Thursday, 20 December 2007

More Holiday Imperialism

I wrote this some weeks ago for our company. I was planning to wait 'til they publish it but it's been too long. I can't wait; Christmas is nearing. Must...insult...holiday...commercialism.

Halloween.

People here in this country have come to love this largely American event. It's a license to do all sorts of things that Filipinos are too shy to do. Cos-play; pig out on candy; throw loud parties. Bleep our program, or bleep our company for that matter, is no exception. After all we are an American company, aren't we? Yet this is where I put down my smile. While I find nothing wrong with us celebrating Halloween despite a lack of inherent connection with it (chokes on 'nothing wrong'), I just find it sad that none of our programs have ever celebrated the holidays that are native to us. Has anyone raised a Philippine flag during June 12th? Put up pictures of Dr José Rizál during his death anniversary (does anybody even know the date by heart)? Has anyone ever raised a toast to the heroism of Andr
és Bonifacio? We invest hours for Halloween parties; have we ever aired a short prayer for our dearly departed? It's shameful if you ask me.

We work for an American company; we converse with an American audience; we are probably paid by their money. But we are not Americans (and I must thank the Gods for that, no offence). Halloween parties and Easter egg-hunts may seem fun, but those traditions are alien to us. But what's new, eh? We've been raking in foreign utterly useless customs since the first G.I. Joe set foot here. It's been a tradition. And it's alright (chokes some more). As long as we don't throw away the traditions that really matter, that is.

This December, I am willing to bet my left nut arm that at least one person will be decorating his/her station with a "White Christmas" theme - oblivious to the fact that we have neither snow nor intimate knowledge of the significance of plastic evergreen trees. (I'm half-European and I've never don my Yule tree with fake snow. It's ridiculous in a tropical climate!)

I'm not asking any of you anything. I'm not asking that we start putting up flowers for Flores de Mayo or flags on Independence Day (but lechon for Araw ng Maynila would be excellent). We don't need to if we don't want to. I am simply airing my sentiments. What I believe matters.

Advanced Happy Bonifacio Day, everyone!

Friday, 14 December 2007

Dead King's Weeping

A poem of mine from my college days. Inspired by brilliant paganus Isaac Bonewits' poem "Cú Chulainn Wept". I never got to title this, unfortunately.

'Twas the twelfth of June we called him
To join in the spirit of the night.
Rose a ghost in the silence of a song
Of a lord, Soliman to our sight.
In royal red, mightiest of elders
As his steady eyes upon us did fall.
Anguished was his face, full of despair,
His bearing had shamed us all.

"Too long have the islands been ravished...
"Too long have my people wept."
"Oh my Lord," I replied, in a voice so anguished,
"The old glory is no longer kept."
"My name is no longer remembered," the Lord responded;
"The language, bastardised aghast.
"The greed of its stewards unfolded,
"Treachery has triumphed at last"

Through the fog and the smog we watched him
Drew his sword to strike some cow'rd foe.
Falling tears could the lord hold no more
As the rajah saw Manila below.
"Where are all Her trees?" eyes blinking
"All rivers and lakes have been fouled
"Winds now are fetid and stinking --
"Who has raped my city?" he howled.

Farther north did he go, "Women?" asked he
"Pimped by their own mothers and reviled?"
Foreigners buying 'slaves' too young, I replied
And brutes who their daughters defiled.
The anger on his face, stuck to us forever,
As he saw what cowards we've been.
"What has happened?" he whispered, "to the women of the islands?"
"Know you nothing of Urduja the Queen?"

Then he wept, how he wept, the noble Lord of the Nilad.
For the the rape of women and country, he wept.

Then he turned his eyes south to the land of his faith.
What he saw made him amuck in despair.
He saw cowards and monsters, called to God as if noble,
While bullets and bombs covered the air.
Murder and terror without care as if with sanction
Muslim and Christian shot and left to die,
And the villians a-bragging, how "for God" were their actions,
"Not knowing how their ancestors cry?"

Now he raged, how he raged, the noble Lord of the Nilad.
For the shame and dishonor, he raged.

"A curse upon greedy stewards and barbarian defilers:
"May no night fall for you to sleep.
"May the ghosts of the past and the cries of your victims,
"Make you wail, to the ground may you creep!"
"May the curse of all gods and all kings,
"Descend on all traitors of the isles
"Who've perverted all that was sacred and holy,
"Who had passed off their crimes with false smiles."

"May the wrath of the old warriors afflict all law abusers,
"And defend the people against foolish mires.
"May those who've polluted the Motherland's body
"Fall screaming into Mayon's fires!
"This curse, it shall last, 'till spirits true are rekindled
"Honored at last by as of old.
"And demons of manhood perverted are vanquished
"For the love of our country hold."

How he raged, how he wept, the noble spirit Soliman.
In anger and sorrow, he left.

Not very good times we have now, eh? Not here, at least.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Not The Halloween I Know

(Let's pretend I posted this on time.)

Samhain I love Halloween. Fires, dancing, soul-singing, tricks, treats, apple pie. Unfortunately, the Halloween I love depreciated over the years thank you very much American-spawned commercialism. Today's Halloween is what I prefer to call Hallmark Halloween, along with Hallmark Easter and Hallmark Christmas. Today's Hallmark and Hershey's holiday is about spooks (and marketing money out of it). Scaring people with images of gore, darkness, and death. Fearing otherworldy beings and mocking their existence. No, All Hallows is not about fear and scare. While fear is natural, it is not for this day. The whole point of this yearly feast is to grow appreciation and respect for that necessary fact of darkness. It's about death, our mortality, the fragility of life, and the inevitable end. This day marks remembrance. Of old things, of dead things; roots, ancestors, the hidden and lost, the inevitable coming of winter (with our without snow, it's still winter), silence, darkness, last harvests, shadows, mysteries.

