Ene 30, 2002
One site leads to another. Such is the Song of the Web. It is as unhurried at times when you are ruminating on a piece, or browsing through jpeg pictures and drawings, or taking your sweet time with reading all of a guestbook's entries.
So too can the tempo rise, fingers, clickers, keys, eyes, mind all focus leaving the rest of the body to sit as it may, achieving a balance, with or without posture. Such is the song of the web for those harassed to find links, solve html riddles, skip and scan search results with the netcard or netcafe in steady pursuit. The fevered pitch. We run the course until it all grinds to a halt. Call-waiting wasn't disabled, or sister picked up the phone unmindful of your frenzied state, or the cafe-owner has been sweeping near your place for so long because she doesn't have the heart to tell you that the shop will close in fifteen minutes.
Here, time is gold. And the songs of webwriters are sung at times like the harassed nursery rhymes of a nervous child in her recitation. My "colleagues" write as though it was the most natural thing in the world.
Here, I find other writers. I call them parallel because I imagine (and conjure) some sort of symmetry in all of this. As if in the randomness of the net, in the hodge-podge of several fragmentary orders, there exists some grand web design. It is my conceit though that I array myself alongside their creations.
My links include my most adorable bunso pair. I call them both Kat (in memory of the one that had to go away?) and I think they're braving the net like lone felines, always graceful, never caught off-guard. They are so different, almost bipolar. The younger calls herself a princess and the older finds herself a prisoner. When I was their age my idea of a hobby was to climb trees for aratiles!
Then there's this great pair of writers in Filipino. Ate Sienna freely uses the food metaphor in her pansitan. She is probably more justified in doing so! Like the pansit, her site is so filling that it precludes multiple courses. Just have a softdrink by your side and read on! Her site even offers a discussion board (come join the fun!) where you can discuss with noodles and all still in your mouth with the perfect strangers watching the same thing!
The next one is a gem I've always looked for and I never thought I'd find. Guniguni flows from the mind of a twenty or so year-old bent on monolingual expression. That is not as easy as it sounds. Believe you me, I've tried! She probably has a very healthy mind, judging from what I've read. Fertile and lush. Her "delusions" are enchanting. I've been caught in her web. I've been drawn and now I shall be rooted like those unfortunate Greek mortals turned into trees.
One thing they both have is "humor." It is my greatest handicap. You can't find it here when I write. Sometimes, not even when I drink. The poets call it "wit" and we call it "siste." Ate Sienna was right in quoting that guy who said humor is man's great genius. In their own netways, their individual brilliant characters are unmistakeable. More power to the people I just mentioned without permission!
Ria, one day you'll just find out that you're not blogging to yourself. Whether you like it or not.
KAY JEROME, PARA SA LAHAT
Muli, sa mga nakakakilala sa akin, alam n'yo na hindi ako ganito kabigay-todo magbenta (pero OK talaga sila ha!!!) kahit na napahanga talaga ako. Alam nyong may nangyayari sa akin ngayon. Hindi kayo nagakakamali. Nagkamali lang kayo dahil naging kaibigan ko kayo at ngayon dapat nyo akong daluhan ayon sa nakaatas sa mga alituntuning gumagabay sa mga magkakatoto. Huwag kayong mag-alala, lahat kayo, walang dapat gawin. Tinanggal ko na sa inyo ang anumang responsibilidad. Huwag na rin kayo mag-guilt-trip!
Maliban sa iyo Jerome! Kasama kita 'tol, haharapin natin ito maya-maya! (Limang oras na lang, alas singko na ng umaga tol, alas diyes tayo magsisimulang makikipagtuos sa kapalaran) Kita-kita na lang tayo. Kung ito ang huli kong blag, ibibigay ko sa iyo ang mga pasword, sabihin mo na lang sa kanila para sa akin kumbakit namamaalam ako.
At sabihin mo na rin sa kanilang lahat na wala akong ipambabalato!!! Hehe. (",)
Tama ba naman ito? Ngayon pa inilathala ng Peyups? Maagang paValentine ba? Ewan ko ba. Pasasalamat ko kasi iyan sa kaibigan kong hindi ko mapangalanan. Kung gusto ninyong malaman ang isang mahalagang pinag-ugatan ng blog (at blogger na ito) basahin ninyo ito. Pakiusap lang, laitin nyo na ako at pagtawanan pero kailangan kong ilabas iyan.
Ganyan lang talaga ang buhay. Pero ganyan nga ba dapat?
After Lu Hsun, I haven't read too much. I committed myself to the homepage. Now that it's more or less in place, I shall resume my beloved task.
I've read most of "The Hobbit" and a couple of chapters of "Two Towers." Two books from Monica are in my reading queue. So are two volumes from Jerico. And the chairman of the Board gave me heavy tomes listing thousands of corporations that I must sort, process and act upon. Somehow, I gave my beloved benefactors reason to believe that I'm a speed reader.
But because of this thing that happened to me, this reassertion of Fate's that I am nothing more than its plaything, my mind has drifted to that old Mexican metaphor. It has been retold by John Steinbeck and published in the form of "The Pearl." It's a thin volume. Not too expensive too as books are priced here in OurLand.
I drifted back to it as I said and now through this writing, I am actively pursuing it. Let's just say, for now, that I have come into contact with my own "Pearl." Someday maybe, I can tell you about it. But for now, Steinbeck's. This is one way I can have a fair idea how I can deal with my own little life-twist.
