Dis 27, 2001
Hmmm. On second thought, maybe I'll just blog.
"Ate nawalan ka ba ng phone? Bakit di mo tinext sa akin?"
-walang kwentang hirit.
Ni hindi natawa si Ate. Pero hindi rin siya nainsulto. Alam naman niya kung anong gusto kong gawin. Gusto ko lang pagaanin ang loob niya. Wala kami sa lugar ng panlipunang strata kung saan para lang paper plate ang cellular phone. Sa estado namin, para iyong fine china. Porselana pero ginagamit, hindi nakalagay sa espesyal na estante.
Bigay ni Ma iyon mula sa kanyang sahod bilang guro. Gamit na gamit naman ni Ate iyon at hindi lang para sa pakikpagsosyalan. Intern si Ate sa UP-PGH. Sa awa ng Diyos, sa susunod na taon, gradweyt na siya. At sakaling pumasa ng Board Exams, M.D. na. Iyon na rin ang nagsisilbing "buzzer" niya. Gamit na gamit iyon lalo na nitong krisis namin sa pamilya nang naospital si lola. Mga doktor at kamag-anak ang ka-text, "hotline" kumbaga!
Nawala rin sa ophthalmology ward. Ninakaw at hindi nakita ni ate. Ironic rin sana kasi hindi niya nakita sa ophtha ward pero namumuro na ako sa paghirit e! Kunsabagay, naiintindihan naman niya. Kasi nawalan na rin ako ng telepono. Bad trip rin kasi grad gift sa akin iyon e. Alam niya na hindi ko minamaliit yung karanasan, gusto ko lang na malagpasan na niya ang kanyang pagluluksa sa lalong madaling panahon. Kasi, kailangan na niyang mapag-isipan ang isang alternatibong sistema para sa mabilisang komunikasyon habang pinag-iipunan (ko?) pa ang kapalit. Kumbaga sa relasyon, move on. Basag na e.
Mas lalong nanghina ang loob ni Ate nang sinabi ng co-intern niya na baka isang tao sa loob ng ward, isang estranghero o bantay ang nakadali. Isipin nga naman, yun pang mga taong tinutulungan ang kumuha! Malaki talaga ang pangangailangan ng mga tao sa ward. Lalo pa siguro at Pasko. Nagkakandaloko-loko na nga rin ang angkang Aguinaldo para sa itutustos sa operasyon ni lola e. Paano pa sila? Kahit hindi pay yun, may mga obligasyon pa rin sigurado. Pwedeng pakiramdam niya, nasa tama siya. Ganoon ang tawag ng pangangailangan e.
Pero, isang senaryo lang iyon. Marami rin ang talagang halang ang bituka, iyon bang handang pumatay ng tao. Apat na ganoon yung nakakuha sa yunit ko. Buti na nga lang, buhay pa ako. At si Ate. Maraming kahabag-habag na dokumentadong kaso ng mga kapwa nating hindi ganoon kaswerte.
Isang pangkaraniwan na karanasan na ito para sa mga Pinoy sa Pilipinas, probinsya man o lungsod. Maraming Pinoy ang nawalan o nanakawan ng telepono. Wala akong kilala dito sa Pinas na walang ibang personal na kakilalang nawalan. At syempre, may pangilan-ngilang Pinoy na nagnakaw, kasamahan ng magnanakaw at opereytor mismo sa merkadong itim.
Isang tulay, isang kagamitan ng komunikasyon at pakikipag-ugnayan ang cellular phone. Ituring man itong isang parikala o irony, isang palaisipan na karapat-dapat lang malutas, o isang panghuling hirit ng isang asar-talo, iiwan ko sa inyo ito: paano nga ba na isang instrumento ng pakikipagkapwa-tao ang nagsisilbing indikasyon at lugar para sa ating mga hidwaan?
Dis 20, 2001
8:51 PM 12/20/01
I have one last workday left tomorrow. I have the whole office to myself and, being a closet anti-social, that's a good way to spend the last workday. A silent, self-paced day typing reports and composing letters.
Contrast that with yesterday. I had two serious meetings crammed after lunch. And after that, the Christmas Party with the rest of the staff. That collective din earned for me a bout with migraine before last night's sleep.
The meetings were two roaring dumptrucks heavy with policies to be formulated, more people to deal with, proposals to be drafted, presentations to be set-up, and problems to contend with. I was the dumpsite.
Then the party. It was also a victory party of sorts. We were no.1 in our field this year! That part I balme on the staff.
I met the staff members, their better halves, children, and some friends in a radically different light. There was something beyond beyond the numbers we crunch, the eyes we operate on, the people we meet, and the endless paper trail that mark our professional passing. I felt something really very funny. I'm not used to it so it took a while to settle down in my gut. But it's a good, bittersweet feeling.
