Nob 30, 2001

8:08 AM 11/29/01 COLD NIGHTS

Baguio, males' room of the guest house - I chose the bed closest to the window. From there, I see the area's clotheslines and roofs in the mornings and its lights in the nights. At night, the darkness here seemed very exotic to me, but never threatening. Like a stranger that I cannot predict at all, but somehow makes me feel that she will never harm me.

The slope of the land in my bedroom (pur)view always wears the same face. It's features are frozen by Baguio's air, the breeze subtly discouraging thaw. Very much like a lightly sleeping dog in the front door. Thus, the vault of the night is impenetrable.


The sounds of the night seemed like a suitable accompaniment to the sights. The constant "face" has a perpetual "voice." The night was not dumb at all. However, it was droning, humming.

From where I sat or lay, the cries of pigs being butchered in the slaughterhouse was so distant. But since it was the only language of an otherwise silent night, I heard it like clear whispers.

After the girls left our room to dream in their own quarters, alcohol-moist conversation was led to the "whispers". The next night would sound the same. Even the ride home was to be infected with the tune.

We chopped our thoughts and words, set them on the low fire of our tipsy-drowsy conversation, and served them on a common table. Potluck in a foreign banquet. I took the liberty of compiling the leftovers. Just like full-blooded Pinoys do to make sure that the whole family tasted a feast attended by a member.

9:50 AM 11/29/01 ABATTOIR DOGS
We talked about various meats. We talked of tastes and palates. And what of the cries that came to us as a distant drone? It never left us, the progenitor and undergird of our small talk.

You are what you eat, we have always been told. What does that say for us then? Some have gone beyond the regular chicken, pork, and beef norm. In its place our group's collective tongue have tasted ostrich, boar, and deer meat. Cat meat was cold to the stomach and may cause the uninitiated to puke. Bullfrog meat tastes a lot like chicken. Snake meat has been touted to increase a man's charm, vigor, and sexual prowess. One among us, as a child, roasted pipit and ate it with the childhood barkada, probably one of the rites of passage that children so cleverly devise.

Then of course, there is dog meat. They say that one should drink dog's blood before partaking of dog meat. Some say that the man who eats dog meat will smell of dog sweat.

Now, i would risk taking the freezing hell of an unheated Benguet bath as long as I finally taste dog meat. A staff member said that dog-eating was banned by legislation throughout the archipelago. But officials in Baguio argued that it had a special cultural significance for the city. And it was a special attraction.

The hegemonic nations consider dogs as man's best friends, the most fortunate of them bejewelled in gems that could buy third world households, factories, and votes. Special breeds have regimens and "person"al effects for competition. I wonder when our Pinoy athletes will receive the attention and compensation "owners" give their "dogs".

But no, legislation of the elite somehow saw fit to give in to foreign values before a host of other more important concerns (the state of our athletes and workers, among them).

As a friend said once, were will you draw the line? Humans, monkeys, dolphins, dogs, cows, pigs, or chickens? Extremist vegetarians also have their own standards. Where will you draw the line there? Dairy products, tofu? Maybe someday, I add, when synthetic food is possible, anything that was originally alive or part of something alive would be banned. Even plant products, mushrooms, maybe even lactobacilli shirota strain.

What if the world was the other way around? Or let's entertain speculations on an entirely system, maybe if the past wasn't as it was or if the future promised to be something else than the way it is now. With India, let's say, as the dominant ideological force and Bush and Blair's America and Europe as downtrodden as Mongolians long after the Khans.

What would happen then to the Filipino diet? More dogs, less cows?


Hey! Don't get me wrong I don't like being cruel to animals either. I don't like the idea of chickens being beaten to death with a blunt blade just to get the distinct flavor and blackened meat of pinikpikang manok.

Maybe that's where I draw the line. I just don't know how I can justify that to my (hypothetical) child. Maybe first-worlders also have that problem. They don't know what to say to their children or themselves when they see that the animals they consider all too human are treated like animals in their thirld-world backyard.

And since they are hegemonic, they try their best to impose these stupid laws on us. As if we were cultural and intellectual inferiors who have no sterling values aside from what is given to us "third"-hand.

The local elite seek their approval. And since the eating of dog seems far less natural (dangerously exotic) to the "conscientious" first-worlders than something like poverty or class differences, they see fit to approve measures that emancipates the dogs and maintains the status quo for masses of indigents and a handful of elites.

What if I just think as they do? They are greater nations so they do with us as they want to, guided by their "superior culture." I am "naturally" higher up in the food chain too compared to the dogs. So I'll have my dog and I'll beat it up nice and sound in the very same way that my national identity has been battered by ages beneath the superior races and their little brown puppies. And I'll eat it too.


We had ogled the females in the coterie to eat in one of the carinderias around the great slaughterhouse. They resisted. So we went all the way to Baguio just to eat at the same haunts open to the urban working class. Jollibee, Chowking, Kentucky Fried Chicken. The last morning in Baguio though, we were surprised that they decided to have breakfast were it counted!

I ordered dog cooked adobo-style of course. More of the flavor, less of the "lansa." Alas, they said, they were banned from serving dog meat. Maybe the lobbyists caught up with them. Why was it kept in the menu then? For posterity? So I ate goat. I ordered kaldereta and took tastes from the company's sinampalukan and pinapaitan. There it was then, three "interpretations" of goat in my stomach.

Dog meat is still served there somewhere, underground i guess. Maybe even in that carinderia! But only to trusted patrons and to people referred by such regular patrons. Or maybe only to people who could say some sort of password, some code that would secretly state that he is what he eats. Some predatory air, aura, or sweat that reeks distinctly of prey's odor.

Maybe only to people with dog blood already on their lips.

Nob 25, 2001

12:35 AM 11/25/01
Katatapos lang ng replay ng "Band of Brothers" sa HBO. "Bastogne" ang pamagat ng pinakabagong installment. Tama ang lahat ng rave reviews na nakita ko. Ayoko nang ulitin pa, mega-publicity na nga ang HBO e. Magandang intertext dito ang "Red Badge of Courage" ni Stephen Crane. Kaso, syempre, OK lang na palampasin ito. Hindi naman lahat ng naglalaway sa "Potter" ni Rowling e tumikim sa "Hobbit" ni Tolkien.

