About ed_roa

Retired marketing, advertising and market reseach man.


From within, glowing in all directions
The pit of the coconut pulses
Touching strange forests and alien strands
Self numbed into nothing, nothingness

All senses are divested from self
A wearisome travel to borderless regions
There the life nectar freezes still
Like hail stones roll, rolling

All the feelings and emotions are roused
A burning sunburst on bare heads
Searing a presence that will not be doused
From their infinite perch stars drop, dropping

Trapped like mangy wild beasts
Scurrying in every which way
Toil animals quivering at each whip snap
Waiting for the sun to die, dying

Sea Escape

My eyes pulled down the window shutters;
Flushed the bowl, turned off the high cool,
And shut the casita door with a slam
Summer now stored in a box of pixel images

Your watch says go now, the desk awaits the keys
Keep the cockles, half shells and dry kelp
Even as the tide wanted to take it back to sea
But soon these, too, will be lost in the shimmer

No goodbyes, go as you have come
I won’t be by the parasols nor the divers’ stand
Promises now as paper boats riding the waves
Crashing, dissipating into frothy crests

I walk alone by the fringe of a churlish sea
Midst the commotion of sea birds
Fighting over wide eyed crabs scurrying
As I gather precious shells washing in

Already I have forgotten you
Nothing but the soft whisper of waves
And the sparkle of bejeweled sand
Spoil me as I bask in the motherly sun

I cannot go home ‘cause I am home
My soul is imprinted on the white sands
The call of great whales sound my coming
Mermaids on dolphins wave in greeting

The sandy depths now my garden patch
With corals and the barnacles in bloom
I cling to driftwoods and wrecked derelicts
Happily counting seashells and chasing wee fish

Ethics in Advertising

“What is the difference between unethical and ethical advertising? Unethical advertising uses falsehoods to deceive the public; ethical advertising uses truth to deceive the public.” ~Vilhjalmur Stefansson, 1964

There has been a preponderance of products claiming to aid vital organs from harm caused by lifestyles that are characterized by excessive indulgence in eating, bohemian living and other unsafe and immoderate diversions. So now we have products that address renal problems, cardiac diseases, diabetic ailments, optical deficiencies and a few more illnesses that are probably in the drawing boards of business men and advertising agencies. I would think that the bigger and more responsible multinational pharmaceutical companies are not into this. I could only surmise that their parent companies abroad would not allow products with spurious claims be identified with their company, also, the legislation in the more advanced countries would be more stringent on products of this nature. The products that are in the market offer no proof at all to back up their claims. A nebulous caution said and flashed in a millisecond; “No approved therapeutic claim” seems to absolve them from any blame arising from the products’ non-function and the ill effects that may arise from their usage.

The frequencies of the advertisements by which these products are now aired are just a little less intense than those applied in detergents and shampoos advertising. With this kind of incessant repetitions I would presume that the claimed and speculated medicinal efficacy of these products have been drummed in effectively in the audiences’ minds. They are now happy in the belief that they can indulge just a bit more on things that are high cholesterol, carcinogen suspect, high sodium, and the overly sweet. Worst, they may even think that these products would be sufficient to substitute for the physician prescribed expensive maintenance medicines. While most of them would not be as blatant as to promise overtly a cure for sickness, they create through masterful advertising, the perception that they are truly efficacious. I think we should be on guard about perceptions because perceptions are most often mistaken for truths.

Note that at the end of these advertisements a phrase is flashed in a split second saying “No approved therapeutic claims”. Does it mean that whatever is claimed or what has been the intended perception of the advertisement did not pass the scrutiny of the vettors and is meant to be a caveat to the market?

I do not understand why there is a need for such a caution. If there is a need to caution the consumers about certain products why allow them to be marketed at all. Sin products like cigarettes and alcoholic beverages are truthful because they do not hide the fact that their products are harmful and that the consumers should consume them moderately, as in the case of alcoholic drinks and an outright admission to their being hazardous to health, as in the case of cigarettes.

