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


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.) 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? may taong walang alam ngunit ayaw magpaturo. 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.