I felt and knew with uncanny certainty, that whatever happens, even if I get unceremoniously fired tomorrow, I will always consider this staff - with people I knew for barely half a year - family.
9:37 PM 12/20/01
Wala akong pakialam kung nasa ilalim ako ng Gemini o kung nasa anong bahay ng anong planeta nakakulong ang tadhana ko. Wala akong tiwala sa mga bituin o anumang nakasulat sa mga kumukutitap nilang pagmumukha. Pumipirma lamang sila ng luha sa langit kapag nahuhulog na sila.
Sa Lian, Batangas ako magpaPasko. Mag-aanak ako sa binyag sa a-bente kwatro, pangalawa ko na (pangatlo, ipapaliwanag na lang, maya-maya...) pero naninibago pa rin ako.
Kuya ko ang ama ng poging lalaking sanggol, pinsan ko sa banda ng ama ko. Kuya ko rin yung kumuha sa akin dati, pero pinsan ko naman siya sa banda ng ina ko. Digresyon, pero babanggitin ko na rin, nagkataong parehong (Ate) Edna ang ngalan ng mga kumare ko. Dahil sa mga "nagkakataon" na ganito, minsan inaakala ng isang indibidwal na talagang espesyal siya, pinagpala, o may mahalaga at kakaibang kahahantungan.
Pero wala na sa isip ko iyon. Sa totoo lang, ikinararangal ko talaga na napili ako ng pinsan ko para sa panganay niya pero hindi ako gaanong masaya. Natatakot pa nga ako. At hindi ito ang tipikal na "takot" ng mga ninong sa mga reregaluhang inaanak.
Kambal ang una kong inaanak. Dalawa silang magagandang babaeng sanggol. Noong bininyagan sila, pakiramdam ko nga may kaakibang nakasulat sa mga bituin ko dahil kambal ang una kong aanakin sa binyag! Swerte raw iyon. At dalawa lang kaming pares ng ninong at ninang! Hindi ito tipikal sa lugar namin sa Rizal, kung saan may pag-iisip na investment ang maraming ninong at ninang na matutunog na pangalan.
Ngunit simple lamang mag-isip ang mag-asawa. Bagay sa payak nilang pamumuhay kahit kakontra sa pag-iisip sa paligid nila.
Ilang buwan pagkatapos, bumigay ang mahinang katawan ng kakambal. At ilang araw pa, ako mismo ang nagbendisyon bago isarado ang ataul at ilagak sa sesementuhang lupa.
Kung tutuusin, wala akong swerte o silbi. Mas mabuti pa nga siguro kung may mas matunog at makapangyarihang ninong na nalapitan para sa ospitalisasyon. Ano ba ang magagawa ko, hamak na mag-aaral, sa mataas na singil ng kamatayan? Walang bituin, walang tala, walang nakasulat, walang swerte, walang kapangyarihan. Wala kapwa para sa inaanak at inaama.
Ngunit sa loob ko, hanggang ngayon, umaasa ako na wala man ang lahat ng ito para sa kanya, ang espesyal kong inaanak, sana pinagpala siya, may kakaibang kinahantungan, may mahalagang kahulugan.
Sa Bisperas, may nakahanda na ako para sa kakambal niya, magdadalagita na. Kung walang kakaibang mangyayari, dadalo ako sa binyag ng mahal kong magiging inaanak. Haharapin ko ang masasayang magulang sa seremonya at pista. Haharapin ko sila, mga pinsan ko, na umasang swerte ang anak nila sa akin. At nagtiwalang maaasahan ako kapag may masamang mangyari.
Sa mga makakabasa, malugod kong pinasasalamatan ang anumang iaalay na mabuting kaisipan o dasal para sa mga bata. Sa kasalukuyan o hinaharap, pagsumikapan sanang pahalagahan ang mga inaanak at ang bigat ng responsibilidad lagpas sa mga pangalan at aginaldo. Manigong Bagong Taon sa lahat!
[Unless I have courted your consent or coerced you, you have been brought to my domain by some quirk of fate or server. I hope you will get something here. You don't need to borrow, just steal. Just let me know you passed by. It'll be very interesting to know. Lives intersect in this plane too shortly, as if it were not important. I hope you beg to differ.]
Dis 18, 2001
With notable exceptions, of course (I don't subscribe to the idea that globalization necessarily entails homogenization), but undeniably, this is the general case there.
I've been trying to find out if we have a Filipino equivalent of the acronym. I'm trying to soup one out too, in case there isn't. It may be very unpantayong pananaw to do so, but small and snappy formulations gets attention and, if properly executed and contextualized, achieves staying power. Ask those advertisers and PR people!