It seems that the early marketers of these easy cures tested the waters and when they were not rebuffed by the authorized screeners they became emboldened to invest on media intensive campaigns. Many products of the same ilk and bearing the same caution followed soon after.

We now have what I would call snake oil cures for ailments for every known ailment. Our poor consumers are predisposed to believe these dubious panaceas because of the prohibitive cost of conventional medicines these days. They easily fall prey to these unscrupulous merchants.

Shouldn’t the Food and Drug Administration and/or the Ad Board (self regulatory body of the ad industry screening advertisements prior to airing) have disallowed the airing of advertisements of products with unsubstantiated claims in an area that is potentially harmful to people?

But then, who is to complain? The companies’ get their sales, media and ad agencies get their revenues from services rendered, government get higher tax yields. It’s only us, the consumers who get the shorter end of the stick.

Political Polls – How Reliable Are They?

“I gather, young man, that you wish to be a Member of Parliament. The first lesson that you must learn is, when I call for statistics about the rate of infant mortality, what I want is proof that fewer babies died when I was Prime Minister than when anyone else was Prime Minister. That is a political statistic.” (Winston Spencer Churchill)

The use of research whether applied to marketing or scientific endeavors that better the human condition is a vital and noble occupation. Advancements in most of the things that people now enjoy have been, in one way or the other, helped out by research. It is a very powerful tool in the pursuit of new knowledge and the improvement of existing wisdom.

Like most effective scientific methods with wide practical utility, research is easily subjected to misuse though, sometimes, unwittingly by one or two of the parties involved in the research.

My own personal view is that it becomes suspect when used in politics, especially in the local context, where the motive of the fact finding is often ill intended [Read more…]

Lovestruck Tanka for Valentine

1. Come let us gambol
Trampling down wild flowers
Jumping low bushes
Scraping your knees on sharp thorns
Let me kiss away the sore

2. I might chance to see
Your loveliness and your grace
In the first glimmer
Are you prettiest in sunlight
Or in the glow of full moon?

3. Do you think in dread
That your indiscretion leads
To disaffection?
Fear not, a plucked rose remains
As sweet as those in the bower

4. The morning found me
Moping beneath the duvet
Denied a good night
Left clinging on unsteady vines
Sent home without a fond kiss

5. I whiled through the sounds
Frog’s grunts, cicada’s buzz saw
But not finding yours
Only the memory heard
A soothing wind-borne whisper

6. You chided me then
When I asked for affection
Slapping my hands
And I, tremulous with fear
Withdrew in the raging rain

7. Rose petals wilted
The breeze blew the crimson flecks
On trellis floor laid
Attempts to restore, in vain
I will send again

8. Can you stay longer?
At least until the rain stops
My bed is still warm
With your smoldering kiss
And your scorching embrace

9. The dawn we failed to see
Neath blankets huddling in the cold
But no big regrets
Wait for it tomorrow, love
And maybe miss it again

10. Lovers cowering
In the long shadows of dawn
Fearful to be seen
Anxious of the consequence
Of last night’s wanton delights

11. I mentioned your name
And songbirds sang it like a tune
They gathered around
The rosebush and the green ferns
Humming the wondrous refrain

12. I hesitated
To say my true feelings
Soon after our tryst
The memory of your lips
Told me to be eloquent

Ondoy (a topical repost of “A Murderous Season”)

His dark majesty rode in with fluttering cape shrouding the day

With no bugles to herald, no chorus chanting his usurping of the light

The people in the village huddled and together trembled with fright

Pulled down the shades and barricaded the doors of straw and mud

“We’re not ready for you,” they shouted peering through slits of rotting wood

“I come at my pleasure”, he roared from his fiery eyed ebony mount

“Where are your offerings…your fealty…your sacrifices?

Where is the fattest of sheep, the youngest of sons, the purest of maidens?”