"Sa bayan, ikinukwento nila ang istorya ng dakilang perlas - kung paano ito nakita and paano nawala muli. Ikinukwento nila ang tungkol kay Kino, ang mangingisda, at sa kanyang asawa, si Juana, at sa tungkol sa sanggol na si Coyotito. At dahil napakadalas nang naikwento ang istorya, nag-ugat na ito sa isipan ng bawat tao. At, tulad sa lahat ng mailang-ulit na naikwentong istorya sa mga puso ng tao, mayrooon lang mga mabuti at masamang bagay at mga itim at puting bagay at mabuti at lubusang masamang bagay at walang nasa-gitna saanman."
mula sa pambungad ng "The Pearl"
(Salin ng taga-rebyu)
Tunay na perlas ang librong ito ni Steinbeck. Manipis ang tomo at siksik sa sustansya, tulad ng perlas. Tulad rin ng pinagmulan ng perlas, tila napukaw ang kamalayan ng manunulat nang malalim at hindi na maatrasan ang ganoong estado ng isipan. At ang ganuong pagkapukaw sa imahinasyon at diwa ng may-akda ang pinagmulan ng obrang ito.
Payak ang pagkakasalaysay. Para kang isang batang Mehikano o estranghero na pinagpapasahan ng nakakatanda ng isang kwento na nakabigkis sa kanyang pinag-ugatan.
Una, ilang sipi sa libro. Manipis ito, wala pang sandaan ang pahina. Ewan ko kung ano ang tindig ng mambabasa sa IPR pero tutal hindi na naman makikinabang si Steinbeck dyan, opsyon ninyong ipakopya sa anumang akalatan na malapit sa puso ninyo. Wala pang singkwenta pesos iyan, lalo na kung di nyo na isasama ang mga paunang salita ng mga taong hindi naman si Steinbeck!
O maaaring bilhin sa mga suking tindahan na "kinalakihan" nyo na! O mula sa mga bagong mamahaling estante. Hindi naman lumalampas sa dalawandaang piso ang mga kopyang nasusumpungan ko. Ayon nga sa isang Heswitang mahal na mahal ng block (naalala mo pa ba sya jessie?), kung hindi kayo makabili ng kopya at walang kumuha sa inyo sa pagronda nyo sa Quezon Ave., nakawin nyo!
Masyado yatang napalakas ang salespitch ko! Dala lamang ng sobrang emosyon. Pakatandaan, medyo masama pa rin ang timpla ko e! O sige, balik na sa rebyu.
Kabilang sa isang mangingisdang-bayan ng kolonyal na Mehiko si Kino ang puno ng kanyang maliit na pamilya. Sa kabigatan ng malubhang sakit ng kanyang anak, natagpuan niya ang isang perpektong perlas na abnormal ang laki sa kanyang paninisid.
Simula nuon, nagbago na ang buhay ng kanyang pamilya. Napakaganda ng perlas at puno ng napakaraming potensyal at probabilidad. Tumulay ang mga dati-rati'y pangarap na isinasapuso lang, sa labi ng pamilya bilang mga kongkretong plano. Sapagkat nasa kanila na ang tinagurian ng bayan na "Perlas ng Daigdig."
Ngunit sa mabilis na tempo ng mga pangyayari, simbilis at simpayak ng pagbabago ng isip ng mga taong ipokrito, narating ni Kino ang kalagayang hiwalay sa pamumuhay, sa lipunan, at sa sarili. Tunghayan ang mga dinala ng perlas sa mag-asawa at sa kanilang anak.
Musikal na komposisyon ang akda. Isa itong nasasapapel na katumbas ng isang kwento sa paligid ng isang bonfire kung saan may mga nakatayming na palo sa tambol at alog sa marakas.
May ritmo ito at maingat na hinabi ang tempo. Maaring hindi ito mahalata sapagkat napakanatural ng bagsak ng mga salita rito.
Metapora ang akda. Maaring basahin ito bilang pagsiyasat sa kaugnayan ng tao sa kayamanan, sa materyal na posesyon, sa pangangailangan at karangyaan.
Mas malalim, parabula ang akda. Sabayan ang sabayang pagkilos ng dalawang kasagaran ng kabutihan at kasamaan, puti at itim, sa buhay ng mag-anak. Masdan ang taglagas ng mga kaibigan at pag-usbong ng mga kalaban sa milagro ng biglaang kayamanan.
Pakinggan ang nagtatagisang mga tunog. Una ang Awit ng Mag-anak, ayon sa banggit ni Steinbeck. Katapat nito, ang Awit ng Kaaway, ang tugtog ng anumang nanghihimasok at nagbabantang wasakin ang pamilya.
Sa gitna nito, at sa paglaon, sa buong paligid, ang kakaiba at di mawariang Awit ng Perlas.
Naku, baka mas humaba pa sa akda mismo ang piyesang ito! Sa panapos, isang gabay sa pagrerebyu.
Isang subhetibong laro ang pinalalaro (o pinatutugtog!) ni Steinbeck. Nagpapakilala ang kwento bilang isang kwentong-bayan o folk-tale, isang uri ng literaturang may mas direktang kaugnayan sa karaniwang tao.
