Thursday, June 30, 2016

The (Quiet) Business of China

I SEE myself as a deeply-perusing observer. Meantime, my reflex usually veers away from taking sides—and opts for reason and wisdom even beyond my own convenience. I'd like to say that as backdrop to my (continuing) observation of China—a consuming thesis that dates back to my childhood. The Chinese has always perplexed and mystified, intrigued me. From the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 and Deng Xiao Ping's ushering of Beijing's economic open-door policy to the hubbub that it sent to World Trade Organization at Bill Clinton's administration (remember the Battle of Seattle?) to Foxconn's clout to the South China Sea tempest etc etcetera.

          The Chinese are a kind of humanity that don't talk much. They just work and deliver what you want. Reject it, they'd complain less—and quietly leave. After sometime, they'd show up with a new prototype or alternative until you are convinced. When they fall into silence or sleep, don't settle—they are actually (re)planning things out.
          For years since the huge nation's WTO entry in 2001, the Chinese economy's expansion has been relentlessly breakneck. As provincial entrepreneurs enjoyed Beijing's subsidy, rapid development has turned fishing villages into factory towns and factory towns into financial hubs. But that's not all heaven. “Heavy investment has crowded out consumption, and heavy industry has muscled out services, as if making stuff mattered more than serving people,” The Economist writes. China's socialism/communism's interface with Western-styled capitalism has somehow shook the gains of the Cultural Revolution's populist wisdom. But then, wait. Is that all bad? Not really.
China opts to slow down a bit to restudy variables, just like the traditional Chinese trader. New figures showed the economy expanding by 7.7 percent in the year to the first quarter, marginally slower than the previous quarter’s pace and notably slower than expected. The loss of momentum confounds, given the spectacular surge in credit in January and March. However, that is not entirely weird. China's growth, buffered by its manufacturing/services industry, also obscured two encouraging trends that may matter hugely for China’s future. Consumption, although still low, made a bigger contribution than investment to China’s growth in the first quarter. Even more notable, services have trumped industry’s contribution to GDP in the past three quarters.
          In other words, China is sliding to a new phase of its march to modern times, Western-style. From manufacturing, Beijing sets its gears at consumers and services, two promising trends that work around each other. Because services are more labor intensive than industry, their growth boosts wages and household income. Money on the hand of the consumers. Heftier take-home pay jacks up consumption, and consumer spending, in turn, favors services.
          But then you think China will slow down its giant manufacturing machine? No. They are just setting sight on other options. In other words, China is pretty much aware not to follow the mistake/s of America. As The Economist puts it, “As China’s economy matures, its pace will slow. Fighting this economic law will only invite inflation, excess and harder reckonings. Growing fast is a poor alternative to growing up.”

LET's look beyond the mainland and check what the Chinese are up to. I am leaving the South China Sea maneuverings on this discussion and instead focus across continents.

          Since 2008 China has agreed some $500 billion in currency swaps with nearly 30 countries, from Canada to Pakistan, which gives the counterparties access to yuan when trouble is suspect. A currency swap is a foreign exchange derivative between two institutions to exchange the principal and/or interest payments of a loan in one currency for equivalent amounts, in net present value terms, in another currency. Currency swaps are motivated by comparative advantage, an economic theory about the work gains from trade for individuals, firms, or nations that arise from differences in their factor endowments or technological progress.
          Meanwhile, Chinese banks have lent $50 billion to Venezuela since 2007. Argentina is the second-biggest recipient of Chinese loans in South America. Then there is Russia, who may have the largest deposit of crude oil in the world, but its economy isn't enough to develop the natural. Again, Chinese banks have lent more than $30 billion to Russian oil companies.
          What does that infer? That is a loud testament to China’s remarkable growth. And more significantly, China it seems or it appears is setting up development banks intended to challenge the dominance of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Analysts have always sounded that China is on track to surpass America as the world’s biggest economy within a decade. These are nagging hints. Chinese banks have been making its move continent to continent.

          Let me touch Brexit for a bit and look sideways. This is all about the world's major banks, of course! No surprise why UK's HSBC Holdings, top European bank, wanted out of European Union. It's not really the country that's bolting out per se. It's the bank. Hence, if BNP Paribas and Credit Agricole Group rebel, then expect France to withdraw from EU as well. And join the Chinese? Not far-fetched.
          I repeat, the Chinese are a kind of humanity that don't talk much. They just work and deliver what we want. They'll give `em to us. But we gotta admit it. The Chinese have indeed gone a long way from lo meins and dumpling soups. They have evolved into slick dudes on Brooks Brothers suits sipping Dom Perignons in stretch limos, Ivy League-educated assistants clutching iPads and iPhones on their beck and call. As The Economist puts it, “The anachronistic state of global economic governance is growing ever more glaring.” It has gone eastward. 