Here in the Philippines, the favored people are "Tagalog" and "Catholic." I should add maleness too. I admit that I am all of the above. "Tagalog" denotes both language and ethnicity. It also says that you are much closer to the Greater Manila Area, both in terms of physical distance and access to key institutions.
As a language, the message is loud and clear. Some Cebuanos refer to Tagalogs as "mga anak ng Diyos". With something much, much less than a worshipful tone. They are right though. Tagalog claims to be "language" and all the other languages are subjected to being called "dialects." I heard somewhere that a language is just a dialect with an army. That is correct in our case too.
They are right when they say that more Filipinos are born with Cebuano as a mother tongue. The Tagalog retort is that more Filipinos know Tagalog either as a mother tongue or as a second (sibling?) tongue. Of course, the brawl doesn't end there. Cebuano representatives say that it's that way because of the educational system which of course points back to the fact that Filipino, the constitutional language, was based on Tagalog.
That's just one of the debated points in the Cebuano-Tagalog discourse. And we haven't gone up to the Northlanders' Ilocano and English yet.
I tried learning Cebuano. I had this petty crush on a Cebuana. I took Filipino 10.1 and I went on to 10.2 even when my affections for the girl faded. The affection now, belonged to language. It's still there. Although, I fear I'll just hear another Cebuana tell me "pakiramdam mo anak ka ng Diyos" in her mother tongue.
They say you only need three languages to get around the archipelago (besides our heritage of English). Ilocano for the North, Tagalog down here, and Cebuano everywhere else. Down South, our state's bias toward Catholicism is being constantly challenged.
Pres. GMA just declared December 17 as a national holiday because it marked the end of Ramadan. That was certainly long overdue. Now, it just looks like a tactic. Funny that there was a call to a ceasefire when the whole December 17 concept showed that war will now also be waged on the cultural front.
We can just wait and see, and just hope that when the smoke clears, we will have a better understanding of our political composition and much, much better treatment of those people we call "minority" and their speech which we call "dialect." They are, in truth, better known as "marginalized" brothers and sisters with their own rich language and heritage.
But when the smoke clears, if it ever does during our lifetimes, we will only see the product of our neglect. Of our "waiting" and "seeing." And the true Filipinos are called, in our own fields, in our own ways, to do something else. Something better. Something.
11:58 AM 12/13/01
I really miss blogging.
10:52 PM 12/17/01
Mahina ang makina ng Pasko ngayon. Hati ang pakiramdam ko rito. Sa isang banda, masaya ako at kahit paano nabawasan ang kalabisan ng Pasko. Sa kabila, malungkot ako at napapag-isip.
Naalala ko pa noon, pumunta ang Santo Papa sa Pinas. E lampas pa ng Bagong Taon yun! Kung hindi ako nagkakamali, paPebrero na yun e. Iyon na yata ang pinakamahabang Pasko na naranasan ko. Sawang-sawa ako sa mga ilaw sa Ayala at EDSA noon. Nakakasuya sa dila. Doon ko naunawaan na napapaloob ang Pasko sa mga kondisyon ng lipunan.
Hindi ito nakatakda na tila isang tala sa langit. Kung walang kahirapan, hindi mapapaaga ang paglusob ng mga nagka-caroling, ang pagprodus ng mga parol at mga paputok. Kung walang Santo Papa sa Pinas, hindi aabot sa Pebrero ang Pasko.
Pero kung walang pera, tulad ngayon, may kaltas rin sa ningas ng liwanag sa mga kalye , gusali at bahay. Kung magkaroon ng kapansin-pansin na kabawasan sa iuuwi na datong ng mga kapatid, magulang at kaibigan nating OFW, may deduksyon rin sa mga countdown, ingay at, siguro pero sana hindi, halakhakan.
Kaya't sa isang banda, sa totoo lang, inaalala ko rin ang katahimikan ng Paskong ito. Bagamat gusto ko sana ang ganitong Pasko, parang nalulungkot ako. Kasi alam ko na hindi naman talaga ganito ang tipong Pasko ng mga Pinoy. Para bang napilitan lang dahil sa sunod-sunod na dagok ng realidad sa ating mga indibidwal at kolektibong pamumuhay, kabuhayan, at buhay.
Para bang napagod tayo sa mga pinagdaanan natin nitong lilipas na taon. Walang kalatoy-latoy, walang gana. Walang gaanong dahilan para magdiwang.
Syempre, mas liligaya naman habang papalapit na ang kaarawan mismo ng Pasko. Siguro mas malamig nga lang ang pagtanggap sa ilang inaanak. At baka manlamig rin ng kaunti ang mga inaanak at kumare sa matatanggap na Pamasko. Pero may pagmamahal pa rin diyan, sigurado.