That is the All Hallows I know. Much like the Irish Samhain and Korean Chusok. Much like the local Undras. (Yeah, before it got bastardised, and yes with an R.)


And since today is about ancestral backtracking, I backtrack to an old post from two years back.

+ + +

Music playing: “Elysium” – Hans Zimmer & Lisa Gerard

First day of the month. First day of November. Summer rains and warm breezes are all fading into chilly whispers. The inevitable chill shall cover the earth once again.

Allhallows1 On this day, of whose night is darkest amongst all nights, and yet brightest as all candles are lit, we remember those who have gone. Those who had woven all their shares in the fate of the world. Fetched by grey steeds; boarded on grey ships into the Parting Seas. Those who had earned their still passage into the Undying Lands. We remember. We give honour and hail.

Hail, the Blessed Dead. And all our fathers and mothers of old before us. To the line of our people back to the beginning.

We remember. Hail.

On this same day and night, as we commit to our ancestral rites, we remember the place of death in the world, interim and absolute; of an inescapable and fragile mortality we must all acknowledge, from simple to tragic. At the same time, we are reminded as well that this passage should not be feared, nor bitterly received when the time comes. Such reflections are the purpose of this time.

But for now, as all pilgrims not through with their journeys, we pray Death another year: “You have your own place, Death, and this is not it. There you rule as queen; here we are the most common of people. There you dwell in a noble palace; here we live in a simple house. There you enjoy sparkling riches; here our poverty shames us. Go to your place, Death, and wait for us there. We have heard your message and we will respond. But we are busy here, Death. We have many things to do. Be patient, we will respond, but only when the time is right. Return to your home, Death, and wait for us to come. For you it will be only a little while. For us it will be a lifetime.” [Ceisiwr Serith]

We pray you O' Coverer another year. A few dozen more, even. And until that time comes when we have grown weary of the world, we will pray again a couple more.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Ang Tamang Uso

Sa dami ng nauuso sa TV...

Sana mauso naman ang matalino.

Sunday, 23 September 2007

So You Think I'm Gay?

The "Gay Scene": To be brief, I just don't like it. I can't figure out why one's sexual orientation would make one act differently (outside the bedroom), but I think it would be either willful denial or blindness to deny that many gay men have adopted certain characteristics that have come to be known as “gay acting.” And I say “adopted” because not all gay men do this, and many that do didn't do it before they came out. Homosexuality may not be a choice, but it appears these characteristics are. I suppose it is these characteristics that enable “gaydar” to work, and maybe that's why they exist: guys are sending out clear “mating signals” to ease dating. And it's nothing against gays, necessarily. I also don't like when receptionists on the west side of Los Angeles adopt fake British accents, or when newly rich people start pretending they like opera, or when the Chinese kids I went to high school with start speaking Ebonics and acting like “thugz.” Give me a break! Why can't people just be who they are? Perhaps my antipathy comes from a lack of understanding why they do it. I'm definitely not saying people shouldn't have the freedom to express themselves how they want. And I'm definitely not ripping on guys who are naturally feminine or who really do have a flair for fashion or who actually do tend to scream when they're excited. But it just annoys me when people fake it, and I'm not looking forward to being lumped together with that, or having my friends and family wondering when I'm going to start lisping and wearing feather boas.

Bogus Hindsight: I've never really liked most team sports. I've always been interested in architecture. I've always gotten along well with girls as friends. I've always been close to my mom. I think it's fun to read celebrity magazines like People. I talk really fast when I get excited. I think these things are just part of who I am. I think I can point to how those characteristics developed. And I don't think they have anything to do with the fact that I find boys attractive. But they could be seen as “gay” traits. And I'm sure people are going to look back and nod smugly and say “ahhh, of course, I should have known!” I just find that ridiculous and annoying. If they look back to the fact that I haven't dated a girl since high school, or that I got caught with naked pictures of myself on my computer in high school, well THOSE were legitimate clues. But I won't enjoy people examining my life and finding “gay” things in my past that are not. I don't want to be re-defined through gay-colored glasses.

Matt's words, not mine. But it feels like me. You could dub me with it, actually. But he had different reasons when he wrote this: "Outing". Me, I just don't feel comfortable with labelling myself gay, bi or straight. I don't feel it presents me with accuracy. And I love accuracy to the bone.

But I do find boys immensely attractive, though. Mostly. Not all the time, but mostly. Why do you even need a label for that?

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Westro Generation

Westro ™

Portmanteau of "Western" and "Metropolitan" – a culture that is dangerously 'global', crudely pop-centred, commercial, consumerist, capitalist, obsessively metropolitan, and one-dimensionally sectarian.

Perfect example? The United States of Hollywood and McDonald's. Heads up, R of P - you're on the Westro wannabe list.

I don't know about you but I am proud paganus to the death.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Monday, 10 September 2007

Abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz

Cherry
Chito
Rosary
Josephine
Sebastian
John
Anne
Menthol
Joseph
Jans
Jeanne
Mary
Barhertz
Christopher
Kaz
and

Jonathan S.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Wordiness Threatens Low Tide Brains

You don't like how I answer questions? Then, don't ask me any.

If you really want me to, then let me.

Saturday, 8 September 2007

In The Land Of Fake Brothers

What sort of brotherhood is there in pain and torture? You know nothing about fraternal love, you pathetic ragamuffins!

Little unwashed idiots. I hope you all die and rid the world of your asinine games.

Is this the only form of personality available amongst the young ones nowadays? Pity.