Duda pa rin ako sa timing ng paglabas ng "Band of Brothers" syempre (re: check out the real-life international scene). Ok dito kung iwasan ang mga mapanrakap na asumpsyon tungkol sa mga "bida" at "kontrabida" kasi magkakagulo talaga kung tayo mismo ang kokolonisa sa sariling pag-iisip. Isaalangalang ang mga pinong kaibhan (nuances) ng panahon at kultura at tiyak na mas malalasap ang tunay na linamnam. Panoorin ito! Sipsipin lamang ang ang utak ng kwento tulad ng pagharap sa bulalo. Huwag kainin ang matigas na buto ng kultural na bias.
9:04 PM 11/24/01 UMBERTO ECO PA RIN
Sa mahihilig sa arcana, hindi maaring iwanan ang "Foucault's Pendulum" sa koleksyon. Kapag nasanay ka na kay Umberto Eco, hindi ka magugulat sa diskarte niyang "angkinin" sa pamamagitan ng mabusising pagtahi ng kwento ang isang peryodo at isa (o marami pang ibang) sistema ng pag-iisip. Sa "The Island of the Day Before", inilagom niya sa buhay at paglalakbay ng bida ang dilim noong patapos na ang panahon ng Renasimiento. Sa ngayon, tinitingala ang panahon na ito bilang simula ng seryosong pagtutok sa agham bilang pundamental na behikulo ng "proyekto ng Tao." Ngunit dito, tinututukan ang mga daloy ng pag-iisip, kabaliwan, kahunghangan, at kalupitan na bumabalot sa kasaysayan ng agham.

Sa Foucault's Pendulum, inilagom naman sa buhay ng tatlong intelektwal na abenturero ang masalimuot na kasaysayan at interaksyon paniniwala, pantasya at katotohanan. Hindi ko pa nababasa ang kanyang klasikong "The Name of the Rose". Napanood ko lang sa Philo 1. Kinalantari naman noon ang takbo ng pag-iisip at kapangyarihan noong panahong Medieval. At kung paano, sa banggaan at pagkakasangkot ng lahat ng ito, nakasalig ang huling "anyo" ng katotohanan. At syempre, moralidad.

Maayong sundan ang mga trabaho ni Eco. Pero mas maganda sana kung inumpisahan ko muna sa "How to Travel with a Salmon & Other Essays" para hindi ako nabigla! Kunsabagay, wala pa ring tatalo sa gulpe de gulat para manatili sa kukote ang binasa.

9:54 PM 11/24/01 HARRY POTTER
Kagagaling ko lang sa Powerplant. Ubos ang apat na cinema ng Harry Potter! Matindi! Manonood sana kasi si Monica, syempre, bilang sanggunian sa kanyang linya ng trabahong magturo sa pre-school. Wow! Tips mula kay J. K. Rowling hinggil sa storytelling!

Hay naku, Pottermania nga talaga. Para sa mga taong katulad ko na madaling magduda sa sustansya at substansya ng anumang pop, todo iwas syempre sa anumang pinagkakaguluhan. Pero, mukha namang maganda. Ako na lang sa aming apat na magkakapatid ang hindi nakababasa. Book Four sila lahat! Kaya wala akong masasabi hanggang sa hindi nababawasan ang mga nakapila.

10:02 PM 11/24/01 BONIFACIO DAY
Sa mga naghahanap ng makabuluhang paraan para ipagdiwang ang Araw ni Bonifacio (ang Pambansang-Bayaning-hindi), maraming opsyon. Dalawang suhestyon. Una, basahin ang kabalastugan ni Mey na hiram na kopya. Itapon ang libro (na pinakamalaking pagkakamali ng New Day sa aking palagay) bilang asersyon ng paglaya ng iyong kaisipan. Sabihin sa hiniraman na nadisgrasya ang libro at palitan ng sulatin ni Ocampo o Ileto. Magalit man siya sa iyo, maging tiwasay ka sa pag-iisip na iniligtas mo ang kanyang kaluluwa.

Ikalawa. Interesanteng mas lalo ito. Dumalo sa isang hapon ng kultural na pagtatanghal sa PUP Manila (ang pamantasang sawi, binabaha na nga, sa ikaanim na palapag pa!) May dula, basahan ng tula, musikang makabayan at pagtatanghal mula sa mga artistang mulat. Siguro naman, kaisa ko kayo sa paniniwalang marami pang kulang sa kalagayan natin hindi ba? Subukan ang lahat ng puntodebista! Walang mawawala kundi mga ilusyon! At maraming mapapala maging sa antas na estetiko, intelektwal, at (akala n'yo di ko sasabihin ito no?) moral.

Galing ni Boni no? Topak talaga si Agui(present company included?)...

10:18 PM 11/24/01 F. SIONIL JOSE NAMAN
Grabe! Takam na takam na talaga ako sa "Pentateuch" na mga nobelang Rosales ni F. Sionil Jose. Kontrobersyal na Pambansang Alagad ng Sining si Jose (sige, spare y'all the details). Pero basahin n'yo na lang at baka mapredikta ko kung saang banda kayo papanig!

Dalawa pa lamang ang nababasa ko. Una ang pinakabagong labas niyang obra, ang "Ben Singkol". Matindi! Pasensya sa mga ekslamasyon, dala lang ng sobrang emosyon (hindi ba sa lumang balarila, bantas pandamdam yata ang tawag?). Noong Undas ko pa natapos ngunit hanggang ngayon meron pa ring aftertaste. Palagay ko nga nakakintal na sa utak-dila ko ang lasa e. O bahagi ko na.

Buksan ang pag-iisip sa pagbabasa, huwag masyadong defensive! Palampasin na ang ilang typo at maling konstruksyon ng pangungusap. Sa huli, pakinabang rin ng mambabasa.

Nabasa ko na rin ang "Gagamba". Kontemporaryo ang estilo ng isang iyan. Madaling tapusin ng mga mabilis magbasa. At kung abala ka, mababasa iyan ng maayos kahit pakabana-kabanata lang. Papayagan ng estruktura.

Sentral sa obra ang malakas na lindol noong bungad ng dekada nobenta. Ay! Bakit ko ba naalala iyan. Aakyat nga pala ako ng Baguio! (".)