Hindi ko lang alam kung paano talaga tayo maaapektuhan ng tuloy-tuloy na Pasko. Malamang na walang gaanong maihahain sa Noche Buena ang mga sumasahod ng arawan at umaasa sa sistemang pakyaw. O, tulad ng nakagawian kapag piyesta, baka mangutang. Mas maraming handa ang mga regular. At mas maraming tutubuin ang mga usurero.
Gayumpaman, Pasko pa rin ito. Nawa'y pagpalain tayo. Sana, sa mas mahabang itatakbo ng panahon, ikabubuti natin ito bilang lahi. Sana may saysay lahat ito para sa atin.
Sana maging makahulugan ang Pasko ninyo at mapagpalaya ang Bagong Taon. :}
Dis 16, 2001
I have been deliberating. Should I add my own sitemeter in this spot? It's all there, HTML and password. Lingering, an unhumming machine in my inbox.
It's a good addition, to start with. Mechajol wanted one for his Volks site. But he's into Dreamweaver and HTML scripts are just not his cup of tea. I'm just too low tech. To be sure, his site deserves it. So do all those exemplary sites of our Pinoy brethren overseas. Also, I must mention those very insightful homegrown sites I know. (Yup, I will list all of them here someday. They also deserve separate articles!) They rake in readers by the dozen! Or if they don't, they deserve to.
Some sites I've been to already have sitemeters in them. Some of them have an icon. Most, I know, are invisible. Alvin Toffler rambled on and on about this phenomenon when information about clients, potential consumers, demographics and all that will matter so much to the sellers that struggles will be fought between the possessors of that information and the entities who want it.
Much money will be gained and lost over this. It's already happening. This is no conspiracy theory, just economic truths that aren't all that apparent. The bar code in all those groceries and publications, what i like to call the tattoo of our contemporary consumerist age, for example. Scanning that enters valuable information about the consumer. Taken one by one, these figures don't matter. But a critical mass may be reached. Then the possessor of the data may process it all into valuable information.
When do clients buy? What drives them to buy what they do, when they do, where they do? Then they act accordingly. They adjust marketing strategies to attract the right people and ensure product loyalty. A lot of processing to do, really, before all that amassed data will actually mean something. Then after that, a lot interpretation. There are companies and firms doing just that. A lot of examples on the web too. Sitemeter and all those statistical implements are just one thing. Just a knit in the whole loosely-pieced-together tapestry that is the Zeitgeist, the spirit of our times.
Owners of personal sites use this for more, well, personal reasons. How many read me? How many care (or dare) to come back? What are my site's peak hours? Or peak weeks, peak months? What age-brackets, maybe? From what time zones?
Then we interpret. More questions that we want answered. How many are interested? How many stay interested? How interesting am I? What makes them come back for more? What turns them off? Am I worth reading? Am I of any worth altogether?
For me, however, what good will it do? Additional information? Yeah right! As if I need to know how often I visit my own site! :)
INTERNET CAFE AT PRIBADONG WEBLOG
Kamakailan, dinala ko ang bespren ko sa isang internet cafe para ipakita ang mga pinaggagagawa ko sa WWWeb. Wala siyang modem pero may access naman siya sa isang rentahan ng kompyuter sa may kanto nila. Kaso, hindi siya talaga makalikot sa mga ganoong bagay kaya ako na ang nagpakita sa kanya kung paano magwala sa net.
Syempre, nagmamarunong na naman ako. Sa totoo lang, parang bulag na umaakay sa kapwa bulag! Pero oks lang kasi masaya naman kaming nagsasayang ng de-metrong minuto sa internet cafe.
Ipinakita ko sa kanya ang website ng organisasyon namin dati. At sa pamantasan na rin namin na online din. Ipinasyal ko rin siya sa mga blogspot ko at ng mga ibang kakilala ko.
Sabi niya, parang trip rin niyang magka-blogspot. Natuwa naman ako, presyemps! Ika ko e, "sige! Kung saan ka masaya, suportahan taka! Kapag OK na yaon, maari kitang i-link sa spot ko!"
Ngunit ayaw niya. Pribado raw. Di nga niya sasabihin kahit sa akin ang path ng spot niya kung magkakataon!
Hindi ko ito maintindihan. Bakit ka gagawa ng webblog kung ikukubli mo rin? Pupunta ka pa sa internet cafe siguro kada linggo kung sakali hindi ba? Bakit hindi ka na lamang magkwaderno sa bahay?
May ideya ako kumbakit. Hindi lang ako sigurado kung tama ako sapagkat kahit na pinakamatatalik na kaibigan ay lingid sa atin.
