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The recent death of Trinidad Etong, wife of prominent Filipino broadcaster Ted Failon (Mario Etong in real-life) has spurred a lot of speculation about the circumstances of the case especially amongst bloggers and internet forums, particularly the question of suicide (which is the currently positioned angle of the Failon household) and the possibility of parricide, homicide, or murder which is being investigated by Philippine authorities on the case.

Obfuscating the case findings are the instances of tampering with evidence on the part of Failon’s househelp, which are placing them under accusation of obstruction of justice, as well as instances abuse and brutality on the part of the Philippine National Police in the conduct of the investigation. Furthermore, the recent finding that no one in Failon’s household tested positive for gunpowder burns, including the now-deceased Mrs. Etong, raises more doubts and speculations about her death.

As for me, I won’t dwell on questions of speculated guilt (whether Mrs. Etong’s, Ted Failon’s or others) here–as there are already a growing number of commentaries on this subject. Browsing through the numerous facts, theories, and speculations on the case thus far has brought my curiosity onto one undisputed piece of evidence in the Etong case: the suicide note of Mrs. Etong.

There’s already a sizeable amount of research done on the nature and context of suicide notes. Not all cases of suicides are accompanied by notes, but many studies have partly established the suicides normally accompanied by notes.

On age trends:[1]

  • Suicide notes written by young people were longer, rich in emotions, and often begging for forgiveness.
  • Suicide notes written by the elderly were shorter, contained specific instructions, and were less emotional.
  • Most note leavers mention their difficulties.

Among the elderly:[2]

  • Most were unknown to psychiatric services, and used a non-violent method of suicide.
  • Those that left suicide notes used less violent methods of suicide such as suffocation by plastic bags, electrocution, or car exhaust.
  • Those that died by more violent means such as hanging, drowning, jumping, immolation, or wounding, were less likely to leave a suicide note.

Other trends:

  • Those written by those using violent methods contained less joy, less love for others, less humor/irony, less thanks, suggesting a greater amount of alienation from significant others.[3]
  • Those written by women were found to show less intrapersonal hostility, gave fewer instructions concerning final affairs, accepted less personal responsibility, and used fewer absolute terms than those written by men.[3]
  • Higher proportion of letter writers in female populations, and suicides by more lethal methods such as carbon monoxide, hanging, or sharp instruments.[4]
  • Non-letter-writers had tendencies to commit suicide for reasons of psychiatric disorders.[4]

Most common reasons that people contemplating suicide choose to write a note include:[5]

  • To ease the pain of those known to the victim by attempting to dissipate guilt.
  • To increase the pain of survivors by attempting to create guilt.
  • To set out the reason(s) for suicide.
  • To give instructions as to disposal of remains.
  • Occasionally, those who have committed murder or some other offense will confess their acts in a note.

Those occasions where people fail to write a note are:

  • They are so focused on the practicalities of what they are about to do (e.g. loading a pistol or tying a noose, etc.) that the idea of leaving a note does not occur to them
  • Their choice to commit suicide was impulsive, or at least hasty enough that there was no time to compose a suicide note.
  • They have nothing to say and/or nobody to say it to — common for those without surviving loved ones or other social relationships, such as the elderly.
  • They feel that they cannot express what they wish to say.
  • They simply do not wish to write about their choice, or cannot see any point in doing so.
  • They are functionally or completely illiterate, or uncomfortable with written language.
  • They hope the suicide will be considered to be an accident or homicide. This is common in those who wish to be buried in consecrated ground or hope their families will be able to collect on insurance.

Which brings us back to Mrs. Etong’s suicide note, which I requote here.

Papa, I’m so sorry. Gustong gusto ko pong magsabi sa iyo ng totoo. Pero hindi ko po alam kung papaano ko uumpisahan. Sobrang takot na takot po ako. Aaalis po muna ako. Kasi hindi ko po kaya at nahihiya po ako sa iyo. Sana po mapatawad mo ako. Sorry, sorry – Mama.

Papa, I’m so sorry. I really want to tell you the truth. But I don’t know how to start. I’m really so afraid. I will take my leave for now. Because I can’t handle it and I am ashamed to face you. I hope you forgive me. Sorry, sorry – Mama.

