POSTSCRIPT / February 18, 2001 / Sunday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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This Sunday, take time to count your blessings

IF we could shrink the earth’s population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, it would look something like this:

There would be 57 Asians, 21 Europeans, 14 from the Western Hemisphere (both North and South), and eight Africans.

Of the 100 people, 52 would be female and 48 male, 70 would be non-white and 30 white, 70 would be non-Christian and 30 Christian, 89 would be heterosexual and 11 homosexual.

Only six people would possess 59 percent of the entire world’s wealth, and all these six would be from the United States.

Eighty would live in substandard housing, 70 would be unable to read, 50 would suffer from malnutrition, one would be near death and one near birth. Only one would have a college education and one would own a computer.

* * *

WE picked this up from the Internet, author unspecified. The item notes: When one considers our world from such a compressed perspective, the need for acceptance, understanding and education becomes glaringly apparent.

It goes on: And, therefore, if you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75 percent of the entire population in this world. If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace, you are among the top eight percent of the world’s wealthy.

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week. If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death, you are more blessed than three billion people in the world.

* * *

READ on: If your parents are still alive and still married, you are very rare, even in the United States.

If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful, you are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.

If you can hold someone’s hand, hug somebody, or even touch him/her on the shoulder, you are blessed because you can offer healing touch.

If you can read this message, you just received a double blessing in that someone was thinking of you. Furthermore, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at all.

Have a good day, and count your blessings. Also, please pass this on.

* * *

Ma. Esther Urquiola, executive assistant cum appointments secretary of Sen. Gregorio Honasan, emailed to say that she was one of those with the senator from Jan. 19 to Jan. 20 when EDSA II was in full swing. She said that Honasan, contrary to reports, was not in Malacañang conferring with then President Estrada.

She was reacting to comments that with the publication of the diary of former Executive Secretary Edgardo Angara on the last hours of Estrada, it was shown that Senators Honasan, Juan Ponce Enrile, Tito Sotto, John Osmeña and Tessie Oreta were among those who had gone to the Palace.

Urquiola said her boss went to Angara’s residence in Makati, not to the Presidential Residence.

Senators Enrile, Sotto and Honasan have been roundly denounced as liars for allegedly claiming they were not with the beleaguered Mr. Estrada.

* * *

WE’RE printing below Urquiola’s account partly for whatever historical value it may have:

“At 5:30 p.m. of Jan. 19, Senator Honasan and some members of his staff (myself included) went to Linden Suites in Ortigas to meet with GMA. Then President Estrada told the senator to establish clear lines of communication between GMA and Malacanang. Because of the horrendous traffic, we reached the hotel around 8 p.m.

“The senator, including some of GMA’s senior staff, went up to meet with GMA. They talked for about 10 minutes then parted ways. The senator then went to Galleria Suites (7th floor) accompanied by GMA’s staff.

“We reached the EDSA II secretariat on the 7th floor of Galleria Suites around 9 -9:30 p.m. GMA’s people brought us there, because the senator was supposed to talk in the rally and the secretariat was the one giving clearance on who should talk and when. His message was supposed to be about sobriety and keeping calm amidst the chaotic situation then.

“At this point, I really have to mention that the EDSA II secretariat was a bunch of very civilized people. Not once did I feel ostracized, maligned or ridiculed. They were very courteous, civil and helpful, but they did not give us any bullshit. When we brought up the topic of speaking at the rally, they warned us of the hostility of the crowd. We took their advice and left.

“By 10 p.m. we proceeded to the office but stopped by Secretary Ed Angara’s residence in Makati. Please take note that I mentioned Secretary Angara’s residence, not the Presidential Residence. As I was the only staff with Senator Honasan who went with him inside the house, I saw the other senators there.

“At that time, Secretary Angara was not home, but was in Malacañang. The other senators told Senator Honasan that Angara was called to the Palace and that they all opted to wait for him in his house. After about 45 minutes to an hour, Senator Honasan and I left to go back to the office.

“When we reached our office at the CCP complex, Pia Hontiveros of Channel 2 and Rico Hizon of CNBC were waiting to interview the senator. This was already around 12 a.m. The interviews finished around 1 a.m. or so.”

* * *

KEEPING our fingers crossed, we’ve survived several attempts lately to bomb us with computer viruses. We suspect that some malicious operator has been trying to curtail our capability to keep turning out Postscripts.

The last virus to turn up at our roving location was “AnnaKournikova.jpg.vbs.” An unsuspecting victim might mistake the attached file for a fetching picture of the tennis star. When opened, however, the file explodes into a virus that quickly spreads and paralyses the system.

Anna came to us under an intriguing subject “Here you have,;o)” and the email message was “Hi: Check This!” The sender merely identified himself as “~EM~”.

What saved us was our policy of not opening attachments. But instead of deleting the file, as is our routine for attachments, I let it stay in the in-box unopened. The next day, a friend frantically consulted me about his having been hit by the AnnaKournikova virus. It was only then that I learned Anna was a virus and not a vixen!

* * *

IN other recent attempts to cripple us with deadly viruses, it was my anti-virus shield that saved the day.

Every time a virus comes with the email, the screen promptly turns red and a warning buzz announces the attack. The AV software asks what I want it to do with it. I always say “Delete!” It reports back to assure me that the virus had been deleted. The record on the viruses is kept.

Days ago, somebody identifying himself as bentochu@the.net.ph sent me an email with no subject, but with an attachment titled “ANTI_CIH.EXE.” My anti-virus shield caught it. I have not checked if that was the Chernobyl virus made by a Chinese hacker, or the other virus misrepresenting itself as the cure for Chernobyl.

* * *

I’M convinced that some other attacks were intentional. There were two attempts from one source identified only as “Hahaha” using a “sexfun.net” address.

This idiot laughing like a hyena and using sex as a lure, sent a tempting message in English with the virus attached. When it did not work, he sent it again in French. My anti-virus shield caught them both.

The subject in the English version was “Snowhite and the Seven Dwarfs — The Real Story.” The attached virus was named “sexy virgin.scr.”

The message: “Today, Snowhite was turning 18. The 7 Dwarfs always were very educated and polite with Snowhite. When they go out to work at morning, they promised a *huge* surprise. Snowhite was anxious. Suddenly, the door opens, and the Seven Dwarfs enter.…”

* * *

BELIEVE me when I say, Rule #1 is not to open attachments. Even from people you know, because they might just be carrying the virus without being aware of it. Ask them to just copy/paste the text into the message window instead of attaching it.

But what if the item is a picture, graphics or a page layout? I don’t know the answer to that, so we’ll wait for the experts out there to help us.

Rule #2 is to install immediately a reliable anti-virus software. The more popular ones are Symantec’s Norton, Network Associates’ McAfee, and Trend PC-Cillin which is usually pre-installed in many loaded personal computers bought locally.

Tip: Unauthorized or pirated copies of these software usually work and can be updated for free. But to be sure, buy a licensed copy (even an old version) and update it promptly.

If you have hardware worth some P50,000, or even less, you should be willing to spend around P300 for an AV software to protect your investment, di ba?

Rule #3 is to update your AV software regularly. New viruses are launched virtually every day into cyberspace and if your AV software does not recognize the new viruses, it cannot catch them.

Your old AV software can be updated by downloading, for free, the latest patterns and engines from the homesite of your AV’s maker. Does this mean you have to have Internet connection? Yes.

* * *

(First published in the Philippine STAR of February 18, 2001)

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