Ganito lang, minsan, lalo na para sa ibang tao, mas taimtim ang dasal kung talagang dinayo pa ang simbahan.
Kahit ganito sa web, na pinapairal ng makabagong lohikang kapitalista (ang sistemang kapwa tuwa at takot sa pag-unlad ng internet), hindi ko maiaalis ang posibilidad nito na maging "lugar" para sa matinding introspeksyon. Maari pa nga sigurong maging isang espiritwal na situs para sa ilan sa atin.
SA MGA KAPATID NA KATOLIKO
Simbang gabi na naman! "Misa de Gallo" ang minana nating termino. Ngunit ating-atin ang praktis! Sa totoo lang, pinakamaganda ang simbang gabi na kasabay talaga ng tilaok ng manok, yaong tipong alas kwatro.
Dito sa amin sa Makati, alas kwatro ang simba. Masarap talagang kumpletuhin iyan. Sa aking palagay, mas malungkot ng kaunti ang Paskong Pinoy ngayong taon. Ngunit ang Paskong Pinoy ay Paskong Pinoy. Ibang-iba, hayag na hayag, at kahit paano, anuman ang mangyari, maligaya...
FOR BRETHREN IN THE MUSLIM FAITH
Ramadan ends on Monday. I'm not versed in the Islam traditions. I've always just equated that day with Catholic Easter or Christmas. As if Ramadan where their Lent. Ignorance, really, is a bother. This is a cultural translation. And in any translation, there is a treachery.
Personally, I find it very inconvenient that Pres. GMA made Monday, December 17, a national holiday. For one, I'll have to postpone a meeting that might earn for my staff their much deserved bonus. So I'll have to compress my timetable.
And the other, more important personal reason, is that this holiday delayed my grandmother's bone operation. I gave my blood in the bank as early as I could so that she'll not linger in that depressed state one more day in the Philippine General Hospital. For our revered elders, as you know, every day counts much, much more than it does for us young ones.
But still, I think these considerations are way overdue. I can only imagine how much more inconvenienced generations of Filipino Muslims have been. I will not be surprised if my own experience pales in comparison! Doing it just right now, considering our situation, makes the whole thing just another one ugly tactic.
And, maybe, if I were a Muslim, I would have found that much more demeaning. Really, just adding insult to decades of cultural injury.
But, I'm also glad we're beginning to realize this. For a more positive take on the subject, maybe we can also ignore that tactic angle. I'm also grateful that we are starting. I just hope the next year's follow through will not be as tainted.
Happy Holidays, if I forget to post a more timely entry later. Maligayang Pasko at Maligo Tayo sa Bagong Taon! =)
Dis 15, 2001
Kaso, totoo naman ang nakasaad dito. At tila sa bawat ikikilos natin sa kalakhang Maynila, makikita natin ito. Lalo na kung sensitibo pa rin tayo.
Kahit sa matataas na gusali ng Ortigas at Ayala, o sa mga eryang slum sa gilid-gilid ng Maynila. Iisa ang istorya. Parang dalawang mukha ng iisang piso. Cara y Cruz. Sa kabila ng mga deklarasyon ng kaunlaran at antas ng kabihasaan natin (kabihasnan), palaging nanalaytay sa ilalim ang ganitong katotohanan. May mga butas at krak sa mga pader ng ating sibilisasyon. May mga hiwa at kubling lagusan sa ating pagkasibilisado.
Noong nag-umpisa ito. Ginagamit ko ang kapwa dila kapag trip ko, kahit sa magkaibang paksa. Kaso, gusto kong maipakita na matatalakay sa Filipino ang anumang matatalakay sa Ingles. Depende lang iyan sa timpla ng gumagamit.
Kaso naisip ko rin na baka mas maging magulo lahat ito. Bopis na nga e tatadtarin ko pa. Ano kaya? Paano kung gumawa ako ng bagong blog?
Ewan ko, saka ko na iisipin. Baka ilagay ko na muna rito para sa ingkubasyon. Kung hindi man mabuo at mabuhay, may maiuuwi naman akong mainit na balot!
Eugene's text message
To say that it's a dog eat dog world out there is a gross simplification. It's true, but it's too simple.
The metaphor of the urban jungle never seems like a tired cliche. Although I've read, seen, and heard it in many of it's permutations, in poetry, short stories, movies, cusses, and sighs of resignations. All reflections and perversions of human existence. All indices of truth, in one way or another, focused or off-centered.
We all know it and rediscover it in our personal nadirs in urban existence. Most fresh graduates I know feel it. Or re"feel" it because they knew and feel it all the while, but now it remanifests itself, an aspect of reality just now revealed. Or just now perceived this close. Like a predator howling in your face. You've always heard that howl, even talked about it, from a safe distance in parties, houses, and even the academe.