Friday, June 17, 2016

SOME random Facebook comments/responses (by me) on the subject of the Orlando shooting. Religion, atheism, conspiracy theory, and the anger in humanity.

[ ] DO we have to list killers as per believers in a god vis a vis atheists? Is there a basis of comparison between the Virginia Tech shooter with Idi Amin? Or a Tim McVeigh with Ted Bundy. Charles Manson and maybe Pol Pot? The evil in their head are individual darkness. The glaring parallel is—they kill people for reasons that's personally theirs. The human mind is unpredictable. Alfred Nobel invented the dynamite for a reason not to kill and maybe Adam Lanza got weird when mom and dad divorced and then mom spent more time in the shooting range. Did these guys read the Bible? Or maybe Mother Teresa would have poisoned her Calcutta village the same way as Jim Jones did in Guyana. Both read the Bible profusely. Or a Muslim imam who mass feeds people in towns battered by typhoons would have put cyanide in the food after reading a chapter in Quran? People kill. They could be a loner kid who listens to Pink Floyd over and over or one who idolizes Che Guevara. They got sick reasons and sick minds. Many times they don't even have a reason. They simply feel the insistence and compulsion to kill.

          I don't favor pointing at a certain collective belief system, religious or ideological as the guilty triggers, because that would also indict and wrongly judge those other peaceful believers. There is so much evil in this world. Yes. But let us not lump them as one collective humanity. It is offensive. It is not solving or minimizing hatred at all. In fact it is fueling it. What happened, all these mass killings, aren't the kind of wrongdoing that a peace-loving Muslim or Christian would like to be compared with or aligned with.

[ ] CONSPIRACY theory? As in governments plot mass killings to push laws? This is way off left field, I must say. Why don't we look at the culture itself. Facts. The gravitation to polar extremes in present day America as shown by behaviors in regards coming presidential election shows that Americans are upset about practically all levels of institutions and structures. You don't have to be a devout Muslim or a redneck or an Occupy radical to get angry these days. Historically, the incidence of mass murders in America in the last ten or 20 years is unprecedented. THAT had to be looked at. It is not religion because the two largest traditional religions, Islam and Christianity, have always been a part of America. But the huge discrepancy between rich and poor has never been this wide. The increase of queues to CVS is alarming than those who seek peace in church. And if I believe that some government machineries are behind these, then I am up for doomsday. I don't want to look at the world and society like that.

[ ] RELIGION and ATHEISM. I am continually weirded out by people who categorically judge Christians by what some from their flock say. It is not fair. It's like do all Muslims mow down people like what terrorists do? That, religion is the sole cause of gruesome killings in this world? That atheism (and/or paganism) is the answer to global peace? How ignorant some people could be! Do they know that serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer is an atheist? And Jim Jones who poisoned to death 909 people in Guyana in 1978 was actually an atheist? And those leaders that we love to hate: Kim Jong-Il, Benito Mussolini, Pol Pot, Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin never believed in God or religion? And the most evil of them all, Adolf Hitler did not believe in organized religion?

          One other dude (who was on my FB) who hides behind a Hindu name maintains that pagans never had war? Read up History 101, please! Why can't people grow up--and start widening their minds than continually closing them? Putting blame on religion or people's culture for the evils in this world is one of the most profound form of ignorance and hatred. We will never have a real semblance of real peace in this world if some people live this kind of narrow-mindedness all their lives. I will say that over and over and over again.

[ ] I SAY, no matter how angry a person is, let him get it out of his system--then compromise and negotiate. Maybe he/she has a point. Maybe the channeling was the problem. Maybe it's a question of an apt device to show/share truths. But if we immediately stereotype or judge a person "abusive" or "rude" or worst, mentally deranged and the only cure is a shrink and prescription--I believe that, we are undermining our human ability to heal and understand. The filmmaker Sam Peckinpah said, "The whole underside of our society has always been violence and still is. Everybody seems to think that man is a noble savage. But he's only an animal. A meat-eating, talking animal. Recognize it. He also has grace and love and beauty." But unlike most animals, humans possess rational minds and compassionate hearts. If we are able to channel that aggression in art or music or literature, or even farm work or sports, that anger could be stopped from evolving to physical violence. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Some Pasckie Random Thoughts: The goodness of Facebook. What do we know so far? What's behind wars.

