

Lastly, public service is not a show. It involves lives, real lives, including those of generations to come. Public servants (be elected or appointed) must have some reverence to the trust endowed to them. And the least that they can do in exchange of that very precious trust, is to take notes of people’s concerns and to genuinely find time; to ponder and dare to act; strive to make a difference in people’s lives.



Please bear with me; I’m behind on yours. Forgive me. I’d make it up this weekend. Happy blogging to you all. I love you, WordPress!


The Greatest Threat to Democracy

Copyright belongs to Karremans Johannes of the European University Institute (for the image above)


(updated 10/20/2020, 23:04 HST)

THE greatest threat to democracy is a dictator, who abuse and misuse power against his own people, who have vested their trust and put him in the highest office of the land in hopes that their lives would be better. To grip onto power, the ungrateful chief executive cares less if he breaches that trust; worse, the ungrateful chief executive cares less if he violates people’s rights. For a dictator’s MO (modus operandi) is as follows:

            A dictator has no respect for the rule of law; he has no respect for civil liberties. A dictator is a fiduciary in breach of his duties; in his duty to care, in his duty to protect; in his duty to serve . He is someone whose moral compass is malfunctioning, because of his tight grip on power.

            A dictator has no reverence for the sacredness of that very rare privilege to lead his nation to a greater good. He has no reverence for true democracy (Obama, 2020). He has no reverence for that humbling privilege to serve his citizenry—what can be more unpatriotic?

            A dictator does not care if he overlaps and infiltrates the greatest institutions and agencies of the republic. Wittingly or unwittingly, he taints the sterling reputations of those institutions and agencies–as he demands loyalty (ironically, amid his betrayal). His message is to “make it clear” that he is in command. And that all should align their undertakings to his theatrical rhetoric regardless of its constitutionality and reasonableness.

            A dictator is vindictive to his own people, who voice their opposition against his ill-leadership. He cannot and will not tolerate peaceful protests, fearing that he would lose command, and his power would be outnumbered by the people who exercise their rights to free speech. He takes advantage of a national emergency, such as the current global pandemic of Covid-19 to deter and even punish his critics and protesters using abusive policing.

            A dictator abuses and misuses the weaponry of his nation against his own people who disagree with him. He twists facts. He misleads his people on unfounded, baseless, merit less conspiracy theories, all nothing but paranoia. He disseminates false or disinformation, to avoid transparency and accountability. He sows division, hatred and fear to divert people’s attention to the very fact that he simply cannot lead. He is a stranger to diplomacy, decency, and empathy; and a total alien to humility.

            A dictator abuses his nation’s resources and will resort even to criminal means for the sake of power. Power power power. To him, power is all that matters.

            A dictator treats public service as a business enterprise to enrich himself at the expense of his own people who continue to sink in poverty—what a very sad reality!

            The good news is people do have the power against dictators by exercising their rights to vote. They must ensure fair and honest election. They also must ensure elections are taking place accordingly. Because every election is an opportunity for the people to change the course of their history. Every election is an opportunity for the people to improve their lives and to make their nation rise to the occasion and overcome dictatorship. Every voting citizen must responsibly exercise the right to vote.

            Lastly, dictatorship is not leadership. And an autocrat is not much of a difference. As both engage in a subtle treason against a democratic republic; against “. . . the government of the people, by the people, and for the people” (Lincoln, 1863). Because in a democratic country the citizenry pledge allegiance never to a party more so, to a  dictator, nor to an autocrat; Rather, to the nation and sovereign “. . . government of the people, by the people, and for the people” (Lincoln, 1863). United States of America is the greatest inspiration of democratic nations. A north star of the free world, U.S. must relentlessly denounce dictatorship, autocracy and communism. It will be monumental and inspirational for the people of those nations to hear U.S. President Donald J. Trump rebuke the evils of dictatorship, autocracy and communism that are happening in the Philippines, in Russia, in Belarus, in Turkey, in China, in North Korea and perhaps somewhere else. It is hard to dismiss the fact that President Trump is seen too cozy with the dictators of those nations mentioned above, which according to many national security experts, the President’s personal choice of friendship and adversaries poses immense endangerment to U.S. It is important to note that historically, dictators and autocrats are men, abusive men who are so obsessed with power. Also note, although the late and former United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Margaret Tatcher (1925-2013) was widely criticized for her conservatism; but no one can accuse her of dictatorship. Her toughness in men’s world was warranted.

            Personally, I strongly believe that dictators and autocrats are not only the greatest threats to democracy; but, likewise, they’re the grave humiliations and embarrassments to great republics, disgrace to humanity and to civilized societies in this twenty-first century.



Lincoln, Abraham. (1863). The Gettysburg Address. The Library of Congress.

Obama, Barack. (2020) Democratic 2020 National Convention.


Copyrights belongs to Associate Professor Tom Gerald Daly, University of Melbourne (for the image above)