Kill them. I don't care if they're children. Those little gremlins will eventually turn into tomorrow's criminals. Kill them all.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Intimacy Is Best For Infants And Above

There's a lot of comfort and freedom around these men.

...

The combination of agression and tenderness evident is what I find so compelling.

...

I think what it is, is that they are so at ease with their masculinity, that they are completely comfortable being intimate with each other. This is something we have lost in Western Europe and America where any intimacy between men is seen as 'sexualized.'

...

The wrestlers' complete security in their masculinity that allows for horseplay and moments of intimacy is something that is very rare to see in the current age. American prudishness sees any such intimacy as sexualized and forbidden, while Western European coolness means that such intimacy is rarely expressed.

...

The wrestlers are a little bit wary of Gay photographers and are unhappy that their sport is often sexualized.

...

Some of the photographers who do behave a bit obnoxiously has affected the way the guys behave and made them more self conscious. If this keeps happening it will probably be impossible to take some of these shots in a few years time.

(Commentary derived from the featured photographer istanbulmike.)

Idiots may call it gay or bading, but we old farts simply call it 'natural'.

PS: This is Yağlı Güreş (Yagli Gures), Turkey's national sport.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Can We Justify Arrogance?

"Arrogance is earned."

(Dr Gregory House M.D.)

The English (and Joey de León) have earned theirs.

Sunday, 22 July 2007

When Is Baduy Really Baduy?

As a kid I used to think one-dimensionally of 'baduy'. Eating pasta with a spoon was baduy, pronouncing escargot with a T was baduy, slurping your soup and biting your spoon was baduy, wearing a blue shirt with brown pants was baduy, wearing elephant jeans and bonnets in a tropical climate was baduy. Thankfully, I've grown from that. If you're not dining with the Queen, I guess exquisite enunciation and Victorian etiquette shouldn't matter that much to the average Juan. Whatever turns you on shouldn't be my business. To each his own.

But what is baduy, really? Is it the inexpensive fashion the poor wear? Is it old people trying to crack antiquated jokes? Is it your class 'nerd' with his tucked in, buttoned up long sleeved shirt? Is it the non-Parker pen, the non-Armani suit, the mainstream music one listens to? Is it the ignorance for things 'kewwwl'? Is it the distaste for the modern, the urban, the metropolitan? Fuck no! We tend to say eww, eek, and yuck to the wrong things. What do you care about your neighbour's personal tastes?

Baduy is the absence of basic human wit and intellect. (stress on basic.) Baduy is a cheap, poor sense of culture. Basic human culture.

Baduy is 'txt tok' on an essay assignment, it's putting too many H's where there shouldn't be one in the first place, it's that no-talent trying to sing on TV selling out his dignity and the values of the young ones who idolise him, it's the people who cheer to the top of their lungs for that particular no-talent sell-out not for his singing but for his pre-ordered smile, it's two cheap cowards talking garbage about unsuspecting passers-by instead of minding their own lives, it's finding someone fall off his seat funny, it's those shows on TV that find other people's sob stories entertaining and exploit the desperate with humiliating parlor games, it's that sad excuse for a movie (read: cheap rip off) showing in a theatre near you, it's those empty plots and discussions they have on so-called talk shows. Baduy is network wars, the social climbing phonies that can't even pull off a single believable skit, it's voting someone for mayor because the bloke is cute, it's trying so hard to sport an American accent when the basic rules of grammar don't even meet satisfactory, it's boasting a Castilian pedigree when one's Malay bloodline is begging for attention (read: 99% Malay, 1% Spaniard), and so on. I could list more, though.

We have a great deal of rubbish today in the current pop culture that undoubtedly belong to the province of baduy. Trends, they are, unfortunately. I wish them death. For the sake of this dying country, I wish them a terrible, terrible death.

Raise war, people! A unique kind of war that, though may take a hundred years, will greatly diminish (if not completely stamp out) the baduyness that is the current trend of things. 'Don't be baduy' means get some culture.

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Labels, Labels, Silly Labels

Gay
When people say 'Gay' they don't mean just 'men liking men'. They think Malate, San Francisco; tops and bottoms, George Michael, Cher, Maximo Oliveros, the rainbow, feather boas and leather wear, and pink shirts. Last time I checked, I've never been fond of those, so why call myself Gay?

Bi/sexual
Bisexual is something given. Almost all social animals (humans, apes, dolphins, birds) are largely bisexual in nature.

Straight
Simply put, the etymology of 'straight' suggests heterosexuality (relationships, attraction, etc) is the "right path" and its homosexual counterpart the "bent broken road". Rubbish!

Half Man
What, like a eunuch? My balls are still intact, thank you very much.

Third Sex
I'm not even going to start with how wrong this word is. We don't have pen-ginas or vag-enises.

Queen, Bitch, Girl
I have nothing against men who like to call themselves such, but if we're not that close, I think it's beyond inappropriate to call me something so misleading even if it's done jokingly. Respect my manhood as I do yours.

Queer
Although I do know that I'm strange in many ways, calling my sexuality queer is like saying my sexuality is abnormal. It isn't. Check your science.

Bakla/Bading [Philippines]
This name suggests 'transgender' (read 'woman trapped inside a man's body'). Go look up the words you intend to use before you actually use them. I'm not transgendered. I love my penis. Why embrace a word that isn't you?


That all said, do we really need all these labels? I certainly don't. I'm not Aldrin the [insert label here]-sexual or Aldrin the [insert label here] guy. I am Aldrin, full stop (period). People should be bigger than words.

Monday, 11 June 2007

Independence Day Quotes

Few people care nowadays. But more should. And since I'm too busy with work, I can only offer quotes. Nonetheless, I care. And I do something about it. When will you?


