Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Of quirks, idiosyncrasies and weirdness.

Do you have any personal idiosyncrasies?

Well, I have.

I guess I'm one of those people that has weird personal rules and regulations that must be followed in order to maintain some form of happiness and contentment with life. And here are they...

- I always leave out few things to store. I will leave a tiny slice of onion or a handful of uncooked spaghetti, a single piece of meat from the pack in the fridge. I will leave at least one chip in a bag, one sip of coffee in a cup, one little bite of a donut. Don't ask why. I don't know.

- I don't like milk and I cannot eat anything that has milk in it. Not than I am allergic to it, I just can't stand the smell of milk. No it's not even stale, but I don't know how my nose get so turned up when smelling milk. Ugh!

- I have a bed quirk. When lying in bed, I have to neatly fold a blanket, lengthwise, where I would lie down. Sometimes I did a wrong fold and I will get a bad vibe as soon as I lay down. It doesn't matter that my bed had a newly crisp bedcover on it, I just can't lay down without another blanket beneath my body.

- When travelling, I have this weird habit of reading signs, billboards, street signs, etc. I would strain my neck reading every single one, even those that are already familiar.

- I always carry a toothpick between my lips. I like pricking my gum with it, because I like the taste of blood in my mouth. No, that's too peculiar, maybe it's the movie "Twilight" I have watched. Hahaha, scratch that out!

-Yeah, I'm weird, I don't even have a reflection in the mirror now!

Ok, I'm going to stop or this will become queerer by the minute. Phew!

I expect you though to take up the cause and reveal your quirks in the comments, because, don't make me stand out here emotionally naked all alone.

Addendum: I hate, hate, when people try to "one up" your bad health, bad experiences or yes, even quirks. There is nothing more annoying than a person who says "You had a 104 fever? Pfft, I had a 105! My dire emergency was far worse than yours!"

Does everything have to be a god damn competition? I swear, it makes me want to bang someone head on the wall.

Except I can't stand the sight of blood. Yeah, another quirk, duh!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Say it again, please???

Former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair was in Manila Last week. I don't know the purpose of his visit, but our president had proposed that he help bring peace to Mindanao.

Mindanao for those of you who don't know yet, is the seat of ceaseless struggle between the government and the radical Islamic groups in the Philippine island.

Say what?!! Why Tony Blair??? Oh, maybe it has to do with Blair having played a major part in hammering out the Belfast Agreement of 1998, which stopped the horrendous violence in Ireland.

Tracey, don't hate me, but I never admired Blair. I am sure that you too is aware how the government of John Major and Margaret Thatcher have reduced Britain to the status of an "American poodle".

But alas, Blair would be worse. I don’t know which is sillier, or more humiliating, being the poodle of Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton, or of George W. Bush.

Bush would probably be the prohibitive favorite.

The special relationship between the US and the UK has, in the last 12 years, brought about the deaths of thousands upon thousands of people in Iraq, Afghanistan and Serbia. All this in pursuit of the US and UK moral crusade to bring peace and stability to the world.

Bush has said: “We will not allow the world’s worst weapons to remain in the hands of the world’s worst leaders.”

Yeah, quite right... Look in the mirror, chum. That’s you!!!

Good thing though that there was neither an invitation from Malacañang nor an offer from Blair to serve as the government’s adviser on the peace process, though he said he was willing to help.

We Filipinos should rely more on a workable and effective agreement that will bring sustainable peace and development to the southern Philippines. Only Filipinos who truly understand the origin of the conflict can bring peace to Mindano.

Not Blair, who will only resort to rhetoric, cliché and propaganda.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The questions... your answer.

Sure, we dont make a conscious decision to live forever. But somehow we dedicate our life to getting what we think we want. We live in the conditioned wants of family, and in the manufactured wants of society.

We spend our lives invested in second-hand desires...

1. Is your life going the way you want it to go?
2. Are you currently pursuing your dreams, living life with purpose and passion?
3. Is your life all it could be, all it should be and more?
4. Or is there something missing?
5. Are there things you'd dearly love to change but have never got around to changing?

My Answers:
1. No it doesn't at the moment. It's a continuing process.
2. I would like to think that I am.
3. All it could be - no. All it should be - hell no!
4. Yeah, reaching my dreams.
5. I am motivated by the mere thought and hope that the other side of the fence exist and I am empowered to make that jump when I wishes to.

