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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bonifacio Would Be CEO Today, not an "Endo"

Says the PDI picture headline caption: "If he were alive today, Andres Bonifacio would have been also a victim of low wages and contractualization, militants said in a protest rally yesterday at Manila's Liwasang Bonifacio."

As usual, the militants had to have a say.

Bonifacio was intelligent, smart, aggressive, loyal and had unquestionable people skills. He was the breadwinner of the family having been orphaned at an early age. One look at his biography in any high school textbook would tell you that he had the makings of a self-made man. If he were alive today, he would not be rallying on the streets. He would be helping build this nation by his industry, by his contributions to our society.

No, sir. He wouldn't allow himself to be a victim of circumstances. He would work before dawn to late afternoon and study in the evening. He would finish school at the top of his class. He would get a good job, not necessarily a high-paying job, at first, but a job that would give him more skills and experience. And he would be noticed for his hard work, patience, good leadership skills, and intelligence. He would be promoted and rise from the ranks.

No, sir. Bonifacio would excel and survive and succeed. He would never be an "endo." Bonifacio was so much better than that.

You just don't insult my hero!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My One Week November Treat

For the last three years now, I have been halting from the daily grind for a week in November.

In 2008, I went to Lucban and ate everything one could eat there. Thanks to my old friend Delfa who has always welcomed me like a sister. Her house is situated a couple of blocks away from the San Isidro de Labrador Church, one of the oldest churches in the country having been built in 1595! Talk about waking up to history in the morning! From her house, everything you need is at a walking distance: the original Buddy's Burger, hotel, countless restaurants and coffeeshops, pasalubong shops, Mercury Drug, thrift shops, gift shops, bars...Want it they have it. They don't have an airport.

What's wicked is that almost everything is cheap!

You walk to a cold breeze on well-kept, always clean streets. You talk with locals with weird Tagalog accents. Yung parang lagi silang galit, pero hindi naman. Sara!

Life there is simple without Starbucks. Life is innocent without Jollibee.

In 2009, my plans for Boracay in November had been signed and sealed early that summer. You want to still enjoy Boracay, don't go there in summer. As early as August, I bought discounted Cebu Pacific tickets for Manila to Aklan, Aklan to Manila. The Caticlan Airport was still under construnction then.

Two weeks before my Boracay trip, an e-mail sent to us mortals of my workplace. It told us to prepare our passports as we were all going to Singapore for a management meeting and recreation on November 18 to 22. My Boracay weekend trip was scheduled November 19 to 21! I called the Veep to excuse myself from the trip as I had prior engagements. I even told him my leave form had been signed a month ago. Half a day later, the President called me and told me to reconsider. Now, when the big boss tells you to reconsider, it means you don't have an option. As an afterthought, he called again and said he could have my Singapore trip scheduled a day early and I could also leave a day early. I asked him what I'd do in Singapore for a whole day alone? Yeah, that was stupid. He agreed silently I could sense.

To help him out of the situation, I suggested that I could join the group on the 18th but I would have to leave the Lion City the next day. Day 1 was the most important one in the itinerary anyway. He said I'd tire myself flying back and forth I would end up drained and not enjoy the beach.

The prospect was too cool to me. How many of those people I know could brag about changing airports domestic and international, from the corporate mecca of Asia to the white sand of the Philippines, from a conference room in Singapore to a beachfront sauna in Bora over a period of 18 hours? I am that vain! I went to Singapore for a day and a night and headed to Boracay to spend the rest of the week.

Did I enjoy it? I swear to God I'm not going to do it again!

My plane to Aklan was scheduled to leave at 2 PM (after re-scheduling the flight two hours later and paying penalties). From Changi my plane landed at NAIA at 11:30 AM. I waited for half an hour for a cab to take me to the domestic airport. And it begun to rain. And when it rains in Manila you know what it means - traffic nightmare! In the cab, I cursed myself for such wanton stupidity. Tired and hungry and angry, I had a plane to catch which could leave without me because I wasn't a Gokongwei.