Jarius Bondoc on 'GOTCHA' (Mon, 11 Jun. 2007)

They can switch around Labor Day or National Heroes Day. But no country in the world moves its official Independence Day fête — except the Philippines. For the first time since her dad President Diosdado Macapagal asserted June 12, no longer July 4, as Freedom Day, President Gloria Arroyo is celebrating it on June 11, Monday. It’s to expediently oblige one business bloc that wants less holidays and another that wants more for tourism’s sake.

The belittling of a most historic event came in the heels of Arroyo’s entreaty to China last week to hitch RP in its development strategy. To complete the kowtowing to China, Justice Sec. Raul Gonzalez’s sneakily released also last week 24 Chinese poachers — as demanded by their embassy and against his public promise to prosecute them to the hilt.

Are they surrendering the country’s sovereignty just so China would lend $330 million for an unnecessary yet overpriced broadband network?

...
Instead of fining poachers millions of pesos each as law prescribes, and confiscating their ships and equipment, the government will return everything to them and fawningly see them off to China. No wonder it’s observing Independence Day on the wrong day.

F Sionil Jose on HINSIGHT (Sun, 4 Feb. 2007)

The colonized intellectual must first free himself, his mind most of all, from the subterfuges of the colonizer. He must recover the pristine self even if this means, as Nick Joaquin once charged, "to be an Igorot" ---as if being one is to be stigmatized. Start from the mud at our feet, from mythic incense, the life-giving impulse of the cosmos, and from this purity, recognize the inputs of history, all the precious elements that contribute to the building of a nation.

Only when the colonized has achieved this innate freedom will he then be able to assume his true identity. Otherwise, his thinking will always be a monotonous echo of the colonizer's dulcet spiel.

So it goes today: our modern ilustrados have yet to free themselves from prisons of the past, from the chains of colonialism, particularly the domestic variety. Until they recognize this bondage and oppose it, we will continue to wallow in blissful ignorance, and worse, in the muck of spiritual poverty left by the ghosts of colonialism.

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Holier-Than-Who?

Samson was a friggin' suicide bomber. With a final cry to God, Samson pushed over the central pillars, collapsing the temple and killing more enemies at his death than he had in his life. [1] Of course, he was dubbed a martyr and a hero after that and not as the dangerous fanatic that he was.

Moses was an ungrateful junkie. After being raised as a prince, he had the nerve to revolt against the kingdom that nursed him, and smoke weed for 40 days and 40 nights under "religious purposes" (well how else could he talk to God?).

And Yahweh, that murderous racist. “In the cities of the nations the Lord is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes.” [DT 20:16] He's inconsistent too. First he says Adam was to die right after eating the fruit [GE 2:17], then a few passages later he claims the guy lived up to 930 years [GE 5:5]. Make up thine mind!

Oh, and Jesus? There isn't enough evidence to prove he actually existed. Most of his mythology was probably taken from earlier 'dying-and-resurrecting' gods like Dionysus, Tammuz, and Osiris.


Now before you plan to burn me at the stake (or hang me if you're Protestant), first of all, you can't. So don't waste your time. Secondly, I actually meant no disrespect. All that was just an example. I just want you to think of how painful this all sounds - you bloody fundies - the next time you slander other people's religions, myths, and deities. I know this is a common Christian ("Christian") custom. So drop it, please. For Christ's sake. I'm pretty sure Christ wouldn't have encouraged bad-mouthing other people's personal belief systems, yes?

A little respect, please. A little more humanity.

Monday, 14 May 2007

To the Pantheon

Snagged from Hearthstone, fellow Recon (and Hellene), this lovely devotion to the Gods in their Greek variety. (I am just too lazy right now to muse on my own, you see.)


Hellasstamps_estia_2 Hestia, heart of the house, first born and last:
for light and warmth, home and hearth, we thank you.
One voice among many, I honor you.

Hellasstamps_zeus_1 Awesome Zeus, mightiest of all the gods:
protector and rain-bringer, we thank you.
One voice among many, I honor you.

Hellasstamps_hera Noble Hera, defender of marriage:
for family and fidelity, we thank you.
One voice among many, I honor you.

Hellasstamps_poseidon Poseidon, lord of the ocean depths:
friend to sailors and seafarers, we thank you.
One voice among many, I honor you.

Hellasstamps_demeter Demeter, best of mothers, gracious one:
for fertile fields and fruit-filled trees, we thank you.
One voice among many, I honor you.

Hades, ruler of the vast underworld:
for a gentle end to a long life, we thank you.
One voice among many, I honor you.

Hellasstamps_athene_1 Athena, grey-eyed daughter of great Zeus:
for wisdom, for skill, for victory--we thank you.
One voice among many, I honor you.

Hellasstamps_apollon Shining Apollo, archer unerring:
for health, for art, for music--we thank you.
One voice among many, I honor you.

Hellasstamps_artemis Artemis, first-born child of fair Leto:
protector of our children, we thank you.
One voice among many, I honor you.

Hermes, clever son of Zeus and Maia:
for wit and luck and humor, we thank you.
One voice among many, I honor you.

Glorious Aphrodite, kind one, fair one:
for love, for lust, for passion--we thank you.
One voice among many, I honor you.

Hellasstamps_ares Ares, who takes joy in combat and strife:
for strength, for will, for vigor--we thank you.
One voice among many, I honor you.

Hellasstamps_hephaistos Skillful Hephaistos, maker of marvels:
for craft and invention, we thank you.
One voice among many, I honor you.

Dionysos, beautiful god of the vine:
for rapture and transcendence, we thank you.
One voice among many, I honor you.