Ayon sa akda, malayang hanapin ng mambabasa ang anuman sa kwento na may halaga sa kanya. Iyan naman talaga ang prinsipyong gumagabay sa pagpapatuloy ng pagpapasa-pasa ng kwento, ng mga "tala ng buhay," at ng buhay at pamumuhay (mismo) ng mga henerasyon sa salinlahi. Napapatingkad ang mga kailangan, nababawas ang mga hindi angkop sa kinikilalang pangangailangan ng kasalukuyang panahon.
Ayon sa prinsipyong iyan ang aking pagrebyu. Kinuha ko ang mga bagay na malapit sa aking kasalukuyang karanasan, kalagayan, at pangangailangan (at itong malaking bagay na kinakaharap ko!). Iyan ang isiniwalat ko riyan, para sa konsumpsyon ng sasalo sa aking "isasalin."
Ngunit sa huli, mas mahalaga na ang ngayong bumasa ng rebyu mismo ang sumalok sa batis na pinag-inuman ko. At ako naman ang makikibahagi, kung maaari, sa kanyang mapapahalagahan at maisasalin.
"Kung isang parabula ang kwentong ito, maaaring kumukuha ang bawat isa ng sarili niyang kahulugan mula rito at binabasa ang sarili niyang buhay rito."
mula sa pambungad ng "The Pearl"
(Salin ng taga-rebyu)
Ene 29, 2002
Weblove is this way: one site leads to another. I was lead to a site with a link to the blog. Beside it, the text quipped something like, everybody and their mothers have one nowadays... I fathom it was supposed to be witty. I didn't find it amusing though.
Maybe I would if "everybody" meant only that minority with literacy, education in basic composition, computer access, basic computer know-how, and time to spare. That minority which is, in more ways than one, elite. That minority which I am a member of. That minority which is usually so damn shocked with poverty and other diseases but fail to realize its connection with the self.
Some members of this minority often reads illiteracy like a textbook, makes some humanistic comment as I do now and shelves the book for later reference. It does poverty like a little project on the side and treats it like a pretty declamation piece to get attention and votes, build Foundations that will justify the existing norm through some vague notion of Charity, and collect some lifetime achievement medal from entities that know no better. Then the project, like knitwork done in idlehours, is shelved at will.
Webhate is this way: one site leads to another. I have found these other sites, these e-zines i have grouped in my links page, that are more or less aware of the special medium, it's potentialities and threats to the way we think. The way we are and will be. The handlers have involved in their visions the great possibilities of such a readership. And maybe, they could make some difference.
I am lucky to have realized through such sites that the web is not just a redlight district for corporations and pervs. That the information highway is not just a service road for truckloads of distended facts where we journey toward more info and less wisdom.
And not all netizens deserve the grave accusations I give myself.
And although the roads of the matrix are like the urban paths of MyLand, littered with queues of trash, we reside here and we do not just leave our marks. We make our stands.
Right. As some closer to me might have already guessed by now, something significant has happened to me. Else, they know, I wouldn't spill this much hated lava in the form of meta-blogging.
They would be right too. I'm not in a very good mood today. They would be wrong though if they thought this was uncharacteristic of me. This is my character! I am not one too go for the enigmatic effect. No way man.
I do not wish anonymity either. If I say thus, I say thus with my name on it. Anonymity is one of two things. It can be the cowardice of people who care not for responsibility. Or the right of people who are truly too great for their work to be marred by the perversions of posterity.
I know that I have neither escape or right.
Still, I have learned to keep some things to myself. We hurt people less that way. And maybe, not being in "my right mind" is no excuse for me to write this way. Too unsubtle. Too open.
I'd rather I just spewed this through some comical form. Or not write at all and just declaim over fiery refreshments. Or write in the way I always do, trying to do something little by little. With everybody else barely noticing. Too damn subtle, even I don't know if I'm really doing something!
Well, this is the toll of ignorance. I write now, never to know if this is a step forward. Or a step back. I have written again and as always, I remain, craftless.
Ene 28, 2002
Hindi natin maiwasan siguro. Kailangan mapanatag sa loob na tayo ang nasa tama. Atin ang tunay na EDSA. Atin lang ang EDSA. Sa tama lang ang EDSA. Pero mahusgahan man nating mali ang kanilang ibinabanderang idolo, sila ba mismo e mali? Wala sila sa lugar? Bakit hindi na lang manahimik sa kanilang tamang kinalalagyan sa ilalim ng mga yabag ng altasosyedad? Sa ilalim ng mga may-pinag-aralan?
Nalungkot ako nuong mga panahong iyon. At hanggang ngayon, narito ang lungkot na iyon. Kambal ng ipit na galit. Malamang hindi sa kanila. Malamang hindi sa mga hinaing at galit nila. Malamang sa mga katulad ko sa kabilang ibayo na ginagamit ang kalagayan nila. Malamang sa mga kasamahan ko sa panig ng anti na makitid ang pagkumpronta sa kanilang hinaing. Sa mga katulad ko. Sa lahat ng mga "ako."
Alam ko ito pero hinding-hindi ko ganap na maiintindihan. Kahit ang pagbabasa, may limitasyon. Para akong minumura at sinusumpa ni Marx sa kanyang pagsambit ng "Social Being defines Social Consciousness." Alam ko ang hangganan ko at hindi ako masaya rito. Galit ako rito. Ano ang silbi ko sa kanila? Sa atin? Sa akin.
Hindi naman talaga mapaghihiwalay ang mga iyan. Kahit pa ilang kahon ng high-rise ang itayo natin. Kahit pa ilang ibayong bansa ang patunguhan natin. Kahit pa ilang pro, anti, at iba pang mga tatak at bansag ang imbentuhin natin.