There were heavy clouds atop Aklan Airport, the plane hovered above for fifteen minutes. When it touched down finally it was dark and raining.

My one-day trip to Singapore was spent in meetings. I spent the weekend at Boracay shopping. Totally out of whack.

This year I spent the whole week home trying not to do nothing.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"Pacquiao greatest of them all." Not.

In an uncharacteristically emotional article written by Ronnie Nathanielsz for Philippine Daily Inquirer, he said Pacquiao is the greatest of them all, including Ali.

I say not.

Nathanielsz said, "Ali, for all his greatness and his charismatic personality and glibness, had one trait that reflected poorly on him, especially in comparison to Pacquiao. That was his habit of insulting and mocking his opponents. He referred to Joe Frazier, a great champion himself, as a “Gorilla.”

I say, Pacquiao, for all his greatness and his charismatic personality, has traits that reflected poorly on him. One is allowing himself to be surrounded by dirty politicians. Just how many Filipinos the world over want to shoot the TV set when Chavit Singson climbs the ring each time Pacquiao wins a fight? Or that former "First Gentleman" who joined the bandwagon in the ring like a king? Or that former non-President who if had not been restrained would have claimed Pacquiao's victories as her doing? Or the countless congressmen and half a dozen senators who hugged a share of Pacquiao's limelight? What about that Hawaiian shirted father and son who sandwiched Pacquiao in parades showing off Pacman as theirs and so was the city that "adopted" him for a son?

Two, his gambling. Three, his womanizing. (Now, I just have to include those. Nathanielzs is running to Vatican to ask the Pope to canonize Pacman.)

Nathanielsz said, "Greatness must be judged not merely by overpowering performances in the ring but in the humility and decency with which a fighter conducts himself outside of it. Pacquiao is the supreme example of what a fighter and a gentleman should be."

Nathanielsz also listed down Pacquiao's saintly acts:

"Despite the fact that Oscar De La Hoya said his fight against Pacquiao was 'personal' and that he would knock him out, when Manny pulverized the 'Golden Boy' and rearranged his handsome face, he embraced him in the center of the ring and said for all the world to hear, 'You are still my idol.'

"When a bloodied David Diaz crashed to the canvas in a heap, Manny sought to give him a helping hand.

"When he separated Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton from his senses, he showed concern and sought to lift him up. And when Hatton was embroiled in a drug scandal, he advised him to pick up the pieces of his life and look up to God for solace and assistance.

"When he battered Antonio Margarito, Manny felt compassion for the Mexican. Margarito and his trainer Robert Garcia had promised to knock Pacquiao out and in the process ridicule trainer Freddie Roach because of his Parkinson’s disease.

"He requested referee Laurence Cole to stop the massacre and even asked Margarito whether he was alright before laying off him in the last two rounds."

I say, you start talking about character traits as the best gauge to being called the greatest, you ought to have dug deeper into the other sports heroes' characters. Particularly Ali.

It was from Ali that Mayweather got the "trash talk" strategy to wobble the knees of the opponents in pre-fights. Mayweather couldn't hack Ali's fight style to "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee," he settled with the trash talk.

But with Ali's trash talks, were sentiments and beliefs that put all of America to shame when the American government arrested him and found him guilty on draft evasion charges, stripped him of his boxing title, and suspended his boxing license. All these because he refused to join a war he didn't believe in.

Ali might have said the famous line during the promotion of Thrilla in Manila: "It will be a killa... and a chilla... and a thrilla... when I get the gorilla in Manila," but he also said:

"I ain't got no quarrel with the Vietcong. No Vietcong ever called me Nigger. ” (Haas, Jeffrey (2009). The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther. Lawrence Hill Books.)

“No, I am not going 10,000 miles to help murder kill and burn other people to simply help continue the domination of white slavemasters over dark people the world over. This is the day and age when such evil injustice must come to an end.” ("Muhammad Ali — The Measure of a Man." (Spring 1967)).

“Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go ten thousand miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?" (Haas)

Now, Pacquiao could have been half as great as Ali in terms of character had he refused to kiss the hands of Gloria and her cohorts. Pacquiao can be half as great as Ali if he can show more strength in character not just in brawn.

Let us not gloss over Manny's humility. The man came from dirt poor beginnings, how can he not be humble and thankful?

And if we believe that Manny is truly the greatest, let's stick to athletics and tell the world exactly how he rose from grit to greatness.

Monday, November 22, 2010

WOW! Philippines

That says it all. Good recall. Short and sweet.

If it ain't broke...Have they not heard of this old, old saying?

Not everything that came out of GMA regime is bad. Neither those who have Marcos in them are evil.

"WOW! Philippines" is good. What Department of Tourism need only do is to make sure that everything that is Philippines is WOW! If not everything, at least, more things.

And must you change it, change the logo and make it yellow, if only to please your boss. But leave the slogan alone.

DOT Secretary Lim apologized for the error. For rushing things to the point of copying Poland's logo. For forgetting that we are selling the Philippines as a tourist destination to the non-speakers of Filipino. He admitted that the idea (Pilipinas Kay Ganda) didn't go through FGD (focused group discussion) which according to him should have been the "normal process."

Doesn't DOT have budget for R&D? Doesn't DOT have budget for third-party marketing think tanks? Or they haven't heard that these two actually exist?

And we ask again: Where does Noynoy get his people?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Balding Prince and The Fantasy World

OK. So he is human after all.

I wouldn't have noticed the hair had he not gone out announcing to the world he is getting married. The wedding that is bound to be the grandest of royal weddings in 30 years.

OK. I will cut him some slack. He is an RAF rescue pilot. He took up art history in college, and later on geography, too.

Art History. Wow! You were born without a bone of an artist so you decided to study art history. You probably want to have more than one night in a museum, and not just to be a guard in a museum. You probably want to dig deeper into the heart of Greece, travel in time, be blown away by humanity's genius. And you are one of the princes of Wales, the second heir to the thrown, next to your father. How could one be so lucky whose only problems are the paparazzi and his fast receding hairline?

Another slack here. You are marrying a commoner, a daughter whose parents' business is to organize children's parties. Like you, she's 28. You are not marrying a girl half your age as most famous, wealthy, powerful men are in the habit of doing.

The world is changing. Male marries male. Female marries another female. Rich people when they die leave wealth to their dogs. The best golfer in the world is black. The best boxer on the planet is Asian.

Indeed a great fantasy era to exist in!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Manny and Tony

"Losers quit when they're tired. Winners quit when they've won," says an anonymous quote.

Margarito didn't quit despite. Pacquiao quit punching on the 12th, and it is because he knew he'd already won long before that. And to quote Pacman, "Boxing is not about killing each other."

It was amazing that only minutes after a 12-round match, Pacman could still give an interview, some of his lines worthy enough to quote. His usual answer when asked about Mayweather, "It's my promoter's job to choose my next fight. I'm just here to train and get ready for it," always hits the mark. This time, with a little sting, "I don't need him. I'm satisfied with what I have." His standard answers to standard questions sound real and sincere. We've seen athletes who are divas. Manny is way, way beyond their league.

Tony, like the others who lost to Pacman, wouldn't be left behind. Eyes closed, hamburgered face, swollen lips, they answered questions if only to redeem a bit of themselves.

Win or lose, they earn millions in dollars. I can volunteer to get slaughtered in the ring at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas right now, but the world will think I'm 100% nuts. They wouldn't even stamp my visa for it. You betcha!

One has to deserve to be manslaughtered in pay-per-view.

That's how the world works, ladies and gentlemen.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tolstoy's Concept of the Religious Art as Reflected on Steinbeck's "The Pearl"

A Post-graduate Paper on Literary Criticism

In 1898, Leo Tostoy wrote his major work on criticism, What Is Art?, as an attempt to define art in terms of his own Christian faith.