Nob 24, 2001

Napapahaba ang mga sinusulat ko rito. Dala lang siguro ng sobrang emosyon, hehe.

Sa mga wala nga pala talagang ibang magawa sa oras nila, maraming oras ang masusunog sa pagbabasa ng "The Island Before Time" ni Umberto Eco. Maayos ang pagkakabuo sa tomong ito. Maraming inambisyon ang libro at natamo naman lahat. Lalo na ang pagnanais nitong maging pagsasanobela ng diskurso sa teoryang pampanitikan. Walang kaduda-duda na mahusay na ginamit dito ang pagiging semiotician ni Umberto Eco. Pero kahit wala kang paki sa teoryang pampanitikan, may sariling takbo naman ang kwento. Masustansya kung sa masustansya. Pero sa huli, kung nais mo talagang manamnam ang putahe, talagang magkakaroon ka ng paki sa teoryang pampanitikan. Sa mga mahilig mangolekta ng label, oo, "postmodernist" ang akda.
"Ha! I scent life!"

"The Lost Steps" by Alejo Carpentier is a profound member of the illustrious line of works under the proud genre of Latin American Realism. Or what them Northerners call "Magical Realism."

Carpentier struck me deep. Third world readers, I think, must make some space for Latin American Literature. Garcia-Marquez among fictionists, Neruda among the poets, and numerous more have great substance and written in the baroque style. Just like the Filipino, the Latino is haunted by horror vacui and it shows in their writing. Their art lies there.

Carpentier, with interests ranging from music to diplomacy, has an "affect" all his own. When I read "The Lost Steps," Carpentier removed me from my time, my milieu, my situation. He made allowances for me to carry the luggage of youth, love, and ideology. Gradually though, I shed each bag from my shoulder, enticed by the abandon that his work demanded. I felt too free. Somewhere in that freedom, I sensed the ephemerality of this abandon, this escape that his work fabricated for me. It would come back to me, I know. And this illusory state of primal paradise will be lost sometime in the course of the "journey."

I felt not the need to delay the inevitable. When I read it, I stayed up all night. Finishing at dawn, I found my sense of time severely disoriented. Maybe, I was luckily deprived a denial stage.

Or maybe, everything until this novel were stages of denial. I finished feeling like an Atlas reburdened by this Carpentier-Hercules. Everything seemed heavier after I was temporarily freed of my bearings. Then the author's justice came, just as I anticipated. Everything was restored. I felt enraged, feeling again the coziness of the prison cell, of living in this age. Haunted again by the zeitgeist that I never really escaped after all. And never could, as the novel stressed in its sadistic way.

With a wrath that I never previously imagined three pages could achieve, I was whipped back to what I was. But what I was cannot now be unstained with what I briefly became.

"And what you call dying is finally dying, and what you call birth is beginning to die, and what you call living is dying in life."
Quevedo: The Dreams
"A man is a worker. if he is not, then he is nothing."
-Joseph Conrad

I'm off to Baguio on Monday to hold a strategic planning and evaluation session with the staff. I work for an NGO with sensible people. They make the daily grind more tolerable. Still, I do not understand why they chose Baguio. The mornings are cold enough here in the lowlands! Temperature gets as low as nine degrees there!

I'm excited though because I'm about to meet Dr. Cosalan, onr of the good characters of Project Luke. It's another NGO. They also have a Blindness Prevention Program but they have something I covet - a program on Hearing Impairment!

Helen Keller, when asked which of her disabilities bothered her more, her blindness or her deafness, replied as thus: "My blindness isolates me from things. My deafness isolates me from people."

Nothing much can be said after that huh? The existence of an NGO is a very fragile thing. Most service-oriented NGOs have the features of a small business. With the difference that, in the Philippines, the demand for its "goods" is always great. Many have said that the government ought to do what we are doing, bringing medical attention to indigent brethren with little or no access to such services. That is true in my opinion. Other governments take care of their own.

But what do we do in the meantime? Should the fact that we are working where the government should preclude any effort to take our territory? Are we the reason why they are not doing our job? They should take it so we can move on to other things. Like lobbying or revolution.

Yes, we have been called names. I think some paleo-Marxists* call us palliative organizations. Granted. But I think they would also prefer a revolution with fully sighted and hearing masses.

Job security is the greatest hurdle though. We are here only until the funds come in. And we can't compete with job opportunities and security of tenure here and abroad. That's why I'd love for the government to take over. It will be a lot different but at least the people won't be easily laid-off once a project closes.

I can only thank the people who have supported us, those who worked with us as volunteers, and the "clientele" whose speechless gratitude terrifyingly shames me. Also the full-time staff. Whatever they get is a trivial coin measured against their true worth.

And so, even if they move on, we who are left behind can only respect their decision to look after their futures for a change. And we can only hold back tears

*I make the distinction because a great many have higher minds and stouter hearts that go beyond the dogma. In fact, I have great love for them and, i daresay, they hold my future.

Nob 23, 2001

Sa mga piraso ng karanasan, mga sari-saring tekstong hinimay mula sa dating konteksto (o ikinabit sa mga kontekstong at ko-tekstong dati ay banyaga, hal. pagpares ng "pagkain ng bopis" at "pagnamnam sa buhay sa pamamagitan ng pagtipon ng diary, dyornal, o blog), at mga "pagkakaunawa" at interpretasyon, maari tayong makakita ng isang kalipunan ng mga watak-watak na laman-"loob." O maari natin itong iproseso, lutuin, at bigyan ng konting alat, asim, tamis at (pinakamahalaga!) anghang. O sige, lagyan mo na rin ng food coloring kung gusto mo ng blue-pis. Pero ang mahalaga ay ang pag"angkin" sa karanasan at kabuluhan. Mahalaga na pagkatapos ng lahat, kahit maraming nawaldas, karamihan sa "piraso" ay naging "sangkap." At ang lalabas, kahit singgulo ng hitsura ng bopis, kapag tinikman, malalaman ng dila na mayroong linamnam (kahit kaunti). Kung tutuusin, kaya malinamnam at masustansya ay dahil mismo may kaayusan sa likod ng tinambak na sili, paminta, at laman-loob. At sa kamatayan, may nekromansya. Bagong-buhay...
Bukod sa kaisa-isang blogspot na binisita ko (kantogirlblues), wala akong kaalam-alam sa laro ng blog. May kultura bang dapat respetuhin? May wika ba na dapat santuhin? Kung anupaman, wala akong nakikitang blog-parak. Kaya't itutuloy ko ayon sa aking hwisyo ang proyektong "tekstongbopis."
Maanghang ito, kung sa maanghang. Pero minsan, lalo na sa karinderya malapit sa opisina, medyo malabnaw. Sa katunayan ayaw ko nga ng bopis na masabaw e. Pero ganito ang buhay. Mas lalong ayaw mo ng sabaw, mas lalo kang babahain. Minsan rin, matamis. Minsan, matamis at malamig pa, terno sa bahaw! pero hindi ito tekstonghalohalo sapagkat ang ideya ay isang "kabuuan" na nawasak at binuong muli sa kakaiba ngunit kaugnay at makabuluhan na ingkarnasyon. Ang lutong bopis ay mula sa isang kabuuan, isang buhay na bagay na may kaayusan sa sarili nito, isang baboy, o baka. O sige na nga, minsan, para sa mga sira-tuktok na mga bio student, isang pusang lasang formalin. O ayan, patay na sa harap mo (singledead, kungswerte). Partepartehin mo ngayon. Ipagpapatuloy....
4:39 AM 2/10/01 saturday