Great Hekate, ever-watchful maiden:
torch-bearing guide and guardian, we thank you.
One voice among many, I honor you.

Persephone, lovely queen of the dead:
you who will welcome us all, we thank you.
One voice among many, I honor you.

Goat-footed Pan, roamer in wild places:
for instinct and unreason, we thank you.
One voice among many, I honor you.

Eros, irresistable force of desire:
for mindless, ruthless passion, we thank you.
One voice among many, I honor you.

Gaia, ancient one on whose flesh we tread:
for our lives, for existence, we thank you.
One voice among many, I honor you.

Friday, 20 April 2007

Ricky, Other Deaths, Undying Lands, Funerals

Ricardo "Ricky" Sunico, TPTS’s Ringbearer and all around big brother, has sailed into the West. He passed away 2 days ago.

Farewell, Ricky! We might not have been that close, but we did know each other beyond mere acquaintance. His passing is indeed a shock for many including myself, and undoubtedly depressing (‘sad’ may be an understatement). Ever energetic and ever accommodating, who would’ve thought Ricky would leave us this soon? But though we weep, let us not be too troubled, for he rests now amongst the company of the Blessed – where the burdens of mortality no longer apply.

Again, farewell my friend. Namarië. I sing you the same song I ring for my departed kinsmen. “Into the West.” You know how it goes.

***

About a week ago, a great grandaunt passed into the Undying Lands, as well. Nana Tiva of the house of my mother’s mother, of her mother, and her mother before her. She was the last of her generation, the last of our great matriarchs. I did the rites in my own ways, as I missed her wake and funeral. She, too, rests now amongst the holy company of our mothers and fathers before us. Hail to you, mother. We shall meet again. To us it may take a lifetime, but for you rested amongst the timeless halls, it should only take a swift while.

***

Julia Campbell, who by the way I do not know, was apparently brutally robbed, raped, and murdered along the slopes of the Batad terraces. She belonged to the US Peace Corps and was indeed a loved and treasured member, as the locals lament. What brings me to write about her? It’s that fuckin’ idiot Raul Gonzalez. DOJ Secretary, my arse! What a bloody jerk. He arrogantly pronounced his idiocy on television, in that usual slouching position of his, that it was Campbell’s fault (having been “careless” to trek alone) why she ended up that way. Is he mad, insane, mental? Assuming that were true, one should show respect to the dead – especially when it is nobody’s goddamned fault under any bloody circumstances to be robbed, raped, or murdered.

***

I also extend my condolences for the 32 untimely deaths at the recent Virginia Tech University massacre. I shall not focus on its perpetuator, for he too lies with the Dead. Instead, I shall pray for the departed and weep my share. We pray that something as horrendous as this be given no chance to happen again.

***

Ph2005102702225_1 Speaking of death and all the weeping – I, myself, am terrible at funerals. Though I try not to wail, I cry almost endlessly. You hit that soft spot of mine and my tear ducts just flood their own ways, unyielding. Being partly raised upon many Victorianisms, I know for sure that the repression of emotions hurt.

Many people from the urban enclosures –probably over desensitised by minimal contact with the natural word– are like this, a strange breed. When one of their kinsmen die, they rush themselves to hasten the preparations and disguise the rites "of their darkness". They do not stop to wail nor prostrate before their dearly departed, nor do they bother to ring laments. These people forget that Death and mortality need to be recognised.

Najaf_1 And to that I say: Be proud, paganus! For you weep when you need to weep, you mourn passing like it should be mourned. Things are the way they should be with you, faithful to nature. Let others be as they wish, stiff and mechanical. We shall weep when need calls.What brings me to say this? Do not fuggin' ogle us like circus freaks when we weep for our dead, we'll tear off our beards and throw ourselves to the earth when we want to. We're not doing anything unnatural, you are.

April isn’t exactly the traditional time to reflect on this, I know. But amen, anyway.

Monday, 9 April 2007

Twenty One, Crossing Over

21 twenty one XXI

I have crossed over. I now belong to the real world. No longer a page, I have no more excuses. Lo, the chapter of adulthood begins for me now.

Saturday, 31 March 2007

End Moral Poverty

Afghan_03 If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.


Excerpted from the book 'Children Learn What They Live' by Dorothy Law Nolte and Rachel Harris (1998)


Enrich our youth, people. Enrich them. End moral poverty.

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Anti-Intellectualism

I confess to anger. I am baffled at how some people can be so hostile to intellectualism; to how deep their fellowmen see things. If these unappreciative simpletons feel uncomfortable with the weight of Grecian discourse, then keep silent. Don't scorn us for our wordiness; listen, add something, or just leave. As Edith Sitwell once put it: “I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it.”

Breathes. Patience, man, patience.

Friday, 23 March 2007

Silent Romance

I'm seeing someone.



...just so y'all know. (But no questions, please. Not yet. The silence is ceremonial.)

Saturday, 17 March 2007

How To Become A 'Real Man' (tm)

In response to a thread in Pinoy Exchange:

If you're desperate to be a 'Real Man' or appear 'Manly' ("Tunay na Lalaki" or "Lalaking Lalaki" in Tagalog) in the eyes of the masses (God bless their superior intelligence), or at least the masses of American and Americanised society (that includes you, Philippines), you must remember to follow the steps below like dogma.

1. Don't ever, ever let anyone see you cry. Emotions are for sissies. Suck it up like a man!

2. Never, ever worry about hygiene or fashion. Real men don't bathe, care about the oil on their faces, clean their ears, or worry if they're wearing crosstrainers or rubber shoes to a wedding.