Just analyzing the note’s characteristics, against the research above:

  1. It appears haphazardly done, and ambigious — suggesting that it was done either in haste, or in an unfocused state of mind. This is consistent with the method of suicide–as violent methods of suicide (e.g. stabbing, hanging, gunshot, drowning) are more consistent with impulsiveness and lack of preparation, however these are also usually cases of suicides which do not normally leave a note.
  2. It appears to dwell on the emotional disposition of the writer, rather than the reasons prompting the suicide, and with no apparent instructions to those the victim is leaving behind. The note emphasizes on apologizing for a wrongdoing. This kind of composition is consistent with suicides among younger age groups, rather than suicides among the elderly.
  3. It contains some curious syntax, like the word “po”–which is usually an honorific reserved for addressing elders, and uncommon between married couples (e.g. it’s a word normally used by children addressing their parents/grandparents). Also as of this writing, it has yet to be made public whether the note is consistent with other samples of handwriting from the deceased.

Generally speaking, the suicide note either contradicts the usual profile of violent suicides or the age and profile of Mrs. Etong herself. However, I’m not drawing any conclusions on this matter here.

Just saying if Mrs. Etong’s suicide note is genuine, it simply begs the further question of why her case should fit the exception, rather than the rule.

References:

[1] Suicide notes: what do they tell us?
[2] The significance of suicide notes in the elderly.
[3] THE CONTENT OF SUICIDE NOTES: DOES IT VARY BY METHOD OF SUICIDE, SEX, OR AGE?
[4] Differences in characteristics between suicide victims who left notes or not
[5] Suicide Note – Wikipedia

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Life is great seen as a study in contrasts. For me, the issues of womanhood, gender roles, marriage, and sexuality are some of the most subjective topics to discuss. In my recent blog surfing I found two interesting posts on womanhood and marriage that can be interesting parallels of each other.

The first post is from Myraine’s Realities and Realizations blog, which is a personal blog of a wife and mother dedicated to happiness and inspiration. Here’s a portion of her post on The Ideal Wife:

It is never easy to be a wife. It is never an easy task as others may think it is. And I strongly believe that every wife just like me wants the husband to be happy not just every time they are together but for the entire marital relationship… for a lifetime.

Since I really love reading for several reasons most of the time, for personal and professional growth, I have read a write-up on what a man looks and expects his woman to be. Upon discernment, I have decided to share it to all the wives around the globe.

  • She has to give him the freedom from possessiveness. Men say that the excessively possessive heart tends to be quite selfish, jealous and doubtful. Thus, it attributes deprivation from the joys, happiness and fulfillments of the lifetime commitment.
  • She must never be a nagger. She may always share her thoughts and insights; yet, this must never be done in such a harsh, rough and tough manner. Remember that nagging irritates the husband.
  • She feeds his husband’s ego. Learn to appreciate and love his actions and words. Sometimes, it is never harmful to make him feel superior and special.
  • She possesses physical attractiveness, faithfulness and spiritual strength. They simply complete a woman’s image – strong yet vibrant, bubbly and sophisticated.

Yet, do not live to these points alone. Remember that you should still be the real you and you’ve got to be true to yourself, too. You should also consider doing things to make you happy and never do things for him alone or not just to satisfy him. You must always do things for both of you as well as your and your husband’s happiness.

See how the above provides an interesting contrast with this second post, by Intsik Siomai, a blogger who writes about the injustices of society to women, and especially Chinese women. In her post Separada, she writes about the other side to relationships and a perhaps alternate view of men. Part of that post:

I am now surrounded with married female friends who want out of their marriage. Most of them have frequent fights with their spouses. They also have controlling husbands who demand that they stay home, be a nice obedient wife and mom, stop having friends and activities that has nothing to do with being a wife and mom. They have lost their power. They are not individuals anymore, but just a wife and a mom. They cannot even assert their rights as an individual because they are financially dependent on their husband. But they can’t find good jobs if they are “required” to be full time wife and mom. This is a dead-end situation. Their jerk husbands are resentful and controlling because they are the breadwinner. But they don’t want to empower the wives either.

Many husbands I know are powertrippers. This is especially the case with Chinese men. In the chinese set-up, the wife doesn’t hold the money. The husband just provides the basic needs and maybe some luxury if he is pleased. In the Filipino set-up(at least the ones I know), the husband gives the salary to the wife, and the wife budgets it and saves the rest. A Pinay housewife has more power than an intsik wife. Intsik husbands know that their wife is powerless, valueless without them, and they push the situation even more, so the wife becomes a doormat, a follower, obedient server, slave, lifeless, no individuality, powerless.