Tolstoy states that good art is a means of communication, of progress, and of the movement of humanity forward toward perfection (Smith and Parks, 677).

What Is Art? envisions a kind of art that is accessible and comprehensible to everyone, and that which unifies men into universal brotherhood. For this to materialize a work of art should evoke "infectiousness" to the reader. "The stronger the infection the better is the art." (675)

According to Tolstoy, there are three conditions to the degree of the infectiousness of art. These are the individuality of the feeling transmitted, the clarity of expression and the sincerity of the artist. By individuality, he means, the more personal the feeling art transmits, the more strongly the reader relates to it. By the clarity of expression, he means that in the work, the reader finds for the first time the exact meaning and expression for the feeling he has long known and felt. However, of the three conditions of infectiousness, the degree of sincerity in the artist is the most important. For when the receiver of the art feels that the artist himself is infected by his own work, and the artist creates art for himself and not only for others, the mental condition of the artist infects the reader. (677)

Tolstoy further states that the absence of any of these conditions excludes a work from the category of art and falls under what he calls a "counterfeit art."

But what is good art and what is bad art in terms of subject matter? The essence of Christian perception is the recognition by every man of his sonship to God and the feeling that will unite him with God and with others. If religious perception exists in the society, then art should aim at this and be appraised on the basis of this religious perception.

However, a great amount of counterfeit art was developed to entertain the upper class of the Renaissance period. The great misfortune of the time is that people did not embrace the supreme religious art but rather those which were against Christian principles.

Be that as it may, the Christian ideal has changed and reversed everything. As Tolstoy puts it, the ideal is no longer about the greatness of an individual, but his humility, purity, compassion and love. The hero is no longer the benefactor but the beggar; not the merciful but the one least deserving of mercy.

By this Christian ideal the writer aims to study John Steinbeck's 1947 novella The Pearl.

The Pearl is a retelling of a Mexican folk tale about a poor fisherman and his wife and child. When the fisherman Kino finds an extraordinary pearl, he hopes that it will bring comfort and health to his family. But soon he discovers that instead of a new house, new clothes and an education for his son, the great pearl brings greed, envy and ultimately death to his family.

The Pearl is in the category of what Tolstoy calls the religious art which transmits feelings flowing from a religious perception of man's position in the world in relation to God and his neighbor. It answers Tolstoy's Christian ideal of art which discusses not about the rich, but the poor; not about those who dwell in palaces, but those who dwell in brush houses and huts; not about those who rule, but those who acknowledge no authority but God's.

From a hand-me-down lesson given by Kino's father, each man and woman is like a soldier sent by God to guard some parts of the castle of the universe. Some are designated to watch over the barricades while others are appointed to some deep dark quarters by the walls. Regardless of the assignment, each one must be loyal to his post to shield the castle from the assaults of Hell. This somehow educates Kino on man's destiny as willed by God. To go against this bidding will lead him to his destruction. This is a warning of the things to come in Kino's life.

In The Pearl, most of the characters are the ones in the lower class of the society. They are those who dwell in brush houses and huts; the ones who have corncakes as the only breakfast known outside of feast days; the ones whose only known conversation every morning is the sigh of satisfaction. But more than representatives of the social poor, the characters in The Pearl are symbols that portray a social group and its ideals.

Kino is an honest and dignified pearl diver who works to support his family. He functions well in the traditional way of the village. Kino depends on nature for his existence. When the waters are rough, he cannot go on fishing. When the sun sets, his workday ends.

As Kino moves away from the mental and cultural tradition of his village, he becomes isolated. His marching toward the city to find a better deal for his pearl is a symbolic move toward a more complex civilization. He envisions in his hands the benefits of a civilization that will free him and his family from the servitude of poverty - power, money and an education for his son Coyotito. Consequently, Kino loses his innocence and brings about his downfall when he tempts fate by going beyond his social limitations.