what were we then? we were boys who thought ourselves men. we all thought our balls have been through everything. we were cocksure about everything, like those neophytes who thought they'd been through training and they've been through hell. but we didn't know war. sexual about everything, we were phalli and the world was neruda's "body of a woman." our analyses knew no humility. we may not know everything but somehow we never doubted that everything would be given to us.

we are different now. more character maybe, but less spirit. we look forward with more fear than excitement, more exhaustion than recuperation. in us you'll find more of the skills and less of the fight. we cease our aggressive penetration. we figured we were getting nowhere, producing nothing but a alot of noise and friction. now, we just basically fight to keep ourselves erect.

then we were boys who thought ourselves men. but at least then we thought at all. now we are thoughtless men. we stand now, daunted. we fight on, sometimes to remember those times when we took it for granted that we were the center of everything. we fight on, because we know of nothing else to do.

yet we sometimes rise enough to shake the feeling that we were the zombies in m. jackson's 'thriller' video. somehow we manage hope... a brand of hope entirely unaffiliated with any form of certainty.

For if then we always knew we'll have it all, now we just manage to hope at times... hope we'll have something at least to hold when a reckoning comes. Or hope that something will hold us.

and we continue hoping, because hope of something seems better than nothing.

4:26 AM 2/11/01

i dream and dread the same thing - a life without pretenses. i dream and dread the same thing - a figure without need of sight or shadow, without the need to see beyond non-existent masks or hide behind a motley of them. i dream and dread the same thing - an embracing understanding without language.

i loathe all things i love. it is my nature, i always tell myself, hoping beneath the self-whisper that this essentialism will save me. it is the way i've been trained, reflexivity, creative-critical-crap that nourish true progress. must fertilizer stink? it is the way i've been trained, i tell myself, and beneath the self-whisper i'm praying that somehow this activism will amount to something, save someone at least. then the messianic hunger will be fed and maybe then i could die after i draft my own persecution.

2:15 AM 2/12/01

of all the little things i've feared, i've feared this one little thing dearly. i encounter this dear dread of writing in the second person in my journals without naming that person.

i've written in the second p. plenty of times before, but usually, i am that second person. i become that schizo rosally jokingly fears me to be. i communicate between selves - which is not that problematic if you believe in fragmented selves. i've written to a future self hoping, at times, that he would not forget to read the voice of the past. beneath it all though, i'm hoping some archivist or other will read that empapered voice and that the future DSA won't give time or shit to what the past says. maybe this is the hope of transcendence. someday, a more powerful DSA unencumbered by his past, never visiting it, never making his dwelling in it. but maybe that maybe-man is more troubled than transcendent. and this little-man is more conceited than he thinks. for why would scholars take time or shit to trouble over him? maybe that is my "you," a construction borne of vainglory. and the ultimate sadness and shame would be that that "you" will never exist. and to another, nothing would be communicated.

see, i do that too. i write in the third p. about myself. that's a lot of fun. but let us return to the dreaded undeclared "you."

i fear i like writing in the second person without declaring that person because i just don't know what'll happen to whatever state of mind my future-self-reader will have at the moment of reading if he doesn't remember the hidden noun of the pronoun. or what'll happen to it when he does.

imagine him, maybe-high-and-mighty, poring over screen or page, cursing cursor or finger that ravels and ravels and reveals nothing. and he goes tormented by the failure of ungifted memory - the little torment of tune-that-can't-be-named, face-that-can't-be-placed, name-that-can't-be-given-form, raised to the nth degree. n depends on the relative significance of the utterance, the level of abstraction, the height of the riddle, the problems of fitting this-or-that-or-the-other-person into the unhinting mask of the pronoun. ifheorsheisthisthen... but ifsheisnotyousandtheothersheisyouthen... and the hell of the hanging enigma breaks loose. imagine all that aginst whatever emotional baggage i'll carry in the future!

so today let's leggo of fear and have some fun. let's not care about him who may or may not care about us. let us challenge his tyranny, for everything is lived for his benefit and may this little fun is a small price to pay. well let's hope it's small, anyway, just a little irritation. (the spurious "us" here may refer to all my selves or fragments of it, or it may include you if you care to be accomplice or audience - or accomplice by-being-the-audience)

let us commence!

you are such a drag. your silence stifles me because i can only respond to you, you know! without your thrust, how can i parry or counterstrike. to be proactive would not be gentlemanly. still, i fear i must accept that i can never know what you think or know (this is just too heavy) if you ever thought at all. silence can be the height of being inconsiderate. it may mean many, many things (applied to divinity, which i hope you're not, it may mean everything). or it may simply mean nothing. you can be silent without being-silent-about-something (meaning cover-and-concealment, secret, espionage thing). you can also be silent-about-nothing (which usu. implies a loudmouth) and still (technically) be silent. (this last statement holds that you are silent about nothing so if you have something, you spill it, but if you have nothing, you have nothing to spill in the first place.)