On a glancing note, is this simply a question of seeing a glass half-empty or half-full–or do both Myraine and Intsik Siomai actually agree on a deeper level about the salient issues of being a woman, wife, and mother? For me the context that underscores both their posts are the issues of identity and individuality–which as I said can be very subjective. The emotional value may differ between them, but the needs they address are the same: that of finding one’s self and purpose in the roles you choose.

Of course, questions of marriage and family go beyond individuality since there are more than one party involved, however the basic root remains the same: the self. How one conducts the self in relation to their partner, children, and society will ultimately influence whether one ends up with Myraine’s bright rhetoric Intsik Siomai’s scathing sarcasm. At the end of the day maybe both of them are holding the same glass, only from different sides of the table.

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Some effects of the ongoing global financial crisis may surprise you.

First is crashing oil prices have begun to hurt sentiment supporting research into biofuels.

Although falling oil has generally benefitted consumers due to falling fuel and electricity prices, the moral hazard here is that research into alternative fuels is disincentivized. In a post we featured earlier: in the case of fuels like ethanol, the amount of fossil fuels needed to process and transport it are roughly equal to the amount produced, so as oil becomes cheaper, pursuing alternatives makes less economic sense. As Abigail Ho writes for the Inquirer:

It might be better for countries to place their biofuels projects on the backburner at this time, as oil prices were expected to remain relatively low over the next two to four years, Jorge Montepeque, Platts global director for market reports, said at a forum.

Instead of pulling energy prices down, the use of biofuels might do just the opposite, he said.

“I think biofuels in most markets consume more energy than they produce, so they tend to be energy negative,” Montepeque said. “Most efforts in biofuels actually lead to higher energy prices. We expect some of these projects to be rolled back or cancelled as energy prices come down.”

Second, the implosion of investment portfolios with the meltdown in markets has had many a fund manager tightening their belts, bereft of their money machines. This has affected not just the confidence of the former market wizards but also the spending habits of their gold-digging trophy wives. Tara Wilson writes for the Telegraph:

‘You loser!” screamed Katie, aiming a vase at her husband. “You’ve destroyed my life,” she continued, hurling it. “Just look at my hair, look at my nails! You loser, you jerk, you nobody.”

Katie’s husband, Jack, whose property portfolio disintegrated in the financial crash, had just told his wife that she would have to cut back on her thrice-weekly visits to Nicky Clarke, the nail salon in Harvey Nichols, and the oxygen facials, chemical peels and seaweed wraps at Space NK.

Such was the aggression and verbal and physical abuse that followed that Jack was left with cut lips and blood streaming from a broken nose.

In this time of crisis, some things like oil head back to earth while some other things will remain forever out there in wild space.

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Larry King interviewed Michelle Obama earlier this year and their chat reveals unique insights into a Presidential campaign, from a wife, mother, and woman’s perspective.

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http://www.55a.net/firas/english/?page=show_det&id=209

Polygamy renders the best solution

studying of mortality shows that the rate is higher for men than for women. This disparity is in evidence from early childhood to extreme old age. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica: “In general, the risk of death at any given age is less for females than for males.”
It is widely established that the number of women outnumber the number of men due to certain reason :

(1) wars . It is reported that In the First World War (1914-18) about 8 million soldiers were killed. Most of the civilians killed were also men. In the Second World War (1939-45) about 60 million people were either killed or maimed for life, most of them men. In the Iraq-Iran war alone (1979-

1988), 82,000 Iranian women and about 100,000 Iraqi women were widowed. All in the space of ten years.

2- Imprisonment : In the U.S , no less than 1,300,000 people are convicted daily for one crime or anther. A number of them – 97% of whom are men – are obliged to serve lengthy prison sentences.Work accidents and street accidents are also among the these reasons .

According to data collected in 1967, in that year a total of 175,000 people died as the result of accidents in fifty different countries. Most of these were men.
For reasons of this nature, women continue to outnumber men. This difference persists in even the most developed societies e.g. in America. According to data collected in 1967, there were nearly 7,100,00 more women than men. This means that even if every single man in America got married 7,100,00 women would be left without husbands.