3. If your male friend says "I love you", even if he means platonic love, humiliate his feelings and rudely point out that he's gay. Then punch him hard. Real men are very violent and rarely think before doing anything. Like gorillas.


4. You are the hunkiest, handsomest man in the world. Every other guy is a twit. But when another guy acknowledges this handsomeness of yours, point out he's being gay. Men are in constant competition with each other, why should he praise you?


5. Stop being articulate or philosophical. Men don't have to worry about brains. The only body part that matters is the penis (and maybe the balls).

6. Play every god-damned sport there is. (In the Philippines, this is limited to basketball.) Culture can only be expressed through sports. Writing, dancing and the others are for girly men.


7. Eat like a pig. Slurp, chew with your mouth open, talk while your mouth is full, and belch as rudely as possible. Men are the kings of the world, why worry about good manners?

8. Treat girls like they're sexual objects. Never ever respect what they say, or how they think. Slap the bitch if she doesn't want to have sex with such a hunk like you. Being gentlemanly is so gay.


9. Be insecure. Be very insecure. Always doubt other guys' sexuality and/or gender identity. You're the only one that's macho, remember. All the others must learn from you.


10. Don't even think of cooking, washing clothes; fixing them; ironing them, gardening, knitting, or reading. Those are girls' stuff. Men were designed to hunt deer, and that should be it.


11. Do not show affection towards your son, nephew, or younger brother/cousin/friend. This way, the little boy's psycho-emotional needs would be so messed up, he'd turn out exactly the way you are when he screws up, err, grows up. Be a role model, and repress.

That said, I pity those who actually believe being any of what I just satirically pointed out makes them real men. Fuck, these are the unfair stereotypes that brand us men as the insensitive, inutile, dick-brained trolls of feminazi mythology. Please, stop giving Manhood a bad name.

Friday, 9 March 2007

Friends

From my online bulletin board, 5 March 2007:

I was reading through my Friendster messages (not all of them, of course, there were 704) and it just dawned on me how I had jollier relationships before than I do now, number wise. Now I have friends who ignore me; who've ditched me at some point of my life; who consider me dead (judging by awkward year-long silences); who've broken their promises of perpetual brotherhood; who've totally forgotten the sweet things we once shared. It makes one wonder whether one has done something wrong; something unnatural. Tell me. Have I changed for the worse? What ills have I cast, what evils have I spun? I need to know and I want to. So I can atone for them; and better myself.

Bros_4That said, at least now I know who my true friends are. Those who've been patient with me all this time. The numbers may have been reduced drastically, but the sifting is worth it. Painful, considering how I've always treasured memories, but the Gods are wise and sweet in their cruelty.

I thank you, friend, for staying with me. I thank you for your sincerity and loyalty. I promise to stay with you as long as you want me to.

To those who've "gone", I still consider my part of our friendship valid. You are still very welcome to reclaim your end, if you wish. If you wish.

Sincerely, this week's drama.


...
AND just when I was about to fade back in time and regress again, a friend replied:

It's gonna go away. Savor the pain because in the long run, when you are old and weary and you'll look back... you'll realize that they were the best years of your life.

There is always a price for being who you are or what you are becoming. We pay for it on a daily basis... with interest.

And you are right, the Gods are sweet and wise in their cruelty. And we can only hope that there is a purpose for all this.

Very wise....and sweet (the whole message). I will remember his words forever. May it also send you comfort in dim times. Safest winds...

Wednesday, 28 February 2007

The Real Elves And Dwarfs

Why do elves prefer bows; and dwarfs, axes? Why are elves, lean; and dwarfs, stocky?

Possibly it's how they evolved to adapt to their natural habitats, perhaps in a way not very different from that of our species. I'd say: elves are more adapted to living in the valleys and forests --- the ears to hear better over large distances and lean bodies to move from tree to tree with agility, and bows and spears to protect themselves from a distance. The stocky dwarfs are obviously better suited for the mountains -- where their large axes are fit to call death upon a single blow; perhaps to compensate for their lack of agility. Their art also reflects how- and where they live.

Of course, this is just taking things seriously. None of us can prove at the moment if such creatures really existed in the natural world.


Being a fan and student of both mythology and anthropology, I've postulated this theory, partly for fun, and partly as an attempt to "rationalise" their existence in a naturalistic way:

ElvenlancerElves: About 150,000-100,000 BCE, stable populations of a tall and lean breed of late archaic Homo sapiens---or perhaps, an advanced breed of Homo habilis---slowly emerged as a separate species in the temperate valleys of Eurasia. Anatomically similar though far more complex than the breed of Homo Sapiens sapiens later to appear in East Africa, they were far slower in ageing, more agile in reflexes, keener in hearing, and sharper in eyesight. They were taller and leaner in appearance (ave. of 6 feet in height), had light-weighed bones, a long skull, high nose bridge, smooth skin texture, and fair--almost pale--colouring. Thus, a physiology developed in the temperate regions in Eurasia – well equipped for a region of deep valleys and large forests, barred by high mountains. Evidence of earliest urban civilisations must have appeared far later, as the ice sheets retreated and the regular celestial manifestations of the sun reappeared. They bore a culture which centered on extensive hunting/gathering and animal herding. They preferred abodes around large old trees and/or within valleys (often camouflaging their architecture with its surroundings) where they developed textile-weaving, metallurgy, and smithcraft celebrating their habitat. An area between the west Caucasus mountains and east of the Black Sea (then Lake Euxine) would have been the earliest possible site of urban "Elven" culture (cf. Cuvienen).