all this logical gobbledygook gives me fun. it gives me escape. were the tacticians of the impeachment defense like this? were they too lost in the maze they were trying to create to snag the enemy that in their awe they never cared what they were hiding? did the legalese challenge monopolize their hearts. who cares? let them raise their pesos without much blood or sweat and end their bloody lives without meaning. (that was immature wasn't it? the system was supposed to be adversarial. i should give credit. how would it work without willing adversaries? so then, i advise the adverse parties and their advocates to keep their own journals and curse us to death there. then they fabricate merit and flaunt it where there is nobody to flaunt it to.)

wow. that little digression took the better of me, didn't it?

as for you, we are not yet finished. the plan for now is to create a lot of "yous" with different people behind them all. nameless profiles. curses and blessings sent now but will lose its original meaning or destination once i forget the target. and in the future if and when i read or speculate, these will probably take on new meanings and destinations. that's cool.

you are not silent. as far as i know you tell me everything or you will if time and memory would permit. you are my friend as i am yours. best, you call me. i guess that gives it away huh? highschoolish, i now hope we stay this way. maybe evolve and all, but never devolve. are you my best? both unashamed egocentrists ("at a certain level only, of course," you will probably correct me) but i am much more selfish than you are. and i don't want to say i need you and all that stuff. why? maybe because you don't need me and i don't want a one-way thing. or maybe just because i don't.

but this is a "no"-pad and even with a blessing such as you, i don't want to be positive.

2:35 AM 2/13/01

* lousy fighting form. i am in no position to serve as friend or confidante. my very world outlook does not make me pliable enough. or maybe i am too pliable to serve anybody. i don't know. damn divergent thinking may be fun but it gets you nowhere.
4:57 AM 1/29/01

it's so like them to call something threatening "mob." organized crime was called mob. somehow, the mob had a boss. yet, nothing about "mob" suggests the kind of intricate order that strictly defines the mafia. ironically, without this cutting edge order that made the whole thing and made it greatly feared, there would be nothing to call mob.

the order that brought the PP2 to the fulfillment of its "immediate" goal was admirable. short of miraculous.

mob does not fit. try "legion."
5:44 AM 1/17/01
day 1 post-env 2

"the satanic verses" take on layers of meaning as the "clock" of my country ticks. we hear the voices. who speaks their words?

we fight again over the masses. the first technique, of course, is to claim you already have them. "sambayanan," "masa," "Pilipino" - words in all their mutations, permutations, and font sizes; underscored with various number of lines, italicized in varying degrees, boldened in differing intensities; oriented in different ways, involving various collectives. we scatter them. pro vs anti. we vs them. speaker vs audience. center vs periphery. rich vs poor. elite vs mass.

"i was there." another rally to my "resume?" what is it to me? another conversation piece? party tidbit? pick-up line material? essay fodder? they were there too.

"they?" how crude can i get? let's see - petit bourgeousie.

the confetti whirls down from the fly-overs of EDSA. newspapers teared to little mimeo squares, propaganda minced, postion papers-voices broken down. where they read before they were shredded? these serve now the function of middle class dandruff. recycled articulation. emphases of action. flashy decay. a righteous death of paper.

the lady seems rounder. more human. not as sharp-edged as i used to see her as mute passengers of noisy smoke belchers made signs of crosses as they passed her in thousands of trips, thousands of times.

she is ominous now. still sinister in her promise. of justice? the more human she got, the more alien che became. she stood there before like a natural monarch. now she is among us - there in the light of candles and spotlights, among a flurry of banners, embraced by different noise and smoke - an unlikely peer. as if the night made her one of us. as any other unmicrophoned individual, present yet indistinct and un"seen". as any other banner, existent yet un"felt".

"they" - how crude can i get? how about the cigarette vendor getting a surprisingly unusual market size in his adjustment of his work hour. how can i differentiate him, place him too far, from the political aspirant getting an spontaneous press release campaign? or the people behind the lugaw. from me and my dad?

it's not just cheap unity we should be after. humanity is a larger scale a project than we think.

of course i'm anti-erap. anti-manythings, pro-manythings.

12:14 AM 1/18/01

the prosecution's a no-show. at least as far as the impeachment court is concerned. but the anti-erap streets embraced them. all applause.

the younger revilla is on the side of the angels eh? ah... what's my business getting divinity into this muck? well everybody else seems to be doing it. we have santiago's "litigant," the pro-erap's "crucifixions", and jurado's "pharisees" (if sin and his lot were pharisees, that makes Erap...). jayvee the businessman ejercito can't be expected to be as subtle as either jurado or santiago. his comparison fell short of naming his daddy erap messiah.

so corrections are in order... the younger revilla has publicly aligned himself with sin's angels. (or are all anti-erap angels sin's?) he braved the volley of boos. i wonder what price he's paying. wife lani is definitely in tears over it... whatever it is.

sobra nang pahirap, patalsikin si erap.

i just hope these personalities - aquino, sin, singson, and macapagal don't get to claiming this soiree as their achievement.

a contingent of the left always have their slogans blasting through the air as they unite with the crowd already in place. it's like a war cry - greeting combination... an expression of solidarity, of alliance, of a shared experience under the (presumed) common consciousness of the reigning condemnable condition. the predominantly uninitiated to the left style showed shock last night whenever a shouting contingent joined the danny javier-centered program. they probably thought these were pro-erap rallyists engaging them. i hope they get the hang of this. because, truth be told, i don't want the left shedding this habit anytime soon.

the "habit" i find interesting is the rally before cameras. wherever the lights of a cameraman drop on a slice of the crowd, that slice grows noisier than usual. the people move toward the path of the light flashing their handsigns (usu thumbs down), shouting their slogans, and flaunting their principles. some jump around. appearances. "hope somebody who knows me sees me."

i hope they get their butts down here.

i shout there precisely because no one can hear me. i cry my flawed cries for justice precisely because within this mass, i always sound perfect. here i am not wrong because i am not. i am nothing and everybody at the same time. this shit doesn't claim to be original. but it's my shit nonetheless.

hate is a tricky thing. and maybe, to the end, only hate will truly bind us. if it continues to do so. it's frail. when we hate in those rallies, we attach to the names of our objects of our hate other stuff we hate (or find fashionable to hate). Maceda bading. Osmena bakla. Oreta pokpok. Miriam baliw.

but have hearts people. not all homosexuals are devoid of integrity. not all promiscuous people are liars. not all of the reality challenged are despicable. take care not to debase them. do not bring them down to the level of the eleven.