I remember writing those then. I was furious and bent. The keys had to absorb my strokes, the clicker knew my impatience especially when some typographical error went in the way of my thought-flow. This is the responsibility of the literate, I said to myself. We must strive for something. Back then, I knew not what to do. And I typed in my doubts along with all that glowing hate.
Then EDSA spawned her third child, the most hideous one. It was colored Orange, the banner of a fallen "hero." It was Red diluted by Yellow tears. Then, miles away, in Rizal, viewing through the boob tube, I realized my conceit, the conceit of my class, my literate company. And I knew then, with a heart trodden by the whipped throng, that if we, the damned literate, would not bring them our benefits, our various arts and letters, they would surely take it from us.
And when they do, I fear I will brook no opposition.
Nga pala, di ko na nilagyan ng link yung mga salita tulad ng page, guestbook, at e-mail para matesting nyo na rin yung mga bagong link sa saydbar nito! Hehe! Andyan lang yan! Me surpresa pa ako sa baba nuon, resipi! Insentiv yun! Me rekwes ba kayo para sa susunod na updeyt, baka sa susunod na buwan?
Ene 27, 2002
My meeting with two UPS batchmates and one upperbatchman left me a bit more contemplative than usual. One of the strongest hearts I know, one of the most probing minds I prize, and one of the loveliest characters I admire, all in good seats around a small round table. No wonder I am left as thus. Since the flurry of weekend events, I haven't stopped to process it all. I probably won't publish my findings here though, I'm rediscovering the art of journal-writing in good old vellum, ancient papyrus, dear paper! My last entry was dated November 2, 2001. It was a reading of Benjamin Singkol by F. Sionil Jose.
Belle contemplates on the meaning of blogging. And she got to the bottomline. It's nothing else if not personal. We were just hoping she would not consider unblogging. Read and decide, if you must, dear reader.
I shall take my leave. I hope this won't take long!
Ene 24, 2002
Ene 22, 2002
...sure's not making me feel too much alive.
Haven't even read these new books Monica bought. Voltaire's Candide and Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. I've been tinkering with Dreamweaver Utradev 4, MS Photoeditor, and good old MS Paint. I'm doing some doodles and graphics, having some fun with bitmaps and jpegs. I'm constructing this little homesite, that is, oddly enough, just a support for this blog! Maybe,. if I have some time, I'll merge the two. But they say there's a problem with Geocities' FTP serving for blogs.
I don't know, really. For now, it's all just a reflection of my fragmented self. Fragmented self. That's just a fashionable way of saying scatter-brain. (",)
Maraming pinag-usapan. Ayaw kong simulan at baka hindi na ako makapasok bukas! Napag-usapan na ang lahat maliban sa nakatakdang pag-usapan, ang Proyekto. Hehe! Pero OK lang iyon! Usap-usapan rin lang naman ang gagawin namin doon e.
Grabeng kabundatan na naman ang inabot ko! Kasarap kasi talaga ng toma sa malamig na gabi. Lalo na't sinundan nito ang pusit, tapa, pork chop sa grabeng gravy at mayo sisig na lahat tinugtog sa tono ng sizzling plato at eat-all-you-kanin!
Mabuhay ang maboteng usapan! Kahit pa bote lang ng juice o mineral water, oks lang yan! Mahalaga sa lahat ang tagayan ng mga masasayang isipan! Hanggang sa muli!
Ene 18, 2002
I just got these new links from one of my recent visitors (Hullo Kat!). I figured I might as well include them since they bring back much of the good old days.
The first link is the Slumbook. I remember the grader class being assigned to produce those. I bought the cheapest notebook I knew that didn't have a celebrity's face on the cover. Then I brought out my prized collection of stickers, most of which were free from Chickadees. I had DC and Marvel Superheroes mostly. Strangely, they carried rifles and machine guns in those depictions. As if blinding costume color combinations weren't enough. Well, bless the children! I placed a couple on every page.
I meticulously wrote the preassigned questions with the proper spacing and margins. Now this was really exhausting work for an ungifted grader. Gruelling, really. I knew nothing of calligraphy then. Good handwriting was never to come naturally to me. I wrote so laboriously then! As if I were creating a universe.
It's a good thing I got a spiral notebook. Just strip away those pages with missed spaces, wrong spellings, and crooked margins! I even had to put glue behind some of the stickers just so I could reuse them. I was lucky to get away with a few pages.
I used signpens just because they were the best pens I knew. Never mind that they bled to the pages beneath.
Ultimately, the effort gave me much happiness. Young one learns to be proud of his accomplishment, never mind the grade. Looking back, it was one ugly pile. Such a smile I had though.
I wonder if that link will last long though. The poet Carl Sandburg says that the past is nothing more than a bucket of ashes.
Is that so huh? I wonder why that smile was burned? That twinkle in the eye. Not this grin I am now accustomed to. Or this raised eye brow.
I also picked up a Mood-Indicator. Cute little thing.
I always wanted to get me one of those. I think it's really very honest to tell everyone else how you feel at the moment. Specially when you're serving them something. Food, joke, news article, scientific formulae, painting, problem set computations, dance interpretation, poem, song, drink.
The Chinese say "Fight with Cook, Get no Dinner." I find that when I'm really upset, I don't cook well. The family knows when I'm not in a good mood. The damn dish says so. I had the blackest bile frothing in my heart when I cooked for New Year's Eve. I cooked doubly hard, cooking and checking myself at the same time. I think I tasted the dish at every turn of the pan, just to make sure. I knew I averted a culinary disaster.