Now of course, despite everything, you are a foal. Up front in the chase of your life. Running in circles. Or in seemingly impregnable heirarchies. Pyramids. Food chains.
In this case, of course, the metaphor is "taming," "domestication," and ultimately, "possession." It is the truth of our lives. Dare we wonder if it will change? Or is it just too "natural."
Dis 12, 2001
Band of Brothers
WHY WE FIGHT / POINTS
HBO's Band of Brothers, faces the toll of triumph in Episodes Nine and Ten.
Coup de grace.
Victory brings out the worst in Easy company. Bullets fly sparingly. And the spoils of war are aplenty.
But the band will face the unspeakable residual horror of a Concentration Camp. A grim task falls into the hands of a translator. He must tell the survivors of the camp that they freed to go back in.
Major Richard Winters takes stock of the past. It has been four hundred days since D-Day. Meanwhile, the company suffers casualties from their own excesses. Everybody counts their wounds and "points" to go back home and escape the possibility of being assigned to the frontlines of the war in the Pacific.
Japan surrenders. The war is over. The future looms with uncertainty. Each man has inherited war. Any future for them will always contain its horrors.
And the blood ties that bond.
Dis 10, 2001
I am currently downloading freeware for FTP. That's me, ever the cheapskate schtick. I chanced upon Windows FTP. I haven't run the set-up yet because I'm getting some anti-virus stuff too from another site.
I really hate geocities. My website options are so limited. With my already limited technical know-how and brains in general, I just know i'll have tons of problems if I opt for something else.
I wish I'll have enough money saved up for dreamweaver and/or frontpage by Christmas time. I want to make my own site outside of yahoo. I know I'm a damn irritating newbie, but there's nothing a little patience, trial and error, and piles of Internet cards can't fix. I'm already putting foundations in Portland, my new web home. Inspired, of course by my Marvel-comic-based-Norse-god's-weapon-named prankster's splendid site on the cult classic Volkswagen Beetle.
11:35 PM 12/9/01
Some of my friends have followed different paths and I seldom meet them. Our lives now look like forking roads or separated streams. Some of them never really shared my path, but fortunately became friends anyway. I see them even less. Some of my guests here, I have never seen and maybe never will. Some are very faint acquaintances, almost fleeting like dreams. And I am grateful that at least through letters (electronic and otherwise), text messages, telephone, and modern conveniences such as this, I get to "see" them, and they get to "meet" me.
I receive a shred of their sentiments, a peek at their hearts, and a piece of their minds. With only the benefit of words, I construct them, like eager clay, in my playful mind. And with childlike abandon, I recreate them. Of course, I scold myself too, so that some form of prudence and respect will guide the creative process.
That is how I come to know them. In me a child creates with her open and impressionable mind. And a parent trims it all down and fashions it into something comprehensible with her great narrow mind obsessed with focus and function.
I come to know them through the material they give me and the act of construing the material into some shapely mass that will somehow represent them. And I fervently hope, somehow resemble them.
The days are fast. Neighbors change their faces too frequently. Some of those lives are lived a breath away form mine. But I never see them. And I may never see those who will replace them tomorrow.
Our "true" neighbors are those we associate and communicate constantly with. And some of them live one too many miles away, over lakes, rivers, and seas, on one of the myriad sides of the world. They live closer to us. Some of them, I haven't seen. Human connection, the idea that served as a plaything for poets of the past and advertisers of the present, has come to take on so many new forms.
More than ever, it seems, it is more difficult to be an island.
Or is that so? So many people know so many little things about a single person. A lot of people know a bit about me, but no one really knows me. And I'm not even playing enigmatic. So many people I know are like this too. Too a certain circle of friends, I am a blabbermouth, while some people are shocked to hear me speak more than three sentences! Some guys think I am principled. If they asked my drinking buddies for confirmation, they would say, "duh? no!" then, "hic."
To the greater part of humanity, I am a statistic, just another voice in the infernal din that is the world. It would take nothing less than a God to hear the great sound of the whole thing and still distinguish my paltry squeak.
Maybe, caught and defined within this great host of interconnections, I am, in truth, unknown. I lead so many lives, wear so many faces, use so many different voices so naturally. I cannot even call it lying. Because I am every one of these lives.
Postmodernists call it fragmentation. Most of us do not really just possess a life but a myriad of fragmented lives. If I were a woman, I could be mother, sister, wife, diarist, activist, bussinesswoman, trainor, and my ailing mother's nurse all in one day. And then another set of fragments tomorrow.
Fragmented, they say, to make semantic room for the phenomenon that some of these fragments contradict others. I may be a man with professed feminism in writing but a patriarch at home and a chauvinist in the bar. And maybe even effeminate in the closet!