2:36 AM 1/22/01

damn these color-changers. these chameleons. these creatures of too-quick and too-shameless compromise. makes us all wonder where principle is ensconced in their liquid beings. or is principle only a shape they assume after entering the container-currently-in-fashion/power. fuck the pogi points. fuck the politics. they spew the word "bayan" all over the place. they shamelessly open their mouths so wide as if in dire need of swallowing the whole throng. "sambayanan", the word, helplessly dangling in their filthy oral cavities like the gem of the world reduced to the tongue-ring of these creatures of hypocrisy-halitosis. damn them to their stinking graves. may only the filthiest of fates defile their lives and let not the land receive their disgraceful husks when the worms cry out for their bodies.

ople had the gall to quote rene saguisag. and what does that saguisag stand for. fucking holier than thou hypocrite. what the hell does he aspire to be? estellito mendoza? and so it came to pass that one panorama issue, ople subtly hinted that the throng of edsa is actually the mob that had the Lord crucified. never mind that chavit was probably the barabas referred to. i pray he'll never be free from the need to satisfy the justice of this country). his self-preserving testimony may feel bitter forcibly brushing against our palates. and, alas, he had to be swallowed. and what pushed us to degrade ourselves like this! something worse had to purged. and that evil cannot be what ople subtly insists to be Christ. what is this? is this intellectualizing? rationalizing? justifying? legitimizing? ah ople. trying to be on the side of the angels? maybe you are. your angels have fallen. what is to be debated is the nature of their fall. is it just political? if so, they've just begun their descent. maybe they have fallen even before you rose to defend them. maybe they were lost long before you found them. maybe their lies got you to believe in them. but why condemn a people in search of the truth? are we just that - a mob worthy only of your basest condescension. are we anathema to you and your grand ilk? then why bother writing to us at all? what is this salt you're attempting to rub into our wounds just when we're attempting to fucking recuperate from the hidden blows of your client. have you seen the blows? felt it? are you blind as well as cusshioned? are you playing ignorant? or are you far more sinister than my feeble mob-imagination could ever hope to understand?

so she has been sworn into power riding the puissant waves of the people. what more mandate do you require? what additional intensity? what grander intensity? i pray all these doesn't get to your head. at least not until your term is over. and if it does (or it already has), i pray the people terminate your term with the same power that benefitted you.

you claim to fight against personality politics. that is a tough battle line you've (claimed to have) drawn. it's a war against our deep-seated tendencies as a people - not natural (i think and hope) but almost so... because of the years of conditioning people powerful before you have set into place, deeper and deeper under the weight of the centuries. until it all feels oh so natural, so much a part of our collective essence:

ganyan kaming movie fans, movie fans...

you once courted the ever politically ambivalent (and now political aspirant) nora aunor to campaign for you. yes you have to get into power. and you were, in that instance, trying to get la aunor's masa-celebrity-personality to work for your campaign. a stunt like that only feeds the brand of politics you claim to combat. and of course, i'm not yet mentioning the father's name that you stubbornly hold on to, glomac. what? i hope you're not as power-hungry as some people pro- and anti-erap think you are. or else, people like me, much, much smaller than you are will have to put an end to the futile activity of hoping.

handang makipaglaban...

and so, nora aunor, i sit here wishing the heaven's would provide me with the privileged info-list: who are the people behind the idea of you running? was it just you? what are your interests? theirs? do you know their interests? do you claim ignorance or are you far more conniving than your theatrical default expression betrays? i have to know. i know no one from camarines. but that does not excuse me. especially not when you're only setting that up to be your launching pad to a new career after movies, TV, and PETA. who knows how far you'll (be convinced to) go?

edsa 2 embraced you as edsa 1 failed to. you should be happy. furthermore, you should be contented.

i ask what your true interests are (spare me the "bayan" talk). then the true interests of those "behind" you. because i know these things come before the interests of the constituents to be - the movie fans that always come to cushion your fall from points you believe to be "grace". de leon, rendez, rodrigo, etc. do you really want to give something back? why this venue? why start from scratch in another field (a very sensitive and life-and-death field at that) when you can always just improve on the first field of interest? contrary from what you may have heard, there's always room for improvement. also, you can try all the available genres. or are you so advanced as to believe that, yes, politics is a genre of show business.

who's stopping you. definitely not i. i just can't. yet. i fear your "masa." i try not to think that i love them because i might grow a brain that rationalizes everything based on that (fictitious?) love. then, if i grow unknown, as i would most likely grow, then i may end up frustrated and bitter holding my unrequited love like a dead child. while people like you bask in their endless grace and use the puissance they are not aware of to hidden ends that i can only speculate about.

and if i grow known and public, how far can megalomania be with a love affair greater than that with any individual? an affair with a greater entity... nay, more apt, a greater entity that knows not its greatness and so it licks the chains and the small hand that holds it - the weak metal and flesh it can too easily crush.

how does one make love with the masses? now that's a puzzle. or not. erap (poor piece of shit, always caught between his need to hide and his desire to flaunt) showed us one way. he abused the g-spots. he loved to hear the sex-throes of the masses beneath his penis. he sometimes tried to detach from it only so that he can court it back and exhibit to posterity and his father the scope of his power. the thrall is invincible, or so he wanted to believed. he hated the people who showed him that opposition exists and they feel raped. and so he raped where he heard "no." so that what he cannot possess, he can violate - like some roman-poisoned well.

when what he ravishes revolts, he rallies his lover to shield him. how fucking dishonorable. how understated can the word scoundrel get? how glaring it all is - the great electrically-enlarged penis never had any balls.

if only posterity and patriarch could see. let both condemn him and his kind in the spheres beyond our reach. and if i be judged to be one such as he, then i am bound to my own curse.

and so i judge. my knowledge of scripture is too small and feeble. all in all it cannot be trusted. have i transgressed judging this much? maybe no expert can tell me except the Great Entity itsef. so i hold myself to account for these and begin by judging the self.