It's the same with everything really. Objectivity is really more hype than anything else. Even scientists are passionate! I would have them no other way. A mad scientist over a heartless one, I always say!
Since this a public blog, I guess the readers are entitled to know the state of the cook. Not just as an excuse for the cook though! Else, I'd just leave depressed there permanently and get away with every typo error. It's for the reader's sake. They might want to know were it's all coming from.
Any human product involves emotion. After you hear the baby crying, you hear the man. That is what the historians refer to as History, the critics call the Canon, and the humanists call the Project. That is what the theologians look forward to as God, what the scientists speculate as the Grand Unification Theory. A sea of tears cried in man's pain, her joy, her grief, her triumph, her attempts at dispassion.
We were done stripping emotion off men. Now we put them on his creations. In some measure maybe, we are a pride of pygmalions chipping away at this internet, looking forward to some cyber galatea.
Aw man! Freaky thought. For some reason, I'm not hot on getting that index. I wouldn't know how to deal with an angry internet! Much less a tearful one.
Ene 15, 2002
The metaphor wouldn't make sense without the original meanings of the terms. Actually, the metaphor simply wouldn't be. This should have been posted much earlier. Else, analogy-making would be futile huh?
I thus dedicate the following entry to all those visitors who really just wanted something too eat.
Bago nga pala ang lahat, baka magkalimutan, heto ang isang luto ng bopis. Ngayon ko lang nalaman na ang taguri pala dito ng mga Kapampangan e pulutuk. Iniisip kong dagdagan ito ng konti carrot tops (yun bang nasa chicken soup ng Kenny Rogers). Pero baka pangit ang dating. Nakakatakot. Heto na lang ang beysik. Saka na ang mga baryasyon.
1/2 cup pork heart
1/2 cup pork lung
1 cup pork liver
1/2 cup diced pork kidney
1/2 ginger root cut into strips
1/4 cup water
3 table spoon cooking oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 medium onion, finely minced
3/4 cup chopped tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
1 can coconut milk
1/4 cup red pepper, diced
1/4 cup green pepper, diced
2 hot peppers, diced (optional)
Boil the sliced lung, heart and kidney and ginger root until tender (about half an hour). Set aside to cool, then chop fine. Chop sliced liver fine and combine with the lung, heart and kidneys.
In a wok heat cooking oil and saute garlic, onion and tomatoes for approximately 2 minutes.
Add the boiled chopped lung, heart and liver, season with salt and pepper to taste (optional: add diced hot peppers.) and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the coconut milk and the diced red and green pepper and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Mmmm! Naglalaway na naman ako! Tama ba naman yun!
The One Ring knows only one lord. And he does not share its power.
Sound intimidation. I should have listened. Now I'm caught in the damn thrall too. I want to get my hands on those copies! Guys in my e-groups ar talking about Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and other Tolkien ouvres. The discussion only draws me closer to a crazed state.
My problem is, when I'm this way, I won't stop till I've been all over J.R.R. Tolkien's words, work, and even his autobiography. And back. When I'm in, somebody would have to reel me in to get me out. And I can be very stubborn even as dead weight.
I watched it a week ago. Last Fool's Show. And that's weird because I'm not a stranger to the fantasy genre. Harry Potter, for one, is not such a big deal to people that have already been to fantasyland. But why compare anyway? HP is just HP. LOTR is LOTR. That's that.
Among some contemporary titles, I've finished the six-book Thomas Covenant series (an uncanny merging of roles as a leper in the world as-we-know-it and a hero in the world as-we-don't-know-it). It was such a great read that I thought no other series would come close. I thought then that that was that. Great read, that's that. I thought that I would leave the genre for good then.
I was right, I think. As reviewers called it, Covenant was the War and Peace of the genre. But then, I just realized, I never really read its bible.
Just when I think I'm out, they pull me back in! I had my hands on The Return of the King last Saturday. I had to resist. I just had too! I bought Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged instead. Not really a Rand fan. But my sister needed it for an Economics class. Around a hundred pesos more! Just to get myself out of the King's way! Aargh.
I even stopped to check out the LOTR Cliff's Notes! How pathetic is that huh?!
My list of dilatory tactics does not end there. Earlier last week, I dwelled on "progenitor" forms such as Chanson de Roland in the Legends of Charlemagne and Le Morte d' Arthur from the English Round Table. That was a great ride too. But that didn't work.
I opened Diablo II: Lord of Destruction and created this hardcore paladin named "Aragorn." I deleted him before he even got to his "Gandalf," Deckard Cain. I loved watching Balrog chasing the questers in LOTR. Balrog looked like Diablo.
I tried the net too. I've been reading other blogs to escape the Ring. But alas, they all have something to say about it! What's more problematic was, they were interesting!
And then, of course, there's this blog entry.
Damn Isildur. He should've thrown that accursed thing in when he had the chance.
Ene 14, 2002
For a time I kept recalling the vegetables and fruits I ate as a child in my old home: caltrops, horse-beans, water bamboo shoots, musk-melons. So succulent, so delicious were they all that they beguiled me into longing for my old home.