SOME people who don't find any sense in being part of social media have to realize that the world doesn't just revolve in or around them. I am not a huge follower of electronic gadgets or computer technology myself but I see a far more sublime reason why some people turn to Facebook than what non-believers don't see. This is a global community that, quite logically, isn't just speaking/talking with one or two sociocultural environment. Other people have other reasons. Like an open market, grocery store or flea market—or the world itself—Facebook is replete with negative stuff as well as positive things. It's your choice—grab one or get out. Get upset and distracted, get pleased and inspired. Like television, like a book.
          Yet if an individual expects that the universe is all love and Namaste, and their rationale why they don't do Facebook is it's all negative—better build a sweet dungeon and stock up on organic jerkies. For sure, that person will find ways to whine about the unavailability of sunlight and rainfall in there anyhow. Among other reasons beyond engagements with bored trolls (which also happens out there anyways), I do enjoy Facebook for one singular benefit: Connection with family, relatives, and longtime friends—including buddies in my youth's neighborhood, grade school and high school classmates. I am also able to seriously discuss and/or joke around with ex-college professors and writing mentors/editors and media colleagues.

          My two most recent “discoveries” were my aunt Concepcion, my dad's sister, who now lives in Japan with her family, and my cousin Ella, just few towns away from some of my siblings' house/s in Baguio City, the family's second home-city, north of the Philippines. Most of my childhood in Quezon City was spent with Aunt Chit (Concepcion's nickname) around. She was a teenager when I was a child. The songs that I share here remind me a lot about people in the past, including Aunt Chit, because music played a huge part in my upbringing when she was around.
          Ella was the only child of my (late) Uncle Tony, my mom's brother. They live/d in a little farming barrio called Balaoan in La Union province in the north. I used to spend some of my summers there when the rest of my eight other siblings were enjoying city life on school break. I enjoyed the quiet escape—meditations on the woods, picnics beside the river, harvest of escargots on the side of muddy rice plots, easy naps on bamboo beds, fresh vegetables and the smell of moist grass after rain. Because I located Ella, I also located other cousins Nida, Emily, Manuel, and Lito and their families.
          Hence, to me and many other people, Facebook isn't just funny cat videos and fiery political rants. It's more significant and valuable than a mundane distraction.

I HAVE been reading thoughts and discussions/debates from FB page/s of friends and acquaintances—mostly former professors, writing mentors, editors and media colleagues, emanating from four corners of the universe. Facebook, thank you for this one-click wonder... Interesting, intriguing, endlessly enlightening. I recall those days of yonder as a zealous youth hungry for knowledge and adventure, reading up on stuff from Freire to Nietzsche to Thoreau to Sartre to Camus to Mao to Toffler to Dylan to just about anything that is worth food for thought, chased down by a bottle or two of scrounged cerveza. It's always cool to sit down over a drink, whatever drink, with anyone who knows some—not simply a smartass agitator or trickster devil's advocate. Even in heated and intense joust, lessons are harvested. I learned a lot from those...

          Meantime, it is kind of easier now to engage in a discussion since words and stuff are easily double-checked via google. Yet if a prospective conversant reasons, “I don't believe in Wikipedia anyways...” or “I don't google...” and we ask, “So what do you know?” and get, “I don't need to know...” then what is the point of a talk, right? I say, what we get in the internet are all 2nd or 3rd or 4th hand data. However, it is a common progression in knowing stuff and things to follow through—get out, go to the library, talk with people, visit places. But who wants to do that these days? Ah! Still though I like talking with someone who has a baseline info about anything. Where did CD originate, are the Bee Gees British or Australians, what is Treaty of Paris, how significant is WTO, who is Sylvie Legere, was Genghis Khan really a jerk, how dumb was Columbus, how powerful was Isabella I of Castille, who is Tom Joad, how good was Duane Allman on slide guitar, what makes Ho Chi Minh a military genius, does fortune cookie exist in Beijing? But it is sad that today's humanity is generally interested with cryptic, 3-word lines only—short attention span earthlings who are so busy yet they haven't left their seats in the last 14 hours. Anyways...