Kingdain_1Dwarfs: About 250,000-100,000 BCE, stable populations of a short and stocky breed of early archaic Homo sapiens (possibly related to Homo Sapiens neanderthalis) emerged as a separate species in the European part of the Arctic circle; in the highly mountainous regions of northernmost Europe and possibly nearby lands in northern Asia. Short and stocky in built with an average of 4 feet in height with heavy bones, they were hardier and tougher than most current hominid breeds of the time, thus were well equipped in living in mountainous areas, and in the deep, dark places under them. The earliest evidences of their urban civilizations are believed to have appeared much later in their history; where they built cities made mainly of stone and metal; and centred on metallurgy, smith-craft, and mining. The prehistoric mountain ranges of [now] Norway, the Swiss Alps and the northern Urals could be a plausible candidate for the earliest cultural Urheimat (homeland) of their pioneering urban civilisations (cf. Durin).

There exists a more "rational" way of explaining their [possible] historical existence, though. Quote, Wikipedia on Dwarf: Stories of dwarves may have a historical background: during the Bronze Age, tin miners from southern and south-eastern Europe slowly migrated northwest, since the relatively rare tin, which is needed to make bronze, was more common in the north. Being southerners, they generally were of shorter stature than northern Europeans and had darker skin, hair and beards. Their knowledge of metallurgy might have seemed magical to the northerners, whose lifestyle was still neolithic; the southerners' superior weapons and armour might well have been perceived as enchanted. This would explain why stories of dwarves are especially common in Northern Europe, and also why dwarves are portrayed as workers, while few other mythological creatures seem to be associated with any kind of organized industry.

More generally, the pygmies of Africa, the short Eskimos, Sami (Lapps), the Asian Dropa pygmies of Tibet, short rainforest natives, people with dwarfism, and similarly short people may have had a hand in the origin of dwarf legends in many countries.

The field of Depth Psychology has suggested that dwarfs are most frequently psychological symbols of what Carl G. Jung termed the "Shadow." The Shadow is the portion of the human psyche which contains personalities, behaviors, and/or events that have been suppressed by consciousness in the unconscious in a personal, societal, or collective manner.

Another origin might go back to hunter-gatherer times, when only those with physical defects would be available to do anything other than hunting and gathering. Those with dwarfism might be stuck as permanent craftsmen, and an association between crafting, and dwarfism might have developed.


Pfew. I took that rather seriously, didn't I?


....................................................
Images from The Battle for Middle Earth II.

Monday, 26 February 2007

Tears

An excerpt from my private journal, 24 February 2007.

“I have never felt so down in my life. I feel broken inside. I feel like a girl who hates herself [and who says guys can't?]. I need a tight hug. I'm holding back my tears again. I want to cry in someone's arms. I know I'll get over it soon. I know this is a tiny matter. But it hasn't really stopped aching since tonight. The truth hurts. Sadly, I had to hear it from someone else. And all too late.

...
For both our sakes, expect nothing from me. Forget all the visions; dreams you have of me. Do not believe anything you hear, read, or assume about me. Expect nothing.


Nobody sees me when I cry. Nobody sees the sadness in my eyes. Nobody sees me for all that I am. Nobody really understands. This is being lonely even when not alone. I'm tired of holding back my tears. I'm tired of playing 'strong' for other people. I have the right to be vulnerable.

...
There went another piece of my inner sanctum for public reading. This is therapy for the 'emotionally guarded'. The walled hearts.

To those who make me smile, I thank you beyond words. To my family, all my love and life. Behind everything, you love me undyingly.

Sunday, 18 February 2007

Instik, Instik!

Photo16_1恭喜發財, 新年快樂!

Today is the only day I can be Chinese to the fullest. Thus, Chinese-for-a-Day. I'm taking the day off to wallow in whatever is left of my Chinese ancestry because it's back to being "Hybrid" tomorrow. It's the least I can do for the 10% of myself that belongs to the Middle Kingdom.

10 things about today:

1. This still boggles me: Saan napulot ng Pinoy ang "Kunghei Fatchoi"? It's Cantonese. Aren't the majority of Chinese Filipinos, Fujianese? So far, the only public figures I've heard use the local 'Kionghi Huatzai' are Lito Atienza and Joey De Leon.

2. Can we please stop using the word "Instik"? It is so yester-century. It's either Tsino or Chinese. Tawagin kaya kitang indio?

3. I firmly believe both parents should be in charge. Not just the father. If the father dies (or is simply non-existent), I think it's only fitting that the mother take the kabisera. I think it's awkward for the eldest son to sit there when the mother is still very much alive (and definitely more able). There are a few parts of Confucianism that I'd wish to reform.

4. It's fish for luncheon and dinner today. "Nian nian you yu," as they say. I'm not complaining. I'm not the biggest fan of pork. Chicken ("isang kahig, isang tuka") doesn't sound so fitting either.

5. I'm actually feeling a bit ill today. Bowing 13 times isn't helping. Great. Way to herald the new year, eh? I've heard Tigers aren't very lucky this year. Damnit.

6. I haven't had my chongsan washed for 3 years now. Damn the absence of cheap dry cleaning!

7. I'm not compelled to learn Mandarin. I know it sounds classy and sophisticated, but it's not my language. It's like a Cebuano v Tagalog thing. I'm only learning it if I have to.

8. I think China fared better when it was still under the Emperors, don't you think? Piss off, Reds! Where would the Orient be without the Emperors?

9. I still favour Traditional script over Simplified. Not that I know how to write it. It just feels better.

10. Currently listening to: Kelly Chen, Faye Wong, and the Twelve Girls Band.
Oh, and something extra:
11. I think the Koreans and Japanese should scratch the Gregorian-determined New Year's Day (1st Jan) off their calendars. Let the West have what is theirs, and East its own. Sehebong Manibaduseyo and Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu, respectively.