Mahilig rin pala sa tsibog itong si Lu Hsun. Sa halimbawang ito, halata ang estilong payak ni Lu Hsun (1881-1936) sa kanyang mga sanaysay na inipon sa "Dawn Blossoms Plucked at Dusk". Sobrang payak na aakalain minsan na hindi malalim ang sinisisid ng utak niya. Pero sa totoo, simple at nakakaengganyo lang talaga kasi ang mosyon ng kanyang paglangoy sa mundo ng gunita.
Mahalagang aspeto ng kanyang panunulat ang paggamit sa iba't ibang pandamdam. Dahil na rin sa mga karakteristik ng panahon niya, hindi pa gaanong biswal ang oryentasyon. Maraming ingay, katahimikan, amoy, panlasa, at pakiramdam na tila natatabunan at nawawala sa mga sulating kontemporaryo. Mata na lang ba ang natira sa tao? Sa kanya, hindi. Tila ba buong pagkatao niya ay nakatuon sa mga bagay na inilalahad at pinupuna niya.
Mahalagang maiugnay si Lu Hsun sa kanyang lugar at panahon na ginagalawan. Promdi sya na naging man of the world. Manlalakbay siya sa mga rural at urban na mga bayan-bayan ng Tsina at, nang tumagal, maging ng mundo. Dahil sa kanyang pagka-iskolar, hindi siya napipirmi sa isang lugar. Makikita naman sa petsa ng kanyang buhay na naroon siya sa pamumukadkad ng mga bagong realisasyong pulitikal sa Tsina. Namamaho na ang mga abuso ng pamahalaang Manchu.
Ngunit nanatili ang kanyang estilo sa panunulat na magsisimula sa personal ngunit laging may kaugnayan sa mga nangyayari sa paligid. Hindi pilit ang pag-ugnay. Minsan, sobrang maayos ang pagkakahabi, hindi mo na mapapansin na may kakaibang komentaryo pla si Lu Hsun na makokonsiderang matapang para sa mga panahong iyon. Sobrang kalmado kasi ang pagbitaw.
Aakalain mo sa una, isa lang siyang matandang iskolar na nagbabalik-tanaw. Ngunit, hindi man lantad, maging ang pagbabalik-tanaw na ito ay lubusang nakatuon sa pagsulong ng tao bilang indibidwal at kolektibo sa hinaharap.
Later, tasting these things again after a protracted absence, I found them nothing special. It was only in retrospect that they retained their old flavour. They may keep on deceiving me my whole life long, making my thoughts turn constantly to the past.
Ene 13, 2002
Hindi naman, OA na yun. OK na yung matunog na "Yes!" Kasarap maging newbie. Bukod sa OK lang magkamali-mali, OK rin matuwa maging sa maliliit na bagay. Teka, hindi na yata baguhan. Kita na nga pala lahat ng archive dates ko... Aw shucks. (".)
Strawberry: 10/100 Pear: 40/100 Banana: 40/100 Tomato: 10/100 Lemon: 20/100
These online tests only serve to promote my already fragmented personality! (Or should I say, sliced?) Now I'm a Fruit?! I never liked pears all that much. Well, never liked me all that much too anyway! Must be a pear then huh? (". ) Well, at least I can be crunchy and juicy at the same time.
Pinitas sa Takipsilim
Isa sa pinakamahalagang batis na nakahawa sa akin sa larangan ng pagsasanaysay (pati pagjornal at pagblag na rin) itong kompilasyon ng mga sanaysay ni Lu Hsun. Pamagat nito, "Dawn Blossoms Plucked at Dusk".
Natagpuan ko sa kanyang kanyang mga salitang hinabi ang mundo ng mga Tsino nung kapanahunan niya. Naranasan ko sa pagpapahayag niya ang matitingkad na saglit ng kanyang kabataan, ang mga bagay na naikulong at nakatakas mula sa kanyang mga alaala. (Dahil na rin sa problema sa transportasyon at sa paglipat-lipat niya sa iba't ibang dako ng Tsina at mundo, naiwan at tuluyang nawala ang pinakamahahalagang teksto ng kanyang kabataan. Nakapanghihinayang.)
Madali akong napadala sa senso ng katarungan ng batang Lu Hsun. Bata pa lang, matingkad na ang pag-usisa tungkol sa pagkapantay-pantay ng tao. Magandang bagay naman na mapasasalamatan natin tungkol dito, matingkad rin ang kanyang gunita at nakaya niyang alalahanin ang mga karanasan, maging ang kanyang mga interpretasyon at sentimyento ng kabataan maging sa kanyang "takipsilim."
Madaling matagpuan ang paghahanap ng kaayusan ng musmos. Naghahanap ng mga padron at pagka"sistema" ng kanyang kapaligiran. Buhay na buhay ang ganitong paghahanap sa kabataan ng mundo. Kung tutuusin, isa itong modo ng survival.
Pero ang katarungan ay ibang bagay. Kaayusan din ito pero sa pagitan ng mga tao. Hindi ito pagtingin lang para sa sariling kaligtasan kundi pati sa mas mabuting buhay para sa iba. Anumang, estado niya sa buhay. Jolog o Konyo, Masa o Burgis, Itim o Puti (at Dilaw!), Matanda o Bata, Lalaki o Babae. Naghahanap ka rin ng mga unibersal na sasakop hindi lamang sa mga bagay-bagay sa paligid kundi pati sa mga tao.
Kaugnay nito ang pagtanggi, bata pa lang, sa mga establisadong mga pamamaraan at pag-iisip. Galing! Bihira sa bata ang ganito. Sa totoo lang, para syang "social prodigy" sa aking panimbang.