“Tempt me not to summon my minions to wreak havoc on your lowly abodes”

“Oh your eminence, forgive us for our shortcomings, turn your anger

Somewhere else…the next village perhaps…we will be ready in a fortnight”

The sheep will be fattened, our Benjamin ready and the virgin dressed in white

With a shrug that shook forests, blew away clouds and tossed seas

He said “I am a god that does not wait, I want your offerings now.

Your pleas insult me, your excuses disgust me, your promises infuriate me

All throughout the village a heavy pall of fear and dread hovered

Then he left with a shattering flash of lightning and the roar of crashing waters

Even the dawn was reluctant to shine out of the gloomy wake

Through the gray of an unsettled morning light

No babies bawled, raucous children silenced and dogs lost their whimper

Huddling in corners of their decrepit huts mumbled prayers ululated

Fathers and mothers wrap their arms around their quivering wards

Somewhere in the village young men grouped and with loud voices

Declared “prepare, be ready, let’s put up a stand against this onslaught”

Lit torches crackled, the staccato thud of pegs driven on hardwood and

The gnashing of metal sheets lashed on steady moorings were heard all night

As before, his dreadful majesty comes without herald, without ominous harbingers

The sky will crack up and with bright electric storm light up a silhouette of trees

Along the edge, a bleak horizon flashing off and on in rapid succession

As bats dot the darkened the forest’s canopy like scattered ants in a broken hill

Now he came as threatened…sudden, looming big, terrifying and horrid

Against a backdrop of a splintered sky…a tattered Aurora’s hem

Thunderous hooves fell on hard and dry ground shaking up mountains

Primeval forests bared and hills flattened with every heavy stride

It was a peaceful night in the tiny hamlet, only the rustling of rotted leaves

And the mewling of a distant cat could be heard in the village square

Past the ruins of an adobe chapel, by the field of withered corn stalks

Roods of odd sizes and slabs of crude granite scattered on weeded plots

A murderous season came to pass, a plunder most cruel and swift

There is no redress, no recompense, no relief and no reparation

Injustice, unfairness and unconscionable cruelty never were protested

It is the way of all things and it will inflict its fury again in time

The Day Stood Still

I flaunted faded glories in the still air
Like the banderitas of last year’s fiesta
The leaves of the big acacia tree by the wayside
Also waited for a cue from passing breezes

There is no slamming of front doors
And window shutters on the second floor
Are slightly ajar as if the slats had eyes
Peering expectantly at a desolate street

But the wind hung like heavy drapes
Despite the whistling of an urchin
The dust remains settled on the ground
Only the shimmering heat is seen

Even mangy dogs did not patrol
The narrow lanes of the interior commune
Cats did not move from window perches
A girl stares blankly at the stillness of life

Leave Me, Muse

Hey Muse, Get off my back!
Leave me alone now that I have reached my door
I have escaped your relentless pursuit abroad
Pestering me with your endless lays and lies
In the solitude of unfamiliar towns and climes

Why could I not lose you in winding streets?
Not outrun you in wide avenues in traffic?
You are a persistent hound with a flawless nose
Seeking me out in thick heaths and endless marshes
Always at arm’s length away from your clutch

Must you talk to me of love and heroic deeds?
Inspire me with quests I know I could not attain?
Oh, what a wretch am I to even dare think
Of glories and fame unattained by anyone mortal
Leave me be Muse, sing your song to someone else

Death At Sea

The sandy delta as always was overrun by urchins
Even before the water set in to wash out their foot prints
It is the children across the beach who laid claim to it first
Ahead of the predictable and often tardy tide
But now with the water ankle deep and rising
The little ones with perked up ears caught sounds
Threatening them to cross the bar now or else
Words screeched at a frequency even clogged ears hear