i am not worthy to judge. i may see the judged and revile it. but in my heart of hearts, do i not envy it... how it has enjoyed impunity as long as it did (and probably continue to in depths where our probes have not descended to)? do i not covet the material opulence along the same vein that i condescendingly contemplate on the crude way it tried to cover the wealth up? along the same blood artery, do i not desire the plurality of wives seen and unseen as i wish that such a corrupt man may not fall upon and triumph over my sisters. am i not that which i judge? do i cheat God the pleasure of judging me as i have judged. that is the tactic, yes, is not? to try to condemn myself more than i will ever be condemned? and so i forge on:

kaming movie fans...

hell knows how much i loathe what i see. here is the singer using the plural first person exclusive. so the persona (that in pop songs never truly gets separated from the producers of the utterance, e.g., a singer singing of unrequited love is expected-seen to be singing about her-hisself while the listener tries to own it without wresting it from the utterer by saying s/he "relates" to the utterance) claims to be that which she describes - a movie fan. this is an act of self-description read this way. but if the persona is the singer, then shit happens, at least, in the level of interpretation. nora does (in effect) two things: a) she puts the idol in the pedestal, definitely separate-higher than the fan. b) she, the idol, sings of the fan as if she were the fan, thus contradicting the first effect. this is deception. this is the whole tactic of estrada's i-am-pro-poor (pro-fan) that he never qualifies by negating the association with the i-am-poor-underdog-persona-myth he has woven around himself. so we are left to succumb to formulae such as: i-am-pro-poor because i-am-poor. i-am-pro-fan because i-am-a-fan. nora could probably have been a fan before she became an idol-competing-with-other-idols-put-before-her. but erap was never poor.

by masking themselves as part-equal of (and not separate-above) the poor-fan, they gain the power to shape the poor-fan to their expectations-needs-desires. how? just by stating how s/he-persona is (ganyan kami...). i am poor. i am this way. therefore the poor is this way (and not another way). thus you who is poor is this way (and not another way). and the hidden clincher: you who claim to be poor (or fan) who is not this way should (naturally) be this way.

"the" movie fan (as credibly described by the ultimate beneficiary of what the fan is or is not: the idol) should be prepared to fight and fight to end for what s/he believes in. so says the idol, whom the fan is "a fan" for. no room for right or wrong. no shitty, messy critical thinking. blindly, follow.

so "the" movie fan is and so a movie fan should be. what is unsaid? "the" movie fan, nora, is not really an actual movie fan. will nora join a fan club when she admires a greater, equal or subordinate artist? will she fight for her-him as the movie fan is depicted to fight - to the end? (she left erap hanging in the air this time didn't she?... as she attempted to leave marcos though shunned by the less compromising crowd of the first edsa shindig)

another idol's relation to an admired idol is fundamentally different from the lowly fan's relation to the admired idol. the fan is no peer and thus, no necessary face in the memory bank (or any bank for that matter). the fan as described in the song is expected to know, embrace, and have pride in her-his subordination. her-his life is inferior to the idol's. so it is laid before the idol to shield her-him in the time of need or advance her-his cause as opposed to the favorites of other fans. they are proud subjects. so the idol says: i am a worshipper and i am thus. you claim the pride of the worshipper? (for the idol has established, without the act of establishing noticeable, that the true fan should be proud) then be as i am. so listener hears two entities (without necessarily "hearing" their intricate interrelation) - idol and fan.
listener separates where separation is placed - accepting the separation as if it were a natural thing. so listener (fan) thinks that this is my reality, this song. and s/he hears her life being sung. if her life a phrase or two different from the representation, then her life is the deviation and not the song. the song stays. now... because uttered with the authority of the idol oh so humbly stooping down to their level (out of gratitude for their worship, the idol claims... and/or because she was a fan herself), the life bends to the representation never knowing that the representation was never the high-ideal by nature and just the high-ideal as the producer would have it.

ganyan kami...

the utterance is best served if it has, in the first instance, deflected, discouraged, or deemed as impossible any effort to de"naturalize" what was made natural. "kami" ingeniously draws a line, who's in/ who's out, who's "kami"/ who's not. this way, the listener is not forced to belong or identify her-himself as part of the "fans." it's the exclusive-defensive-offensive kami and not the universal "tayo." thus a territory is set excluding those who do not identify with the mold (and will make trouble if coerced to join) and exhorting those included (by virtue of relating) to guard the borderlines... uniting them further by a sense of an un-fully-known others that may potentially encroach upon their territory or halt any campaign to expand. that other, although unsaid, are those beyond the influence of (local) movies. that other, more often than not are the upper classes (exploiting classes if you may).

the appalling thing is this: the producer is, her-himself an exploiter masquerading as one of the exploited to further win them over, be deeply accepted within the ranks formed for his-her purpose, to teach them to call them idol-hero/ines (not exploiters), to show how the fan "is," and rally them against the other idols and exploiters.

erap's formulation-thus-attempted-formation of the "poor" is not creative enough to deviate from nora's (his too, and almost all the other's) formulation-thus-formation of the "fan." in fact, further note should be made of nora's "bangon na, Filipino, kilos na" exhortation in the cinemas of the Filipino. this is her support to erap's admin's formulation-thus-formation of the poor. with her humility, authority (which is authority based on perceived humility) and kind, encouraging voice, she "loads" her assertion with the matter-of-factly glossed-over question: does the filipino trike driver, magtataho, fisherman, farmer, employee, etc. represented in the visuals need to wake up, rise, and move. it is not stated though loaded into the assertion that the filipino is asleep, lying down (juan tamad), and unmoving. thus, this state of the filipino, implicitly claimed, needs rousing, maybe through nora's "kind" encouragement so as not to be offensive.

but it was. the fault was subtly passed onto the people. you are poor because you do not move. you sleep all the time, juan tamad (and so juan tamad is a myth that can't be killed because it is locked into a farce deemed necessary by the gov't - gov't appears to kill it through various means, e.g., by mocking it, replacing it with j. masipag, etc., only to revive it to kill it once again - the gov't can't totally eliminate it bec it always has to show that we are j.t. and we need to change as directed). the best thing is to get moving. (look at me, once-fan now-idol. look at me, once-asiong-poor now president-idol).