Juana represents the integrity of a simple way of life. She is the loving and devoted wife, the unwavering force in Kino's life. She has great inner strength and determination. Such is shown when Coyotito is bitten by the scorpion. She acts immediately and sucks out the poison while muttering a Hail Mary and some ancient magic in her head. On the other hand, Kino hovers, is helpless, and is in the way.

Juana has a strong survival instinct where her family is concerned. When the doctor refused to treat Coyotito, Kino responded by punching the gate; Juana put a seaweed poultice on the child's shoulder. Juana moves along with the rhythm of nature, and is aware of her social boundaries. Unlike Kino, she does not believe in pursuing the seemingly unattainable.

Coyotito, the son, represents nature in its most undeveloped stage; the victim of powers greater than himself.

The Doctor is the symbol of evil in man's society. In his book of principles, money counts more than human life and professional pride. He embodies the arrogance of the powerful in society toward the powerless.

Tolstoy's idea of infectiousness through the individuality of the feeling transmitted is shown in the novella's theme on man's struggle for existence. Although Kino's way of life may differ from ours, it contains the same kinds of struggles that everyone faces at some time - the struggle for food and shelter, and the struggle to defend himself from the attacks of nature (the scorpion) and from other human beings who burn his hut, destroy his canoe, hunt him down, and kill his child.

Steinbeck's clarity of expression brings to life in its moving description the evil of man and the rage of man wronged. When Kino's old canoe is destroyed by his enemies, it was an evil beyond thinking for "the killing of a man was not so evil as the killing of a boat. For a boat does not have sons, and a boat cannot protect itself, and a wounded boat does not heal." Seeing this, Kino, now a wounded animal, runs to his house. It does not occur to him to take one of the canoes of his neighbors. "Never once did the thought enter his head, any more than he could have conceived breaking a boat." In Steinbeck's remarkable lines, sorrow is felt to the core and pain to its roots.

As Tolstoy says, the most important of the art's condition of infectiousness is the sincerity of the artist in his craft. The sincerity of Steinbeck in writing The Pearl can be reflected on his 1962 Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech: "Literature is as old as speech. It grew out of human need for it and it has not changed except to become more needed...The writer is delegated to declare and to celebrate man's proven capacity for greatness of heart and spirit - for gallantry, for courage, compassion and love… a writer who does not passionately believe in the perfectibility of man has no dedication nor any membership in literature" (National Steinbeck Center, 2).

And if great works of art embody the understanding of the meaning of life, The Pearl moves closest to this understanding through Kino and his family as they realize that "there are only good and bad things and black and white things and good and evil things, and no in-between anywhere." In the end, they learn that poverty is not a lesson God would like to teach the poor. Poverty is that part of the castle in the universe God has assigned some men and women to guard, with dignity, from the assaults of iniquity, of greed, and of envy.

Saturday Pill

Written on January 25, 2006

Attending that saturday class is a pill. It heals me of chronic malady from weeklong stress caused by work and hohum disorder put together by a world that doesn't learn new things, doesn't aim to do new things, doesn't try new things, afraid of getting shot, run over, bumped by an unknown catastrophe yet to happen.

I learn new things from three people every Saturday. Of the three, two are my professors, one is a classmate who is a doctor who knows a tanker about human behavior.

I can categorize my classmates into three: the sponge group, the wood group and the gymsum boards. I would like to think I belong to the sponge group, taking in everything, spitting out the unwanted. The wood group refuses to accept new things, obstinate in their grandeur. The gypsum boards aren't totally hopeless as they let in a few of the discussions. Their only handicap is limited intelligence capacity. Some of them are teachers, quite a number are fresh from college, one or two others are corporate folks, here and there a writer (lifestyle, I think), one is a theater crew, and the rest are self-professed bums.

I have always been an unobtrusive student, keeping thoughts to myself, making comments in silence. But heck, why not this time? I find myself taking the floor every 10 minutes during my first class. Sometimes, i cover my ears so I won't hear a word a classmate says lest I hug the floor again.