In facts , some nations do not practice polygamy as this is an act against man-made laws but they really did , the possibility of transferring biological fatal diseases are so high , such communities suffer from ADS , an innocent wife or husband may be the victim . social ills are rampant . The question is which is better to solve this problem ? The best answer is ” let’s go back to God’s solution ” A dark picture is awaiting , unless we stop outdoor-relations .

During the Second World War, in which several western countries such as Germany, France, Britain, etc. took part, a large number of men were killed. As a result, women far outnumbered men at the end of the hostilities. Permissiveness then became the order of the day, to the extent that boards with such inscriptions as “Wanted: A Guest for the Evening” could be seen outside the homes of husbandless women. This state of affairs persisted in western countries in various forms, even long after the war, and is now largely prevalent because of industrial and mechanical accidents.

Billy Graham, the eminent Christian evangelist has recognized this fact: “Christianity cannot compromise on the question of polygamy. If present-day Christianity cannot do so, it is to its own detriment. Islam has permitted polygamy as a solution to social ills and has allowed a certain degree of latitude to human nature but only within the strictly defined framework of the law. Christian countries make a great show of monogamy, but actually they practice polygamy. No one is unaware of the part mistresses play in Western society. In this respect Islam is a fundamentally honest religion, and permits a Muslim to marry a second wife if he must, but strictly forbids all clandestine amatory associations in order to safeguard the moral probity of the community.” 75

Makes sense doesn’t it. And guess what, from the same website it also says that in the Old Testament of the Bible, polygamy was allowed.

Polygamy in Christianity :

History says that Polygamy was practiced among the Christians , it seems that there were some human resolutions that stopped it . In the eighth century Charlemagne, holding power over both church and state, in his own person practiced polygamy . St. Augustine seems to have observed in it no intrinsic immorality or sinfulness, and declared that polygamy was not a crime where it was the legal institution of a country. He wrote in The Good of Marriage (chapter 15, paragraph 17), that polygamy …was lawful among the ancient fathers……..” He declined to judge the patriarchs, but did not deduce from their practice the ongoing acceptability of polygamy . During the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther said, “I confess for my part that if a man wishes to marry two or more wives, I cannot forbid him for it does not contradict the Scripture.”African churches have long recognized polygamy. Early in its history, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints practiced polygamy in the United States.  Splinter groups left the Church to continue the practice after the Church banned it.  Polygamy among these groups persists today in Utah, neighboring states, and the spin-off colonies, as well as among isolated individuals with no organized church affiliation.

According to Father Eugene Hillman, ‘Nowhere in the New Testament is there any explicit commandment that marriage should be monogamous or any explicit commandment forbidding polygamy.’[7] The Church in Rome banned polygamy in order to conform to Greco-Roman culture that prescribed only one legal wife while tolerating concubinage and prostitution.

In the Bible , Jesus never reject the old testament but even said  ”   “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law (the Old Testament) or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17-18) .

There were some situations that imply that Jesus implicitly approved of  polygamy ,   according to Matthew 5:17-18 above, we clearly see that Jesus honored the  Old Testament, and forces Christians to follow the unmodified laws of it that have not been replaced by newer ones in the New Testament.  The Old Testament as we clearly see above does indeed allow polygamy without a shadow of a doubt !!. There is not a single verse from the New Testament that prohibits polygamy.   Jesus’ parable allows polygamy between 1 man (the bridegroom) and 10 virgins (5 became his wives and slept with him)!  19:1-12  Jesus didn’t ban polygamy .In Matthew

New Testament insists on monogamy only for bishops and deacons. No church council in the earliest Christian centuries opposed polygamy. St. Augustine clearl)’ declared that he did not condemn it. Luther tolerated it and approved of the bigamous status of Philip of Hesse. In 1531 the Anabaptists preached polygamy and the Mormons of today believe in it (see Abd al Ati, The Family Structure in Islam, American Trust Publications, 1977, p 114 : Until this very day, the church in some African countries conducts the marriage of men to more than one wife. In Europe, the attempt to legally enforce monogamy and outlaw polygamy took place as late as the late sixth and early seventh centuries.

Sometimes Muslims really make me wonder. They may really act differently from a lot of us, but what I can say is that they are a lot less hypocritical about their sacred text than some other religions who twist their respective texts to suit themselves.

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