It was a noisy and raging night at sea
The roar of angered waves dominated the din
And the blistering slash of briny water stung mercilessly
At hands, arms, a thumping chest and reddened cheeks
He did not hear the chanted prayers from a seaside hut
Nor the muffled cries of wife and children huddled
In his mind he heard a remembered warning at shore
Wife beseeching for him not to sail an ominous sea

It was as if he was reborn upon waking from a reverie
He floated in the stillness of a pacified but listless stream
Sea gulls flew overhead shrieking for edible flotsam
Now he was one with derelicts cast out by an enraged storm
A cruel sun shone mercilessly with searing ferocity
He could hear faint sounds carried by the easterly
Was it children’s riant laughter or a mournful dirge?
He doubled up into a fetal crouch to get back into his dream
The cold water slapping his sides made him aware of his demise


The scarecrow with fluttering hands
Thought he scared away the blackbirds
Cawing in feigned terror, they dart about mockingly
The tattered suit, the poker faced grin
Remained as timeless as the stacks of grain
As seen from the paddies marking time by shadows

He only moves by wind, the only one
Trusted by heaven to be its witness
As the silent monitor of the passing of time
And all the human bumblings and errors
Losing to ravens and puny ricebirds

Ah, forlorn monument in the paddies
Who placed you there is the real fool
You cannot even scare away the tiny mice
Frolicking about your ragged hem.
Are you the stalwart sentinel designate
Who has concern over all?

Vanity Ball

What gown will I wear tonight? she mused,
As the early scatter of the fading light settled and
Gray banners of the dark fluttered in the twilight air
Festooned over an elegant black and white horizon
What fineries will be fitting against such a classic motif?

Will she wear a cape dotted by a million sparkles?
Gems formed by light years from distant blasts
Made more brilliant by the absence of moon glow?
Would she dare wear a tiara of a burning disc with
A backdrop of subdued light from flickering candles?

A sturdy rack sagged with the weight of an array of vanities
Each one hopeful of being blessed by the lady’s choice.
Her gaze moved from one brilliant creation to another
Oh the sorry quandary she faces though not only this once
But never apologetic for such an embarrassment of riches


My life has been spent drawing lines
Thick and threatening, a warning to others
Not to cross over lest they be thwarted
Demarcations that shut out people and dissent
Straightest of lines to get somewhere fast
Rigid and orderly, a fine way to think
Never meandering nor considering other paths
I drew a line that excluded all, a narrow lane
Soon deeply rutted through countless hours of long treks
In fixed strides from one point to another, back and forth.
How much longer can I walk the straight and narrow and
Emerge into the light from dark chasms of my creation?

Written On Sand

Ah, the serenity of daybreak at the strand
With you and a scatter of little birds at hand
Early morning sea breeze’s amiable touch
Still without the harsh sting of a late day sun
Caressed and livened your reddened cheeks

I dared express sweet thoughts with my toes
Etching them on the sparkling morning sand
You rushed to trample on the words with bare feet
Conspiring to erase with the oncoming foam
Racing water rushed with frothy leads
Taking with it words and foot marks on the sand
As it ebbed back from whence it came

I thought that I would immortalize the nonce
Oh how briefly the moment savored
My love written on inconstant sands
Flew away with the sand pipers
Even before the end of the dawn

Thoughts At SLEX

With quivering lips we muttered “there goes our hero”.

Her harp made silent by destined mortal passage

But her song reverberates over the mangrove trees

And on white sandy stretches of countless strands.

The regal crests of this country’s mountain heights

Intones in the breeze a requiem of a million bird-songs.

Yellow bells trumpet incessantly a heavy hearted eulogy

For the people’s beloved one, for an irreplaceable loss.

But the lady knows no death, her legacy is etched on

Peoples’ faces; hopeful and happy, proud and uncowed

Carved on the granite walls of justice available to all

The spirit of this heroism lives on despite the unkind climes

The flame will not be doused by evil men and evil deeds

For as long as there are the just, the brave and the good

Who will rekindle by a hundred, a thousand…a million fold

The gift bequeathed to the people of these restless islands