The Renomination of Marty Natalegawa: Indonesia’s Foreign Minister

By N Mark Castro

Menlu RI saat dikelilingi oleh WartawanThe current issue burning within the diplomatic ranks of Indonesia is the renomination of Minister of Foreign Affairs Marty Natalegawa.

Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has very distinct objectives:

  1. Restore Indonesia’s international image
  2. Help boost the economy and public welfare
  3. Help strengthen national unity, stability and integrity, and preserve the nation’s sovereignty
  4. Develop bilateral relations, particularly with countries that can support Indonesia’s trade and investment and economic recovery; as well as promote international cooperation that helps build and maintain world peace.

There right there is what makes Indonesia’s foreign affairs policy quite unique: world peace. Which perhaps explains its active role in engaging in peacekeeping missions. Not because out of the kindness of its heart, but enshrined in its objective and protected by its Constitution.

Imagine that. Read the rest of this entry

The Boat That Steve Ballmer Missed

By N Mark Castro

That Steve Ballmer increased Microsoft’s annual revenue surged from $25 billion to $70 billion during his tenure as CEO is undoubtedly a major achievement. That Steve Ballmer was effective in steering the company against the US Anti-Trust lawsuit showed his skills in navigating through tough times. That he was highly energetic and inspirational demonstrated his leadership. But, despite the numbers, Steve Ballmer would be remembered more for the mistakes he’s made for the past 13 years rather than the numerical achievements.

Perhaps his keen focus on the company’s bottom line is what led him to make bad long-term product decisions that invited so many to criticize his business tech sense.

After all, in this fast-paced technological advancements, you are more remembered for the innovations you’ve initiated rather than the numbers you’ve produced. Microsoft could’ve dominated it but failed time and again because he just wouldn’t listen.

And to be pitted against the innovation of his times and other tech leaders, including the other Steve in Apple, he was simply playing catch-up with the opportunities that he missed.

Read the rest of this entry

Neo’s First Day In School

By N Mark Castro

So I’m taking my son, Neo, to his first day of school.

He is excited.

He is scared.

So am I.


“You’re gonna love school so much, Neo, and make lots of friends,” I said.

It was a lie.

Read the rest of this entry

Is ASEAN Useless, Useful, Meaningful?

By N Mark Castro

47 years ago today, 5 Southeast Asian countries banded together to form the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or what is now called ASEAN. It has since expanded to include other member states such as Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), and Vietnam.

When it was formed everyone in the Western world either thought they would go left or they would go right … no one ever thought they’d go to sleep.

Because aside from regular ministerial meetings, occasional heads-of-state meetings, no one really knew what they were up to.

It’s as if a bunch of bullies got together and said to each other: “Hey, don’t mess around in my turf, OK?” And went on to pat themselves on their backs.

I mean, really, who among the citizens of the ASEAN member states really knew?

Or know. Read the rest of this entry

Happy Birthday, My Son

By N Mark Castro


Dear Spidey,

Up until today I’m still trying to figure out why God — in His Infinite Wisdom — has decided to entrust your life upon me.What was He thinking?Since the day you were born I have no clue whether or not what I’m doing is right. You didn’t come with an instruction manual although I suspect there must be some batteries inside with your endless energy. And your smile and laughter that is as powerful as your whines.
Your presence in my life makes me wonder aboutmy own journey in life and I can guarantee you that nothing I have ever done has given me more joy and rewards than being a father to you!The day you were born was the happiest and scariest moment of my life. And I think you came out laughing instead of crying.


For a very long time in my life I cared for nothing else but myself. It wasn’t that I was irresponsible. It’s that I had no responsibilities. Actually, I could spot responsibilities a mile away and could easily stand aside to escape it.

And because I had been single for the most part of my life, some people thought I had a lot of issues. Believe me, son, I enjoyed each and every one of those issues. But that’s another story when you’re older.

So I had pretty much a good run of fun.

Until your mother came.

There went the ballgame. Read the rest of this entry

How This Baby Reacts Is Priceless

The Paolo Bediones Sex Video Scandal

By N Mark Castro


Prominent media personality Paolo Bediones is currently in the news because of the alleged leaked sex video scandal. It has captured the nation’s imagination and threatens to crash so many servers looking for the link.

Sadly, he is not the first to become a victim of such voyeuristic campaign nor would he be the last.

Personally, I see nothing wrong with a private home made video such as the stills captured below.
Read the rest of this entry

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Prabowo?

By N Mark Castro


We all know that the country is currently divided pending resolution on Prabowo’s expected legal challenge on the announcement of KPU declaring Jokowi as the 7th president of the Republic of Indonesia.

That said, what’s next for Prabowo? Read the rest of this entry

The Irony of Philippine Politics: Marcos Family vs Binay Family

By N Mark Castro


Philippine Politics: The hypocrisy, the downfall, and the Marcos vs Aquino saga

By N Mark Castro


The only storytelling you need to tell is the truth.

And there’s no sugar-coating or spinning something that we’ve all lived through. Even to this day. Which is why Oscar Tan’s piece on Alienating the Youth from EDSA and Conrad de Quiros’ reaction piece, saying that Oscar’s piece lacked perspective.

The problem is we’ve spent years glorifying a failed past instead of confronting the ugly truth about Philippine politics since EDSA I. Read the rest of this entry

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