Friday, December 31, 2010

Western Union and its predatory ways

I subscribe to the mailing list of Avaaz, an independent non-profit making lobby group with a global presence. This morning, I received the below email. The core story it told made my stomach churn. So I decided to reproduce it here. If it has the same effect on you, please kindly add your name to the petition by signing at the below link.

Thank you.


From: Luis Morago -
Date: Fri, Dec 31, 2010 at 4:30 AM
Subject: Predators
To: ""

Dear friends,

Western Union is taking critical money from the world's working poor by charging predatory transfer fees. As we move through the giving season, let's urgently shame them into action! Add your voice to the petition for fair fees:

Sign the petition
This holiday season, Josh, a Kenyan student in the Netherlands, scraped together a year's worth of savings and sent it home to support 10 struggling family members. Shockingly, the giant money transfer company Western Union skimmed off 20% of the cash meant for Josh's family in fees.

Josh’s story is painfully retold every day, the world over, on a staggering scale -- an estimated $44.3 billion worldwide was lost in transfer fees last year! The World Bank recommends that transaction costs not exceed 5% of the total, but Western Union has never faced serious pressure to lower its crippling charges. If we unite in a global outcry now, we can expose its predatory practices when its carefully crafted, family-friendly image is most vulnerable: the giving season.

Josh's generosity -- and that of millions of workers around the world -- shouldn't go to waste! Let's call on Western Union to lower its fees to 5% for the poorest countries, and when the petition reaches 250,000 we’ll deliver it to the company’s image-sensitive board of directors. Sign now and then forward this to friends and family:

Sacrifices like Josh’s dwarf foreign governmental aid every year and provide a vital lifeline to the world’s poorest economies. Slashing the obscene profits of companies like Western Union would dramatically increase assistance flowing into developing countries. Instead, families around the world received far less than they deserved so that Western Union's CEO could take home $8.1 million in 2009.

The World Bank recommends that transfer companies limit fees to 5% of the amount being transferred, but some banks and companies have astronomical hidden charges. Perversely, the neediest countries coming out of war or disaster suffer the greatest losses, because of transfer companies' monopolistic privileges and exclusive deals with local banks.

The yearly savings of men and women laboring in hospitals, construction sites and restaurants end up padding Western Union's profits. The company funds charity projects to improve its corporate image – but these do nothing to hide the massive inequity that their business model perpetrates. Let's raise our voices loudly to support true generosity during the holiday season – and help bring immediate benefits to workers and the relatives they sustain. Together we can make sure that needy families – rather than CEOs – benefit from holiday giving:

When citizens around the world stand together to protest injustice, we can force back unchecked greed and inequality – as we've done together before. Buoyed by the warmth and empathy of the holiday season, let's make sure that generous gifts arrive where they're most needed.

With hope and gratitude,

Luis, Stephanie, Graziela, David, Paula, Ben, and the rest of the Avaaz team


Western Union CEO's pay more than triples in 2009, Associated Press:

Past Time for Remittance Justice, ACORN International:

World Bank Remittance Pricing resource:

Support the Avaaz community! We're entirely funded by donations and receive no money from governments or corporations. Our dedicated team ensures even the smallest contributions go a long way -- donate here. is a 6.5-million-person global campaign network
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Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Coming Full Circle.... 50 Years Later.

(Click on each individual comic strip for a higher resolution image)

I wish there was a way to to provide a profound narrative for these few frames of images but I can't. I'm dumbstruck!

Saturday, September 04, 2010


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I'm dreading this but I think Mr. Walking Cane up in First Class is about to disprove the hypothesis of my two previous posts.

Goddammit! Which idiot thought up this lousy comic strip anyway?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Antique Chapter, Antique People....

(Click on comic strip for a higher resolution image)

It used to be so natural
To talk about forever
But "used to be's" don't count anymore
They just lay on the floor
'Til we sweep them away.....

- You Don't Bring Me Flowers, Neil Diamond & Barbara Streisand

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

五十年不變 (Fifty Years, Unrequited Love)

(Click on each individual comic strip for higher resolution images)

I'd like to say that I still believe in love but...
Somehow the fallacies that befalls men and women of today no longer allow for the romantic notions of yesteryears to thrive beyond eras past.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Personal announcement...Not!

As of time anew commencing August, I would like to announce that I shall be embarking on a new career. It is called 'Professional Bumming', and from my comprehension of the recruitment brochure, it is a vocation that requires one to only meet 2 conditions; that is, a commitment to take the meaning of leisurely idleness to new heights and a willingness to sacrifice time (which I currently have in over-abundance). I am unsure if lazing on a hammock after lunch and drinking beer by the beach at night is the right career move but as they say, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained."
Wish me luck, guys. Danke! ; )

Monday, June 28, 2010

What should one do....

Somehow, lurking somewhere within the shadows of conflicts, there will always be some semblance of profound humanistic philosophy to cling to; albeit, one that does not necessarily not arise by succumbing to one's weaknesses and one's compromise of moral values to do the right thing.

(Click on comic strip for a higher resolution image)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

If Ever....

If ever we meet again, and you were to ask if there had been anything that I had longed to say to you, I think this would be it.

(Click on comic strip for a higher resolution image)

If ever....

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A year. Twelve months.

A year passed.
Though twelve months it is not like.
I don't know where you are.
I don't know where you've been.

Time heals.
Wounds closes.
And pain eases.
I thank God.

Should the wind carry this,
Know that I have long forgiven you.
And that my heart still skips a beat,
Each time I hear your name.

I ask that you forgive me too, Bibi...