Napakasarap pang basahin ng estilo nya. Mahalimuyak talaga. Pero hindi masansang, hindi nagsusumigaw sa bango na tila ba mabilis gumuhit sa ilong at kumakagat sa utak! Hindi! OK nga e. Para bang sumasagi sa ilong mo, marahang nanunukso, ang ilang mga amoy na pamilyar sa iyo noong kabataan mo. Pero hindi lang siya isang byahe sa landas ng gunita. Kaugnay nito, napasunod ako sa halimuyak ng mga talulot, napapahanap ng kahulugan kumbakit nasalubong muli ang mga bagay ng nakaraan.
At tulad ni Lu Hsun, parang mahahalina ang mambabasa na ihabi rin ang kabuuan ng kanyang buhay sa isang buo, makahulugan at makabuluhang salaysay.
Ene 10, 2002
About my decision to make this a bilingual page, I still don't know if it's a good one. Most people don't like the idea. I don't know. My mind and tongue are both split between idioms. I don't just want to exoticize the other by using it too sparingly. Maybe for no better reason than, it's not me. I am not a Filipino politician's speech, starting out with a Tagalog quote just to get attention then relapsing into flowing English for the upper class taste. I'm also not that same trapo's tongue when he impresses his captive audience with flowing Tagalog with well-placed smatterings of English words. All to emphasize the point that he is against his own class. Flinging out against oppressors as if he were not one of them! When in truth, his derogation springs from his own experience. I do not deny my social being. They call me petit-bourgeois. Too bourgeois and too petty at the same time.
I'm not a subtitled Filipino film either. I'm not selling to a greater audience by employing as many languages as I can! Nope. In fact, I think I am effectively limiting my readers. Pretty soon maybe, there'll be just me! I can't do anything about it though. I'm a small man with very small time. If I do something here which is not true to I am, I am not true to myself! I am no subtitle. My tongues do not translate each other and pretend to be one and the same. They hate each other. They are engaged in a dialectic that defines me. Mirror images. Anti-theses. I dish out different tastes and substances from my two stoves. I try my best not to contradict myself. But when I do, I like to imagine that the process, well, made me stronger.
Afgahnistan, why do I hound you? You are, effectively, anti-Avalon. Why do I care for you? Why do I dream to see your scarred face as if my country's own were not enough? There was a time when I wanted to see Cuba, see a system that Hollywood does not promote. But it was a shelved thought, something I could always come back to when some indefinite age is upon me. But Afghanistan? Such a death wish. With you, I want immediate gratification. I actually regretted not having entertained the idea of entering the airline industry at an early age! And I'm not one to regret easily. Even deep wounds and great humiliation I dare not strike off my record! This is not escapism, I know. Something else. My spirit trembles. I must know.
Malamig ngayon dito. Malamig pa kesa noong Pasko. Sa Baguio, nagtatala sa otso sentigrado ang temperatura. Dalawang digri na lang mula sa sais - ang pinakamalamig na natala sa buong kasaysayan ng Baguio!
Naalala ko na naatribyut ang dating sinasabing "indolence" o katamaran ng mga Pinoy sa tropikal na kondisyon dito. Dahil tamang-tama lang ang timpla ng init at lamig, wala ang kasagaran ng malamig na niyebe o mainit na buhangin.
Tag-init na naman pagkatapos nito. Ewan ko kung sasapit na iyon bago magPebrero pero sigurado sa Marso nakakainis na naman ang taas ng araw.
Gusto ko makulimlim. Yun bang tipong tag-ulan na, pero hindi naman nagbabanta ang langit, nagpapaalam lang. Hindi naman yung "Ibubuhos ko na ito! Tumabi-tabi ka na riyan!"
Nagpaparamdam lang. Ipinapapaalam na pwedeng umulan, kasi kapanahunan, "Maya-maya lang siguro, hindi ko rin masabi." At anumang ibigay niya sa akin, ambon o todo buhos, napapangiti na lang ako.
Itong taglamig, ngayon ko lang talaga napapansin ito. dati-rati, transisyon lang ito mula sa tag-ulan at tag-init. Para bang stop-over o terminal. Nandoon ka pero pakiramdam mo e hindi ka magtatagal. Kaya hindi ko na rin siguro pinapansin, para bang ayaw kong maging pamilyar sa mga katangian nito, kasi hindi mo namamalayan e lilipas rin. Baka mahiligan ko pa.
Ngayon, natitipuhan ko na rin siya. Pero malapit na ring mamaalam iyan. Linggo na lang yata ang binibilang.
The UN is enjoining the Philippines to send citizens to help rebuild the fallen airline industry. Now, troops of this kind, support that would set the Afghans back on their feet, these troops we should really work on sending! Unlike soldiers though, they can only be invited. Hopefully, the government would at least give the possible contingent some additional incentives.
Of course, this exhortation is much less resounding than the clarion call for war. For some curious reason, it seems less brave, less valorious. Somehow, it seems after-the-fact. Just the leavings, after the hounds of war have been sated and leashed once more.
I don't care. Why should it be after-the-fact? Why shouldn't it be the fact itself? The truth is, Washington and London has played up the value of war too much, making sure that they are justified, on the side of God and His Righteous Vengeance, that now, everybody just seems satisfied that it has been enacted, that it is only a matter of time, the fiend is already cornered.