but where to damn wiggle our butts? with what qualifications? unemployment, faulty-inadequate-corrupt public-school-system-philosophy, ensnaring red-tape, endless cycles of foreign debt-acquisition-servicing? thus responsibility is passed to the unempowered.

and how dare they hail us as the non-moving? we hustle as best we can trying to eke a living from the spaces left of us - underground, payatas, illegal alternatives, jueteng, lotto, etc. these alternatives, not (fully) recognized by the laws of the high and haughty probably doesn't register as movement in their richter's scales. but somehow, these same haughty-mighty figures seem to be growing fat from the same food they call poison on-cam, on-air, on-print.

so how does this cluttered space clear out into that ideal space assumed to exist by that bangon-kilos-Filipino utterance? the bkF utterance paints a picture: we're just lying down. if we get up, we have all the legroom to get self-sufficient, maybe even erap-rich-and-nora-famous! if we're lying down, it's not because we don't want to move. it's because, in more ways than one through the same elite that is both sucker and suckee of the gov't, we are paralyzed in the box of insufficient, deceiving education and thus the limited, limiting jobs.

the cluttered space doesn't clear out. elements in both elite and gov't deny the cluttered space (through propaganda such as bkF). when pressed, they say they don't like the cluttered space and is waging an all-out war against it (so please, mediaman, get off our back - just tell the people to move - thus reinforcing the loaded bkF). when asked the unthinkable question "why:" bec your govt is doing its best and can't do it without you (so pls again shut up and get moving dj).

but pressed further (as in caught-through-your-own-cover, un-friend-chavit, blue-ribbon-impeachment, edsa2-mendiola further), we see that they feed off the cluttered space. the ideal space, the exhortation to move, and the drive to create that space are just for appearance's sake. the law is only the cover, the challenge, the proving ground, the bringer-of-impunity... the true space is the cluttered, paralyzing space where the common man ekes out a living, rarely gets a break (tama sa jueteng!) while the elite gets off with monthly millions - more than enough money to hire spin doctors, pr managers, image consultants, djs, mediamen, priests, laymen megalomaniacs, congressmen, senators... the list covers the entire directory.

and so, like the myth of juan tamad, the denied and (if cover is blown) vilified cluttered space lives on despite all appearances of extermination.

4:34 AM 1/29/01

Rigoberto Tiglao of PDI countered the attacks of two western commentators whose names I refuse to care to know. their object was the PP2.

Well shit. Tiglao reads the international comments and finds that PP1 generated more (positive) fuss than PP2. Furthermore, he sees that an interesting piecee of crap has been hurled against our recent valiant collective effort. Ever the patriotic intellectual, he defends the current flow of our history. ever the intellectual patriot, he recognizes the true flaw in that flow. PP1 was unfinished. we had to do it all over again.

damned crapshooting commentators thought it fashionable to call our movement "mob rule." ah yes. back to basics. in classical past, democracy has been accused of the same words. later, socialism fell prey to this barrage. the other word, which one will find discussed at length in Raymond Williams' volumes, is "anarchy." socialism and communism were both attacked and were meant to be cornered, encapsuled with that comment.

rabble-rousers we Filipinos now are.

i refuse to feel ashamed of the recent movement of our people. it lacked many things, but i believe it was on the right track.

"mob" is an ugly word. so formless, violent, confused or frenzied, almost purposeless. that it should rule at all seems funny. but on second thought, hobbes' leviathan comes to mind. but if the state of those three days were anarchic (w/c it logically is since a "mob" "ruled"), where's the large pool of muck and blood?

8:10 PM 6/12/01 - enter a space of complete calm. see the gulls flying before you in little geometric patterns, unfathomable in design and meaning. beneath them, the sea lies acqiuescing to the breezy caresses of heaven, her skin showing her wavy thrills. the gulls hover over her like bridesmaids in their unending attendance to the bride, hovering - dependent on the whim of the invisible groom. enter a space of complete calm, that space where the skins of heaven and sea meet, breeding all the violence of nature's primordial intentions. the space where storms are decided, fates brought to bear their final fruits, fruits sometimes consumed, sometimes dropped to rot and bear new life - here. this is where it all began. all wars are decided best in the most solemn of councils. enter a space of complete calm.
My sister's volume of Patrick McCabe's "The Butcher Boy" is a hardbound copy straight from the dirt-cheap annals of Booksale. Judging from teh markings, the copy was discarded by the Floral Park Public Library. Maybe for some minor defect? I don't know... volumes that bore much more physical abuse than this are the standard fare in our libraries.

I read it without watching the film featured on HBO. Of course now, after I have seen the spiralling light, I try my luck in the cable's TV guide, waiting for the elusive film to show up again. Not much fortune so far.

I don't think National has any on stock. It's a fairly recent book so one can request it from Page One or Power Books. Or from a relative abroad maybe. I doubt if anybody can get the book at Php 49 in any case. This was pure luck. For are a connoisseur of books featuring psychological cases, this is perfect. For people looking for great contemporary tragedies, this will whet their masochistic appetites. It is laced with humor too. Which makes it all the more painful.

Finally, what is it all about? Cross an orphaned alcoholic dad with an emotionally distraught suicidal mom and you get a screwed-up boy. Place him in an Irish small town complete with bullies, sheriffs, perverted priests, and high-brow, condescending neighbors. What do you get? The Butcher Boy.

Nob 21, 2001

The logic of PDI's free tabloid dubbed "Libre" still escapes me. I still cannot understand that move. Maybe PDI is courting the "masses" whose readership they might have shed during those turbulent days circa the impeachment trial and the edsa "revolution""s"? in any case, don't take this seriously. this is just a post that i must publish so that i can test how i have "tuned" my dear blogspot.
i have just made some changes here... housekeeping, one can say, if things are a little roughly placed, please forgive. the medium is very new for me. i'm just using this all like a fancy notepad right now. i'm considering everything, even language, capitalisation, and if i'm going to be addressing a reader who will almost always be also just me or just go and make things easier by just addressing myself. then, of course, there is always "dear diary" or "dear spot".
so here i am, just another voice in this infernal din that is the world. well, this will be like all my other journals, lying around for all to read. it is clear that i must address someone.
journal-making of this type, i think, rests on a conceit that these entries will actually be read by someone other than the self. and if you continue writing entries, you do so under the supposition that those you duped into reading some entries will actually come back for more!