Or I could be a wife-battering surgeon who consummately practices my religion. I could also be very cruel person and still cry my heart out watching sad movies.
If all these hold water, then it is true that no man is an island. But she can possibly be an archipelago.
Dis 8, 2001
Dis 7, 2001
2:26 PM 12/7/01
Jean-Paul Sartre still stands as one of my all-time favorite atheists. The ethics he laid was crisp and exacting. The individual will exact from his every little action and smallest decision what he prescribed for everybody else. Thus, every particular decides the universal.
The most powerful institutions of his time, of course, thought otherwise. The essence precedes existence. Edicts have been laid as a universal for all individuals to follow. From these universal laws, state, church, and society expects its constituents to derive their everyday actions. Thus, everything hearkens back to some rigid set of universals.
Atheistic Exisentialism, the thinking and movement which he championed, reversed the whole thing. Every man, by choosing something, walking a certain path, and executing a particular action above all other choices, roads, and possible deeds actually chooses for all mankind! The universal "Ethics" is derived from actual individual choices and practices.
Man is free. Man is condemned to be free.
If man is truly free and without a supreme being, essence, or path above her, then that is a truly distressing situation! No One and No Thing tells her what to do. In fact, it is her every choice and move that sets the standards and defines Ethics! Even when she tries to escape from choice, that is a choice. And in so choosing, she effectively enters her prescription for all mankind. Who would bear such a responsibility?
I think it will do all of us a favor to read Sartre's Existentialism and Human Emotions. I read it, chewed, swallowed, and digested it, and in doing so, I am prescribing all of mankind to do so, Atheist, Muslim, Protestant, Muslim, Adventist, Agnostics, and everybody whom I have excluded in the expedience of my narrow-mindedness. Just read, one doesn't have to follow everything he says or believe in the entirety of his creed!
There are some interesting details that one must bear in mind.
- Existentialism and Human Emotions is a small volume, definitely uncharacteristic of Sartre who is known for producing bulky tomes.
- I don't care if my very human emotions count or not but I think I was darn lucky he compiled the little thing.
- Sartre also attempts socialism but only within the confines of his existentialism.
- Even engagement in socialism is an individual choice.
- Very bourgeouisie? Go figure.
- His most important axiom is the Cartesian Cogito Ergo Sum.
- He built his whole brand of existentialism from there.
- One of Sartre's most controversial choices was his rejection of the Nobel Prize that was being awarded him.
- Again, go figure.
Maybe I'll write more of him when I finish rereading the book. Maybe that'll serve as a stronger prescription? For the time being, au revoir!
If I were a work of art, I would be Heironymous Bosch'sGarden of Earthly Delights.I am decadent and depraved. I have an eye for small details and love to fit in as much hedonistic pleasure as possible in everything I do. I buck authority and am not afraid to make a statement outside approved channels.
Uh OK. That explains a lot.
By the way, I just found out. Chomsky stated: "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously." Which was thoroughly syntactical but utterly senseless. But very useful as this case illustrates. My, that line made him popular! Anyway, colorless though they were, they were undeniably green. And that may explain why they "slept" "furiously."
And when I look down or sideways or anywhere just to escape your gaze, I fear you more. Because I know that by turning, I run or hide in effect. And if you wanted to play predator, I would fall prey. And you can bare me, split me open and melt me at the same time. Like a hot knife on butter. Gutless, I would entirely be at your mercy. And all my metaphors would yield their meaning.
That is a given too. But that is not all.
Because when I run or hide or play prey, I fear you most. Because you can corner and consume me like a host of dreams on a sleeping delusional. Or as phalanges of images and failed hopes on that dying lady expecting her whole life to pass before her eyes.
You can prey upon me, an onslaught of dreams. And my most sublime fear, the fear that still defines what I am or will be, is that you won't.
Dis 6, 2001
I wanna be a geek. But I'm not. Why would
I even want to be one. Do I think it's fun?
I should try writing an online test application at 1
am in my underwear.
So, there's the rub. I always thought I was pretty geeky. I guess there's never an end to revelations huh? Especially whenyou don't get tired of geeky online tests! I've got at least three indexed in my favorites. In a separate folder even! But I guess that doesn;t make me a geek. Nope. That makes me a bum. (",)
10:23 PM 12/4/01
Dionysio, my alter ego in www.peyups.com, wrote a review on Rushdie's Shame. I'm very happy about it. Not so much so because of the vanity and conceit thing writers are touted to possess in large quantities. I think I'm just glad to know that I still have it in me. Imagine a fisherman who leaves for Saudi, say to become a driver for a company. He comes back home one day and faces the sea with oar and net. He gets fish. He's happy to know that the fish is still there. And so is the fisherman.