WHAT's behind wars? Apparently, these go beyond body counts, avenging furies, and macho posturings. EXAMPLE (in history): Following the defeat of Spain to the United States in their war more than a century ago, the Philippines—along with four other stretegically positioned countries, previously under Queen Victoria's rule—were ceded to the US. Treaty of Paris, 10 Dec 1898. Zoom in: The Philippines. This archipelago of 7,107 islands is nestled right on the heart of South China Sea, a marginal body of water that is part of the Pacific Ocean, encompassing an area from the Singapore and Malacca Straits to the Strait of Taiwan of around 1,400,000 sq miles. This extremely significant sea is the second most used sea lane in the world, while in terms of world annual merchant fleet tonnage, over 50 percent passes through the Strait of Malacca, the Sunda Strait, and the Lombok Strait. Over million barrels of crude oil a day are shipped through the Strait of Malacca. The region has proven oil reserves of around 7.7 billion barrels, with an estimate of 28 billion barrels in total. Natural gas reserves are estimated to total around 266 trillion cubic feet. HUGE SHIT that the world that enjoys drinking oil mojitos and watching cable TV nonstop surely relish! This, aside from the fact that the area is a very important defense strait and refuelling base for the US (and any other superpower) in case of a war.

Hence, the two huge US bases in the country. (Check as well details behind the Battle of Bataan and Corregidor, return of Gen. Douglas McArthur via Australia etc in World War II)... America is an impregnable fort due to the physical barriers of South China Sea and the bodies of water that the other countries in the ceding deal—Cuba, Puerto Rico, parts of the West Indies, and Guam—offer the Mainland. When whispers of war heave through the air, we ask, WHY? What's going on..

Monday, June 6, 2016

SOME loose/random Facebook exchange of views.

[ ] Money in the (protest) campaign.
Money isn't that imperative. Tactical alliances, grassroots groundworking. Thing is, activists these days spend more time preaching to the choir than reeducating the "uninformed" middle forces. Money doesn't move change. Otherwise the One Percent will gobble you up. Let me put this way. America is still relatively comfortable (or the mindset is) to really push for real change. Ask people to gather at a City Council meeting to exact even the littlest amendment, who go there? The homeless. The people who know how to "move" change? Wombed in the internet.

[ ] The bathroom issue.
It is a defocus. Energies should be put into scrutinizing real gut issues. The Occupy movement isn't going to work because it embraced un-organization and embraced "chaos as fun." It was like a summer camp for kids who didn't want to mow the lawn. I was in Zuccotti Park for two weeks at the onset of the so-called protest. If Bloomberg didn't ask McDonald's across the street to serve the Occupiers 24/7, the convergence would have been over in 12 hours. No groundworking. They didn't even know what they wanted. They presented a 10- or 15-point demand form but these were all fantastic demands that only a full-blown revolution can achieve. They were dreaming. Revolution? When they won'tt even touch donated food that is GMO-induced or they freaked when cellphone loses signal?

[ ] Did we lose much (compared with the world?)
When it comes down to it, Americans didn't lose much. This is still a country where goodness and comfort reign supreme. Look how we drive our cars to the next curb to throw garbage or how we use electric power while Netherlands boasts of bicycles to Congress and Kerala turns off lights at 9 PM. We just lost the ability to feel reality up our guts as against the idealism of having to gain 'em all (or losing what we gained). We lost the jobs yet we are still hugging the trees. We struggle to pay bills and install a new room for growing kids, yet we spend too much time on bathroom rights. It is not how America was after the Depression when FDR ushered the New Deal. Irrelevant of the economic downturn and China's ascent to power and Russia overtaking Saudi Arabia in oil production, we are still talking about The Illuminati and gluten free funnel cakes. (Sarcasm.)

[ ] Elections are about winning.

It is a speech bait, slogan, soundbyte, PR strategy. Politicians appeal to and navigate emotional terrains, the surface of it, than what's on or in the terrain. Trump's following, I believe, is a product of growing people-dissatisfaction of traditional structures in American society, foremost of which is governance. I cited studies and data in my previous posts and blogs. Not hard to understand. People lost jobs, lost houses and cars, lost marriages and families, and when they go to the store, it's all Chinese products. Then who go to war, those what we call "rednecks" and right-wing believers--yet when they go home with severed limbs and mental confusion, they still fight for their benefits. It's gut issue. People want change. Will they get it from another elitist, politically-correct leader? Or from someone who speaks their voice and grievances. I am not saying that Trump is a good dude. All I am saying is--we gotta figure out the big WHY? It's staring us in the face. The progressives should reeducate these mass of people gravitating to a demagogue than call them idiots (that's what I see in the social media and in most discussions with friends who against The Donald). 

Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Tragedy of Endless Relationship Fights

UNTIL you finally felt in you that it's finally over, it's over. It's not how many times you said sorry or how many times you've forgiven and how many times you two decided to work it out that matter. When it's over, it's over—when you finally quit rationalizing faults and justifying reasons to try again, it's over. Time to close the door and head out and move on. No looking back. The mental energy that you've given and wasted away, the emotional drain that now infects your muscles and fibers and sense of you—these scream at you then settle in you late at night and early mornings as you begin another day. You are a new person now.

          I don't believe that friendships are possible after a break up from a supposedly committed and serious relationship. Love with another person is the deepest friendship there is. You love him/her not just because of how beautiful and brilliant and sweet the feeling was. You admire/d the character and personality and wholeness of the individual. We don't love a person by mere sexual fire or intellectual admiration or whatever. We love the complete person and then we give it all. So how can we be friends with someone that we now resist and reject? Maybe out of convenience? Niceness? I don't get it when some friends, “I love him (or her) forever...” Love isn't categorize in different colors or shapes or forms. Love is love. When it is broken it is broken—and brokenness sometimes had to remain that way, thrown away and start a new you. Hangin' out with a person that was the cause of your brokenness doesn't make you whole again. You just have to let go. It is not anger or hatred—it is closure. Let the person seek his/her new possibilities and tread a fresh journey.

          Those intermittent break ups and making ups don't help either. In some occasions, those quarrels only make either or both drift to another person and engage in “friendly”/casual sex for temporary solace. I maybe am judged as ultra-conservative for my stand but “cheating” isn't really about a breach of trust with the person you love in spite of the break up lull—it is actually cheating love itself. Someone told me once that sleeping with other people at a time of relationship turbulence is a “process” that a romantic/love partnership goes through to strengthen themselves. Bullshit. It is a very convenient way to slide to sexual gratification. Seeking solace and comfort with another person need be done in a mutually naked tryst? I cannot give my body to any other person, casually friendly whatever, unless I already let go of my feelings for an ex, irrelevant of a break up. Sex is not a drug, alcohol, or even a ride on a sportscar across a winding seaside road. Sex makes love physically real and felt and touched. So give it away just because you were hurting and lonely and drunk?

          So I always tell my friends and kin who are mired in endless arguments and break ups—to just leave and let go. That'd mean both or either wants to compromise anymore or maybe they haven't at all. We cannot be in a relationship and say we are still the individual person wallowing in freedom as we were as when we're unattached. We cannot be in a relationship and still say, “You can't stop me from doing whatever I want to do!” or “Accept my world, 100 percent!” That is a very selfish espousal of someone's love of him/herself than the relationship. If that's the case, stay single.
          Love is great when it is surrender and acceptance, liberation and redemption. Freedom is now done as two sets of truths melding as one. Not anymore individual freedoms in separate worlds under a singular accessible dance hall. Love only makes a person a better individual in a relationship. Fights only make one worse. So if fights persist, quit. Just quit. 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Pasckie keeps on talking: Lookism. The Big Tipper. “Sense and Sensibility” for a 2-year old? Entrepreneurship among the young.

DO you know what “lookism” means? It means preferential treatment given to those who conform to social standards of beauty. Research suggests that people who are judged physically attractive are seen as more competent and more socially graceful than those who aren’t; they have more friends and more sex; and they make more money. One economic study found a 5 percent bonus for being in the top third in the looks department (as assessed by a set of observers), and a 7 to 9 percent penalty for being in the bottom 9 percent... 
          All of which might come as a surprise to Melissa Nelson, a 33-year-old dental assistant in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Ms. Nelson, you see, was fired in 2010 by her dentist boss, James Knight, because she was too attractive. Mr. Knight, who is married, said he felt that Ms. Nelson’s beauty was simply too tempting to pass unnoticed and that he was worried he would have an affair with her. And so as a pre-emptive move (and at his wife’s insistence), he fired her. Humans are so weird, isn't it?