I think knowing to weave nice words together is not enough. One needs to learn how the world works. We shouldn't tinker with ideas we know a zilch about. We shouldn't don't talk about sex when -- well, I guess, I shouldn't talk about sex. We shouldn't talk about the corporate world when we have never been employed even as a clerk in an SME in Makati or Ortigas or Pateros. If you are a writer writing about the pyramids, reading about the pyramids is not enough. You got to experience it. You got to be one with the pyramids. Emily Dickinson is dead, and with her in her grave is the monopoly in writing about the bees and birds.

Still, it sure is a pill listening to wannabes like me.

Thankfully Discontented

What if what I have isn't exactly what i need? Do i say, "Fine, I will make do with that"? That there are many people who have so much less and I should be ashamed of myself taking for granted what's before me?

But what I am thankful for at night is that I am not M______ and that I didn't succumb to the call of "love" and married the first guy who asked me. I am thankful that I am me now and that my problem is only about choices, that I don't have nightmares and constant fear of being attacked and kidnapped.

I am not quite afraid of making the wrong decisions. I have lived half of my life making those; the other half being the best years as rewards for the errors turned good life's lessons.

I am treading on fire atop a balance beam a thousand feet off the ground. I am here because I could't be found sitting content because it appears I have gotten what could be the best deal of a lifetime. I have been given so much, let me suffer with discontent. If only to be fair to those whose life has been an organized catalog of misfortunes.

Brooding too early in the day over a cup of yet another unsugared coffee.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Painfully Watching Shalani

I came home late last night. Had late dinner, therefore. Sister went to the kitchen to take a breather from watching Willing Willie which according to my officemate airs over TV5 from 6:30 PM to forever.

"Ako nahihirapan manood sa kanya!" She complained.

Then stop watching the show! I retorted.

I guess that's human nature to check what's new. Surely, my sister watched Shalani out of curiosity. This big entry into showbiz has been all over the spreads and the airwaves the past days. If that doesn't worm into your psyche, I don't know what can.

You've just freed yourself from a high-profile relationship. And sure as hell, the media hadn't been easy. Demons running amok inside your personal hell when lights go out and the external support system has all gone to sleep.

And now this.

Why Shalani?

Was it really that bad?

Please, quit the show and go to Italy and eat pasta. (Yes, I read the book.)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Things That Suck In This Country

Based on my experiences and the news that came out the past few days.

No, not the wine. No, Filipino men are still the best looking males in the world.

Drivers. And there are A LOT of them. Both of public and private vehicles. But bus drivers are the worst, of course. This morning I thought would be the end of me as I got sandwiched by two huge JAC Liners racing along SLEX. SLEX as it is, is in a very bad state what with the topsy-turvy way the Skyway contractors work. Narrow roads, concrete barriers, construction vehicles, construction workers - all contributing to one big mess. The contractors work like a careless bride cooking for the groom for the first time. Hurricane in the kitchen; tsunami in the sink. Add the government contractors to the list of those who suck in this country.

Traffic police. I was robbed in broad daylight. I was apprehended along Libis because I took the line down a U-Turn Lane but didn't take it. I didn't intend to be in that lane. How would I know that somewhere along the long C5 Road, there would be a U-Turn slot I should avoid like a plague? I didn't bother anyone turning left by going straight. And tell me, how could I possibly change lanes when there were huge trailer trucks ready to make steel sheets of my Honda. I got robbed trying to avoid an accident. Great! They were asking for four Ninoy bills or they would confiscate my license which I would redeem for P2,500 and a seminar. They were pulling my leg, of course. You gotta be third-world kidding me! I heard "third-world" has been put to sleep. "Third-world" is now called "developing countries." But what the heck! Third world is third world! Why in Webster's name are names and terminologies being changed now? RP is no longer RP but PH or PHI. What's in a name?? Going back, what could a poor driver like me have done? I was threatened. There were about half a dozen of them and a policeman waiting on the side. Noynoy, you removed the wangwang, but not the varmints in uniform. And is that even allowed - a band of traffic enforcers and a policeman having a tea party along C5?

