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Friday, January 14, 2011

Spare The Rod; Walk Your Talk

My friend told me that the best way to get kids to behave is to have limitless patience. I doubted it then. My siblings and I were raised with constant fear of being pinched, smacked, slapped, not given dinner if we misbehave. And the times were not few when we misbehaved. We were disobedient and lazy and selfish and impolite despite the punishments. Still we've grown to become responsible, law-abiding, caring individuals, I'd like to think. I wonder now if the rod was spared, would we still be the kind of people that we are today.

My four-year old nephew is the worst kid I've ever known. He was a bully at three. He is disobedient, lazy, selfish, impolite, a loudmouth, and a smartass. The two-year old one, unfortunately, is a runner-up.

But they are so cute and so young and so innocent, how could old people expect them to behave and follow the constitution?

The best way still is to teach by example. If we say, "Don't do this," we should show them first that we "don't do this." If we say, "Be this," we should first "be this."

Such a tough job to be an adult!

Friday, January 7, 2011

No Leftists on Rizal Day

(Better late than never.)

Not that I miss their street theatrics. On the contrary, I'm glad they left that day alone.

Like the late leftist historian Renato Constantino and the "anti-elite" writer F. Sionil Jose, the leftists aren't exactly Rizal fans.

I understand that people have to have a stand. But good people can't be marble tough and not change their minds or habits or beliefs when the right catalyst comes.

Rizal stays my number one human being, dead or alive.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Defenders of Willie Revillame

Yesterday, January 4, 2011, Philippine Daily Inquirer feautured a letter to the editor written by a person named JM Torcullas defending Willie Revillame against the attacks of De Quiros in the latter's "Hangover" article in his column There's The Rub last December.

I couldn't help sending Mr. Torcullas an e-mail the very minute I put down the newspaper.

Here's what I e-mailed him:

Dear Mr. Torcullas,

People can have varied reactions towards the same stimulus. While you call De Quiros a "plague" ( a term you "borrowed" from him), with the same "monstrosity staring back at him," and who should "be disregarded for his littleness of mind and spirit," I call De Quiros no other name but his. I don't want to be one classic example of a kettle calling the teapot black.

It may interest you to know what I have written after reading that same article that seemed to have repulsed you to the marrow of your bones. Still, I don't force you to read my opinion. Yours didn't force me. It made me.


Conrado De Quiros' column today entitled "Hangover" juxtaposes the ways Willie Revillame and Ellen Degeneres help those in need. While Ellen was a class act, Willie was simply an act. Willie would dry up his beneficiaries to their last teardrop; Ellen "would crack a joke or draw attention to something else or go into commercial each time the beneficiary got tearful." Willie would bask in the limelight as his beneficiaries kiss his hand in gratefulness; the poor beneficiaries looking like stray dogs being given last night's leftovers. Ellen "has basic appreciation for people, she has basic respect for people." Wille has only basic and primal appreciation for money.

We do not need to look far to realize the level of doom this country has found itself. We need only switch on the TV set to local channels on primetime.

When we talk of TV, there are two things that hit my negative memory button; the two things that TV had done that I will never forget.

One. Wish Ko Lang.

I am not sure if it was still with Bernadette Sembrano or with its current host Vickie Morales. A boy in his teens was shown playing basketball with his pals. He had the moves. He could do rebounds. He was fairly tall. He was laughing and playing. What do you know, he had cancer. He had this huge mound of flesh somewhere in his body where the mass should not have been. His family wrote to Wish Ko Lang for help. With the usual drama and theatrics, Wish Ko Lang granted the wish and sponsored the boy's operations. Two or three episodes later, the boy died. My sister and I were stunned. And we cried. We still remember that episode to this day. To this day there is no disclaimer that says "Ask at your own risk." Just a long list of sponsors at end credits.

Two. PBA.

It was that terrible game when Terry Saldana fell on his knee that broke and dislocated in complete reverse. I still get the shivers remembering it. How could I not? Thoughtless, inconsiderate, callous PBA crew must have ran the replay in slow-mo over a dozen times a minute while the announcers commented on every screenshot minute detail. I was but a little girl enjoying the game with my father. The PBA that time was riding on a big wave of success. It was the time when most Filipino families had only one TV set. It was the time when fathers called the shots on what to watch on TV. And when it's PBA time, it was all PBA time. To hell with Inday Badiday and her rotten showbiz talkshow. Success made PBA careless. And heartless. What must have been happening to PBA now is called payback time.

Because video killed not just the radio star.


The above article was posted on this blog on December 27, 2010 (December 28, 2010 PH date).

For someone who had been affected terribly by an article that was not directly sent to him, it is a curiosity that Mr. Torcullas ignored my e-mail written, addressed and sent directly to him. I will shut up for any guess forming inside my pretty head. Pretty??