NEWS: “The Big Tipper: $5,000, $1,000 tips left at two Ogden (Utah) bars.” Lucky recipients of those thousands, indeed! It's good to know that some millionaires—or billionaires—are so kind to share some to ordinary people, right? Mathematically, a member of Forbes top 300 wealthiest in the world—tipping $2,000 to a wait staff, hotel housekeeper or valet dude is not really so big deal. They can even do that 5 days a week each week, yet their bank accounts won't even budge. I mean, how many rich people splurge on a Tiffany & Co. jewelry, Nobu sushi dinner, $2,000/night seat on a ringside sports event, or blow $100,000 a year on cocaine, or $50,000 on baccarat table one weekend in a Las Vegas casino? A thousand bucks is spare change. So might as well make one minimum-wage earner's soul happy.
          Many times, I ask why don't rich rock stars, sports “gods,” or Hollywood personalities simply write checks to charity, whenever there is a huge calamity—than wait for earnings from a benefit show? Their money is safely sitting in banks, anyways... So just write the damn check, quit the pageantry, and enjoy the mojitos at Ibiza. If I'm that rich, that's what I'm gonna do. Call my accountant, cut me $2 million check, send it to where it is needed, ASAP... And then, leave me alone, I am busy Facebooking.

NEWS: “Italian scientists claim it's now possible to perform human-head transplants.” --Rolling Stone magazine. I hope that includes the brain. Should be a lucrative business.

NEWS (Yahoo News): “Congress weighs national park on the moon.” Yes, go ask Rep. Donna Edwards of Maryland and Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas. Didn't I tell you few months ago that Martians have sent Earth 1 million anti-Walmart signatures?

NEWS (Y! Health): “Cancer-Causing Chemical Found in 98 Shampoos and Soaps... Nearly 100 personal care products are in violation of a California law requiring that consumers be warned about the presence of cancer-causing chemicals...” REPEAT: Ninety-eight! Come to think of it, it seems all that we buy in groceries and stores these days are most likely toxic. The only non-toxic shit is a moringa leaf from Saturn.

TEACH YOUR CHILDREN. The humble board book, with its cardboard-thick pages, gently rounded corners and simple concepts for babies, was once designed to be chewed as much as read. But today’s babies and toddlers are treated to board books that are miniature works of literary art: classics like “Romeo and Juliet,” “Sense and Sensibility” and “Les Misérables”; luxuriously produced counting primers with complex graphic elements; and even an “Art for Baby” book featuring images by the contemporary artists Damien Hirst and Paul Morrison. Booksellers say that parents are flocking to these books, even if the idea that a 2-year-old could understand “Moby-Dick” seems absurd on the face of it. 
          A toddler might not be expected to follow the plot, but she could learn about harpoons, ships and waves, with quotes alongside (“The waves rolled by like scrolls of silver”). Publishers of these books are catering to parents who follow the latest advice by child-development experts to read to babies early and often, and who believe that children can display aesthetic preferences even while they are crawling and eating puréed foods. “If we’re going to play classical music to our babies in the womb and teach them foreign languages at an early age, then we’re going to want to expose babies to fine art and literature,” said Linda Bubon, an owner and children’s book buyer at Women & Children First, a bookstore in Chicago. “Now we know there are things we can do to stimulate the mind of a baby.” Or are these publishers simply marketing products? I believe kids will learn art and literature as life flows—take them out in the prairie, travel with them, let them dance under the rain etc etcetera.

BIG business makes it a point to profit on anything where it could excise some cash from. Like carpooling which used to be a hallmark of community camaraderie. Then rent-a-car bigwigs like Avis and Enterprise took over... But wait—all of a sudden three high school students in Frisco played online and “rewrote” carpooling entrepreneurship and got the giants reeling, caught off-guard by their upstart rival... Now, let's turn to another traditional practice or old-fashioned concept, shipment of care packages to loved ones and friends. For a time courier companies DHL and UPS (if not US Mail) take care of business. Then, a small group of students at the University of New Hampshire, led by Jessica Streitmater, formed Regaalo, a web service that allows parents to send gifts to students. 
          Regaalo (a take on the Spanish word for gift) partnered with merchants around the UNH campus in Portsmouth to offer products ranging from pizza to massages; the company now has a total of 45 partners in New England. Orders are placed at, and notification of the gift--along with a code to redeem it--is sent to students via text message. Sales may be small so far, but the company's potential has not escaped notice--Streitmater and her partners have raised $200,000 from private investors. Well, at least, the big guys are getting some competition...