Remember Salman Rushdie? He got Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa or death sentence. He also got himself a Booker Prize. The former was for his Satanic Verses and the latter, for Midnight's Children. His is an exiled mind. History has continually shown that it's the most dangerous kind.
I recommend his books to everybody concerned with the human condition and imagination. His books (I agree with this columnist in peyups) are so damn costly though. Two of his books costs as much as the whole Rosales Saga. With enough left for a snack at Powerbooks too.
Ever the F. Sionil Jose fan, I recommend the saga. But if you happen to chance upon a cheap volume (as I did with Shame), don't think twice.
This is really late. World AIDS Day was supposed to be on December First. But it's still December and it's still cold. (",) So stop and think too, anyway. It won't hurt.
Dis 5, 2001
If I were a James Bond villain, I would be Oddjob.
I enjoy bowler hats, golf caddying, and killing people in hand-to-hand combat.
Who would you be? Take the James Bond Villain Personality Test, why doncha?
I am not in the right profession. Gotta get me one of them bowler hats...
Or maybe I can offer you something. Uhmm, maybe you guys can make use of some pick-up lines in your budding social lives? I got some new ones here for you. I won't be needing them. I hope?
10:11 PM 12/4/01
On the last patrol, the band must choose fifteen of the brothers to infiltrate enemy lines and secure POWs. Capt. Winters, Lt. Wieks, Lt. Nixon and the rest of battle command must make a choice.
On the patrol, within and beyond the cover of darkness, T/Sgt Martin must make do with what he has. He has to deal with a reintegrated translator, an ambitious, upstart officer, and the prospect of losing an underaged soldier's life.
This is it, the penultimate episode. A definite transition from the desperate images to the coming of an uncertain victory. The two-part finale cometh.
Arundhati Roy is definitely my new literary goddess. Her first novel, The God of Small Things, won the Booker Prize! How's that for a "debut"ante?
I really wish I had more time. So that I could review her in my blog. Or in
Dis 3, 2001
Strange I should call you that. You are fair, with white and pink skin seemingly always in a state of thaw. As if you long to yield but none can melt you. Dark searching woman, with your secrets always almost said but ever-falling into vague whispers. Falling into the dead of this world.
But this world is blistering with life! You know it! But within you, in the deepest, frozen recesses of your heart, you deny it. Before you sleep at night, there is that instance when you just know that you do not belong here. That life and love is somewhere else. And your life here, though not empty, will always be just a great string of half-joys and compromises.
Tomorrow morning, still in this world's bed, you will dwell on a state half-immersed in dreams and half-surging into waking light. Your thoughts are made to fit the edicts of reality. Then you will wake up. The new day awaits and you live it, making friends, enemies, and strangers of people around you. You fail and achieve in more or less equal measure. You carry on. Most importantly, you survive. Always interested in knowing and becoming, but always distant.
They all matter to you, you know. Except at small moments when you are idle and you forget everything. Also, there are those contemplative times when you take measure of your life and you deal with great warm vats of insecurities. After those moments, a thought swims through you. This, the cold idea that nothing really matters. And every night, an instant will remind you. You do not belong here. Not in this time, not in this place, not among them.
I read you. I don't know why, but I do. I know only of your condition, but I am no portal out of this world. I realize how advantageous it would be for me to let you believe I was! Much more hot-blooded men would jump at the chance. And call me a bloody sentimental fool for not doing so. Or a damn faggot who's ruining everybody else's chance.
But I read you, dark woman.
And I know that somewhere, in that frozen depth of yours where word and thought barely penetrate, I will never matter.
Dis 2, 2001
I have no idea how a prank-based website would fare, really. Well, probably a whole lot better than mine! (",) In the spirit of experimentation, I tried it on some of my online friends.
I learned the trick the hard way, of course. A certain hammer-wielding-god-named friend played the trick on me. He's got valuable information on his hands now and he's blackmailing me with it! (".)
I figured, the prank could only be played once. Maybe my friends would be grateful that they learned the trick less harshly at the hands of someone as benign as I am. Or they might ostracize me for the rest of my life. Either way, I was sold on the idea. They may hate me but I know most of them will use the prank to their advantage too. Like a capitalist with multiplier-effect rationalizations, I proceeded confidently with the project.
The dynamic is very much pyramid-scheme. Much more fun than the scams though. As for the prankster, it must always be noted that the boy can only cry "wolf" twice. After that, the joke's permanently on him.
Dis 1, 2001
Tingnan Si Rica sa Labas ng Banyo.
Be warned though, any fair discussion of Dos Ekis will necessarily include a nice dissing of Rica Paralejo.