Today, another letter with similar content is featured at PDI. This time sent by someone named Nestor Carpio. I ask myself what has Willie got?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My Driving Song List

This morning, I timed my travel from home in Laguna to workplace in Eastwood in terms of the number of songs. And what a pleasant surprise. It took me just 14 songs - from Having My Baby to I'll Be. This notwithstanding the traffic out of the village to the three-way vehicular accident over the Pasig bridge along C5.

1. (You're) Having My Baby - Glee Club
2. A Thousand Miles - Vanessa Carlton
3. Barely Breathing - Duncan Sheik
4. Broken Vow - Josh Groban
5. Come Around - Rhett Miller
6. Crush - Glee Club
7. Don't Stand So Close To Me/Young Girl - Glee Club
8. Easy - Faith No More
9. Endless Love - Glee Club
10. Get Here - Aleta Adms
11. Haven't Met You Yet - Michael Buble
12. Hold On - Michael Buble
13. I Will Remember You - Amy Grant
14. I'll Be (Acoustic) - Edwin McCain
15. I'll Never Get Over You Getting Over Me - Expose
16. I'll Stand By You - Glee Club
17. Imagine - Glee Club
18. In This Life - Ronan Keating
19. Insensitive - Jann Ardenn
20. Jump - Glee Club
21. Lean On Me - Glee Club
22. Lullaby - Shawn Mullins
23. My Life Would Suck Without You - Glee Club
24. No Frontiers (Unplugged) - The Corrs
25. Proud Mary - Glee Club
26. Sleep All Day - Jason Mraz
27. Stay - Lisa Loeb
28. Stranded - Jennifer Paige
29. That's What Love Is For - Amy Grant
30. The Art of Letting Go - Mikaila
31. The Day You Went Away -Wendy Matthews
32. Slide - Googoo Dolls
33. I Touch Myself - Blondie
34. No One Is To Blame - Howard Jones
35. All That I Bleed - Savatage
36. Let Her Cry - Hootie And The Blowfish
37. You Got A Way - Shania Twain
38. Cats In The Cradle - Ugly Kid Joe
39. Loser - Beck
40. Waiting In Vain - Annie Lennox
41. Give Me One Reason - Tracy Chapman
42. Steep - Lauren Christy
43. Black Balloon - Googoo Dolls
44. Walk On The Ocean - Toad The Wet Sprocket

The song list may very well reveal my taste, my age, my state of mind, my sentiments, my secrets. And Glee! Yes, I'm pretty much blushing right now.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

"Blindness" Is About Seeing Clearly

I've just finished reading "Blindness" by Jose Saramago, the Nobel Prize for Literature awardee. It was through my most revered professor that I first heard about Saramago, almost ten years ago.

A few weeks ago, I was browsing through a shelf at Powerbooks-Greenbelt 3 that offered a line up of writers I thought I couldn't find in any Philippine bookstore. Amazing how Powerbooks does it. They must have very good literary consultants there. There were simply a dozen titles I wanted to take home. However, thinking about the holidays and what I recently stumbled upon - a book given by my former boss with this written quote from her:

"Book reading is a solitary and sedentary pursuit and those who do are cautioned that a book should be used as an integral part of a well-rounded life, including a daily regimen of rigorous physical exercise, rewarding personal relationships, and sensible low-fat diet. A book should not be used as a substitute or an excuse." (The Book of Guys by Garrison Keillor)

I decided not to buy any book for the holidays. A good book is a distraction.

But on December 27 at Powerbooks-Festival Mall while I was checking out possible gifts for some friends (I am usually the last to give gifts. I don't subscribe to pre-Christmas shopping), a book stood out, a book that shouldn't have been where it was, a book I remember from PB's G3 branch. I couldn't help saying, "Oh, it's you again." "You have to get me and read me," it was telling me. Fine. Without a moment's hesitation, I took it and bought it.

"Blindness" offered itself to me twice, this book ought to be so good. Ought to be better than most books I've read in recent months. And it had some great competitions. Recently I've read "Love in the Time of Cholera," I Know This Much Is True," "Things Fall Apart (a second reading; this time non-academic), and a host of other notable books.

And lo! It turns out to be better than GG Marquez's "Cholera"! And Achebe's "Things Fall Apart" is only slightly better. But of course, "Things Fall Apart" is from another dimension.

"Blindness" is a modern parable, too straightforward, too raw, too crude you'd think it came from the Old Testament. It doesn't say, "Excuse me, the next scenes are too gory, they're almost real. Please, skip the pages." It is about humanity stripped of television. It is about humanity in the highest level of undress. It is like "The Lord of the Flies" adult version.

"One day, when we realize that we can no longer do anything good and useful we ought to have the courage simply to leave this world." Page 378. And you are bound to realize and know it is true that your life is not about you. That you live for others and others live for you and because of you.

Today is the second day of the year and I have already read the one book I needed to read for 2011.