The war is not over but the tone is set on certainty. Almost passe. Finished. A read magazine. Nokia 3310. Worn coffee table topic. Not fashionable anymore. Just another item on the year-end scrapbook of the world.
What next? The fact is, a great deal of that war is hype that has wounded us too. It has focused us on retribution, blurring other thoughts such as the fact that the Afghans didn't deserve what it suffered and, since the smaller buildings of Afghanistan do not compare to the great fallen phallus of the US, retribution is out of the question. Just wait for US aid. They are entitled to that aid, of course. All warmongers (with the Philippine Government definitely not an exception) owe them that and more.
But I'm afraid that when the Afghans receive aid, they would thank profusely for it, as if those were freely given gifts. I hope (against hope?) that there will be great aid and this aid would be pooled solely in the UN without any country getting too much press release or greater diplomatic leverage. Don't tell me the Afghans will have to look those gifthorses in the mouth!
Sometimes, the stuff that makes more sound are of lesser value to us.
We always take the leavings. For once at least, what is left is a worthier cause.
The air personnel aren't drafted yet and nobody knows if the list will be assembled. Mediamen tried to pry if the Pinoys were up to it. Most of them weren't. And that's perfectly understandable.
Even with the $1,500 per month they will receive, the tight-knit Pinoy family prevails. Fear for safety and anxiety for the family are the first considerations. Some are uncertain, they will really think about it.
They would truly be heroes if they came. But they retain their honor should they opt not to.
Ene 6, 2002
To My Old English Professor
Conversation is possible, we both know, because we are, in the first place, different. You were old, set in your ways, rooted. Your reputation overshadowed us all. Our very textbooks had your name emblazoned on them.
We were young. I was nothing but a germ, seeking, taking everything in, taking root in the same breath as I denied my roots. I was a mere boy holding everything in, because I had nothing to offer.
In those times, I was trying to piece myself together from the only love I knew. I was to know greater loves. But back then there were only the shards of the greatest failure I knew. I just wanted to graduate and get on to the next level. If I survived, great. If I didn't, well, it was expected.
You came in as a terrible surprise. You thought I would amount to something else. Something better.
But I fled from your territory. That was my last term in your department. I was moving on to Filipino where I felt more true to the voices in my head. You were the only thing in that department that really mattered. The only regret.
Years between us and now I fear conversation with you, most beloved among my mentors. I fear talking out loud and speaking in English. I dread doing both. I dread it most, in your intimidating presence.
Can you help it if I placed you in a pedestal then left your image unworshipped, your path unfollowed? I fear I will plummet against all your admonitions. And I would have to use all I've learned from you against the very things you value.
What if Heaven existed for us in the same way, none of the relativity which I now so cherish, huh Professor? And I what if I had to pass through for judgment? A judgment you would have surely passed dear Ma'am.
What if you came and sat at my trial? would you greet me then in English? Would you require of me, a loud voice? Would I fear it then, our imminent conversation?
Would I look resentingly upon you? You who gave me the great burden of believing in myself? You, my faith and insecurity?
You wouldn't look down on me would you? No. I never thought you were capable of condescension, beloved mentor. But you always had the heart, as saints did, for great pity and immense sorrow.
Sa totoo lang gusto kong bumalik sa Batangas. Masarap doon, akala mo walang problema, walang mga dedlayn. Walang inaasahan sa akin, walang Board Members o kahit staff. May pamilya rin doon pero OK lang. Tiyo, Tiya, at mga pinsan.
Basta ba magbanat ng kaunting buto, sapat para hindi maituring na pabigat. Ayoko rin naman na para lang bisita.
Pero heto na naman ang tulak ng eskapismo. Alam ko na dito ako nararapat. Maraming hinaharap na problema. Siguro nga, kaya kailangan ng tao ng mga panaginip, para kahit sa isang "lugar" man lang, agarang nakakamit ang nasa.
Pakiramdam ko ganito lang talaga. Kung kailan iniisip ng tao na marami siyang kailangang takasan, ibig sabihin, sa panahong iyon maraming dapat harapin.
Kumusta ka na, malayong kaibigan? Harinawa nakaayos ang lahat ng mga alalahanin mo. Hindi na ako isa sa mga iyon, alam ko. Hindi isang alalahanin, hindi dapat isaalang-alang.
Iba ka na ngayon, sigurado, isang kumpigurasyon ng mga posibilidad na tinatanaw lamang natin noon. Isang kalipunan ng mga sandaling lumipas na hindi man lang natin namalayan.
Inaalala kita ngayon, isinasaalang-alang. Sapagkat noon, isa ka sa mga posibilidad na tinatanaw ko. Isa ka sa mga sandaling bahagi ko. At lumipas na, malayong kaibigan.
You are, by far, the most difficult person I know. I could never tame you, your mind speaks in its own feline tongue, always acquiescing but never losing second thoughts.
But I love you endlessly because there is nothing left for me to do. To not love you is to betray what I have always been. To be indifferent of your existence is to betray the hopes of everything that I could be.
I could not escape you if I wanted to. Your speech annoys me at times and destroys me every so often. But your touch tells me that I am Man. Your gaze roots me to the good Earth and commits me to aspire for Heaven. And when your fingers gently outline my face, you succinctly define who I am. Yours.
You are the most difficult person I know. And that may be because I can never tame you. You are the most difficult person I know maybe because of what I am when you are around, in proximity, in memory, or in dream. I am, unceremoniously and utterly, subdued.