Thursday, 15 February 2007

Napakahirap Mabuhay Sa Bansa Na...

...walang ibang alam na author kundi sina J.K. Rowling at Paulo Coelho.

...artista lang ang malakas (MAKAPAL) ang loob/mukhang tumakbo sa pulitika.

...pogi si Mayor kaya siya nanalo.

...Amerika ang pinakamataas na pangarap.

...mataas na grado ang basehan ng tunay na talino.

...Taglish lang ang hindi pangit pakinggan. (...baduy daw ang Pilipino, maarte daw ang Ingles.)

...basketball lang ang laro ng isang tunay na lalaki.

...ang tunay na lalaki ay pawisan, walang class, at kuneho kung mag-anak.

...ang lalaki ay para lamang sa babae; at ang babae ay sa lalaki.

...ang tanging katutubong sayaw ay "harlem".

...ang tanging genre na alam ng masa ay Hiphop at Rock.

...psychologically abnoy ang hindi kumakain ng karne.

...ang "pwede na" ay kasingkahulugan ng perpek.

...ang babaeng malakas tumawa ay puta o paglaki ay talipandas.

...Satanista ang nakikinig sa Rock music.

...ang doktor ay gumagamot para kumita at hindi para tumulong.

...ang ospital ay hindi para sa maysakit kundi sa may pera.

...tinutuli ang bata para "lumaki".

..."cute" ang batang sumasagot ng pabalang at pinagsusuot ng "spaghetti strap".

...okay lang murahin ang limang-taong gulang.

...kinakain si bantay.

...masarap magpulutan ng endangered species.

...madaling mag-inuman ngunit mahirap magsumikap.

...minimum wage sa guro at maximum sa artista.

...santo si Pacman at diyos ang mga letseng artista.

...kinse mil ang bayad para ngumiti sa patalastas.

...ginagawang katawatawa ang walang pera sa gameshow.

...ginagawang acting workshop ang TV (read: walang K umarte sa TV).

...pinapakanta at pinapasayaw ang mga artistang hindi naman kaya.

...amo ang dayuhan, katulong ang lokal.

...ayaw sa maitim (akala mo kung sinong maputi).

...mabaho daw si Bumbay at tulo-laway daw si Intsik, pero sino ba ang mahirap?

...na may taong walang alam ngunit ayaw magpaturo.

...na may taong may alam ng lahat ng ito ngunit walang ginagawa.


Hanggang dito ka na lang ba, Juan?

Akda ni Kekel at Andin (Kaye, Aldrin).

Monday, 5 February 2007

Tomboys And Grace

Jesi Corcuera, the (token?) tomboy lesbian from the 4th (ugh) installment of the Starstruck series, was lamenting on how she was not being treated amicably by ("Kuya") Paulo Avelino, a male colleague, on Startalk.

Paulo responded: “Kung babae ka lang, eh di tinrato ka na naming parang babae.” (Or something to that effect. Don't sue me.)

Jesi quickly made a dignified rebuttal: “Kung may utak ka, makikita mong babae ako.”

...
For someone his age (Paulo's) in the 21st century; from someone who seemed articulate and educated to my ears (by sole judgment of enunciation), I did not expect such a backward and moronic sentiment.

Well said, Jesi. Something (unfortunately) elitist in my heritage mistook you for just another mindless, mono-talented aspirant of the local Entertainment industry. But you proved me wrong. You may not be the best artist-in-the-making (don't worry, none of your rivals are) but you've shown me grace.

Just shows that not all people who study in good schools have good values, and not all those who were born of "lowly" heritage are devoid of grace and class. Cheers, young lady!

Paulo was a turn-off. Big turn-off. Walang magandang mukha sa pag-iisip na sira.

Saturday, 3 February 2007

Stale Spirituality

Because saying "this is the way it's always been" doesn't make any sense.

These are my issues with
orthodox/Biblical/fundamentalist Christianity:


Why do we do good things? Why do we avoid bad things? Is it because we await reward from Heaven? And are frightened by the punishment of Hell/Tartarus?

To quote and rephrase Sam Harris: Isn't it more noble to help people purely out of concern for their suffering than it is to help them because God will reward you for doing it, or will punish you for not doing it? This type of mindset gives people bad reasons to help other human beings when good reasons are available.


* * *

Why do we look to the sky when we want to find God? Is the animating force limited to the stars? Isn't it that He lives in all things, in the dark earth with the worms as well as with the birds that sail the clouds? Why do we look so far for His solace, when it is found everywhere around us?

* * *

Why are we so arrogant of our existence? Why do we continue to treat this earth as God's gifts to humanity, free to exploit to our hearts' content? Isn't it that our blood differs not far from the beast? And our kindreds have all sprung out from the same waters? Ultimately, don't we all come from that same ball of energy that preceded the Big Bang?

* * *

Why do we limit ourselves to the teachings of men and scripture? Are we sheep? Blindingly following what is taught to us rather than musing for ourselves? Is faith about the gouging of eyes, or the strengthening of hearts?

* * *

Why do we keep on yakking about "The One and Only True Way" and how it is exclusive to us? True religion is how we live our lives, not what creed we choose. Isn't spirituality a personal experience?

* * *

Why is it when our ministers do wrong things, we curse and forsake the ways we hold so dear? Is our faith rested on their morality? Shouldn't it that our principles be rested on our understanding of the world's order? How do you see life? What they teach, or what you believe?

* * *

Why do we feel remorse for things that are natural to us? To live, eat, have sex, and die? Does not God live in these natural processes? Must we limit the experiencing of Him to the four walls of the temple, in eating stale wafers, and prostrating?


To be continued. This is all I can think of at the moment. Of course, there are more.