Jaywalkers along C5. Street vendors along C5. Worse are those with pushcarts.

Congressmen going to Texas to watch Manny's fight. With free airfare and accommodation, care of Manny. Manny, your money is your business. But between giving those elected officials free rides and giving street children (which you once were) a year's worth of food, education and shelter, I'd rather that you look back at your past and remember some of your thoughts about rich men burning away money while your stomach growled as you waited for the rain to let up so you could sleep on the pavement of a lamp-less street.

P-Noy's Miscommunications Group. Are Mr. Carandang and Ms. Mislang still glued to the post? What brand are they using?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Ridiculously Sad

I always see them early in the morning at 7. Toddlers running, babies in their strollers, puppies on a leash - all of them basking in the early morning sun. At Eastwood Mall Open Park. Playing, running, giggling, crying, barking, wagging their tails. Dogs and babies in one happy world in the park.

No, they are not there on their own. Each baby, each toddler, each puppy, each dog has a yaya to push the stroller, to watch over the little kid running, playing by the lagoon, to hold the leash of the dog, to pick after the puppy.


We look down on mothers residing at the slum for bearing a dozen children they couldn't feed. But hey, what do we say about condo mothers, executive mommies and rich moms who bear a child or two and can't even push a stroller, join their kids at the park and have to pay someone to do one of the most basic maternal duties of all? Having children is a big personal responsibility. Motherhood should not be a right or an obligation, but a choice. By that I mean, you choose to be a mother, then give up five years of your career life and spend it with your child. You don't want to bear a child, then don'y marry a guy you can't convince not to have children.


You buy an expensive dog for show and hire a yaya to take care of it. If you're not an idiot, I don't know what to call you. Having dogs is like having children. It is a huge responsibility. You take care of it. You hands-on take care of it. If you don't have the time to do it and the sincere inclination for it, then don't get a dog!

So sad. So ridiculously sad.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hotdog-Eating Christians and the Promise of Greatness

Over the weekend, I watched two WW II films - Back to Bataan (1945) , starring John Wayne and Anthony Quinn, and No Man Is An Island (1962) , starring Jeffrey Hunter and Barbara Perez. Two great Hollywood films that tell you the Philippines ought to be the most advanced economy in Asia today.

No Man Is An Island is a film on Japanese occupation of Guam during World War II. It was shot in the Philippines and used a host of Filipino actors and actresses including Barbara Perez and Chichay. Ms. Perez was outstanding in all aspects. Her beauty was world class, her acting defined Hollywood. However, there was a little booboo in one of the scenes that escaped editing. That scene where the American Navy Tweed celebrates Christmas with the Cruz family. Go check Youtube for No Man Is An Island Part 9 posted by user Alchemy618.

In Back to Bataan, Col. Madden (Wayne) told Maximo, a school boy, that the boy would help the Philippines be a great country after the war. You watch that film and you know that line isn't just a script but a promise. Albeit, still unfulfilled. In this movie, I learned that the Philippines had 17 million population. About 65 years and additional 73 million Filipinos later, we are still in our own war against poverty and corruption. From 17M to 90M Filipinos over the span of 65 years, what an achievement in human reproduction! Surely, the Catholic Church is happy to note.

In a classroom scene in Back to Bataan, the pupils were asked what Spain and the US contributed to the Philippines. The pupils said Spain gave us saints and Christianity. The Americans gave us hotdogs! Now, we've become a nation of 90 million, majority of us, hotdog-eating Christians.

I stay in this country, not feeling stuck in it. I'm staying because I'm waiting for that breakthrough. Of the promise of greatness. Over that seemingly far horizon is a ray of legendary hope that this country will be the greatest in Asia. And I will not be in Europe or the US or in any other part of the world when that happens.