When I was on DYEM FM  BAI Radio six years ago, a call-in listener asked my opinion on the new president (President Aquino). I gave a very supportive opinion hoping I was right in my optimism . A few minutes later a different caller said, “ You are a foreigner, you have no opinion.!” In that my home and everyone I love are in the Philippines, how can I not have an opinion. The real question is how valid are my opinions and should anyone listen to them.

I am unfortunately handicapped by not being a Filipino, but that does not keep me from loving this country and its people and wanting the best for both. I constantly read and seek to understand, so my help will be most effective.

Twelve years ago, when I first started writing for the Negros Chronicle, readers used to leave feedback. This feedback was very beneficial for me. It taught me lessons I needed to have so that I can understand and learn about my adopted home and the Philippine culture. Some times the feedback was brutal. Sometimes the feedback was more interesting than the entire column.

Somewhere along the line I lost that feedback or at least it has become more difficult for me to find. I miss it.

Several years ago, I was bold enough to try to predict the outcome for a local election. I thought I knew the players and the mind of the voting public. I was WRONG on every one of my predictions, thus once again proving I am not as smart as I might have thought; I still have much to learn.

The editor of the Negros Chronicle has generously given me a public forum to express my views and hopefully make a positive contribution to the community. Your feedback is a vital part of helping me to fulfill this mission. If you feel you have constructive criticism, information I could use or simply a view you want to express, I encourage you to either write the editor or send me an email ( ).

This is your community. Your opinion is important. Those of us trying to serve this community, from your Congressional Representatives all the way down to this columnist, need your feedback. Without your participation we are basically blind. We do what we think you want and often that is wrong.