Ok guys, now it's your turn to answer these 5 questions.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Spreading the love, big time!

My dear friends, I cannot quite remember how things were before I started following your blogs. But I cannot quite imagine how things would be if I cannot visit your page now.

So I celebrate the moment you have become a part of my day with this award.

Here are the rules: Link to the giver – link to the one you give to, and give them to at least seven bloggers. Notify them of the award.

So, drum roll please. I love you all!!!

Angry American : He is not just a funny kick ass blogger, but also a special friend. He writes about the things he hates about America but he sure is a true American by heart.

Tracey : A truly amazing crafty lady form UK who makes wonderful stuff despite just two hour sleep each night. I am very grateful to have met her and her family, although virtually...but we gonna fix that someday.

Kirst : She’s a rising star from NZ. Her life's tale, struggle and overcoming adversaries are a compelling reason to not miss her blog. She inspires me and I love her.

Then there is Joy, a real life buddy although we haven’t seen each other for ages. I love her funny anecdotes of life in Mongolia, especially about those things familiar and not anymore. A must read.

Acolyte Tao is a breath of fresh air. He is an American who just turned eighteen but this young gentleman has very interesting opinion of the world around him. Makes you hopeful that the youth of today isn't lost afterall.

Another inspiration is Amy. A young mother who's ailment doesn't make her less a perfect person that she is. She is Tracey's daughter and I love her so much too.

Make way for the Prez of Estarra. Another pretty young thing from Chennai in India, who's blog is a mix of profound personal analysis and funny anecdotes. Her writing style is uniguely her own.

Last but not the least, Sid. A Canadian who's very character sets him apart from the rest. He is compassionate, emphatic and his blog has very useful information and worthy of your precious time.

Okay, guys...go forth unto the blogging community and spread the love!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A flicker of hope.

I sometimes believe I had seen enough of what is happening to my country to make me think of it in the worst possible way. You see, the behavior of some people in the government are often so brazen that I find myself engulfed with a recurring sense of a society spinning out of control. But somehow, I feel that not all is lost. There are still those who upheld the law and make things right.

Take for example the Subic rape case. Here the accused is not a powerful individual. But Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith is no ordinary mortal either. He is a member of the visiting American military contingent, allowed into my country on the strength of a bilateral agreement between the Philippines and the United States.

In a less democratic society, there would have been no way someone like Daniel Smith could be indicted, tried and actually convicted by a local court. Political considerations — diplomatic and security interests — would have intruded from the start to prevent the incident from becoming a full-blown case. There were actually attempts to exert that kind of pressure. But they did not prosper because there were women’s groups that made sure that Nicole’s (the victim) fight would not be a lonely one. As a result, the Judge closed his ears to the diplomatic and political noise and focus entirely on the legal merits of the case.

This case has placed both the Philippine and the US governments in an embarrassing situation. The final outcome may not be to my liking, as Smith wasn’t detained in any of the country’s jail but in the makeshift detention cell in the US embassy. However it is worth remembering that going this far on a case like this is not a mean achievement in itself. When law makes it hard for power to have its way, then that is progress!

On the sad note however, I am afraid that Smith’s conviction will eventually be reversed.

After all, it is the great, mighty America versus a little dirt-poor country like the Philippines that looks up to Uncle Sam for loans and every little help it needs -where a mere telephone call by its President sends our own little President and her whole government into a tizzy. Shame on it, but the quality of mercy is not restrained when it is Uncle Sam asking for it.

Oh how I wish that the government had shown more “balls” with regard to this case, instead of lawyering for Smith when it was completely unnecessary to do so. With the loud noises made about renegotiating the Visiting Forces Agreement, it makes sense to suppose that a compromise was in the works.

Despite the heaviness in my heart, I wish “Nicole” the best, and pray that in her exile, far away from the intrigues and pressures, she will truly find a new life. She was and still is a woman of courage, but her struggle for justice will now have to be carried on by other women.

Here’s hoping that there are still many of them in my midst…

The difference of heaven and earth.

I am a Catholic. I was baptized and grew up in the teachings of my Roman Catholic Church. But to be truly Catholic also means appreciating all of creation and looking at the world from a universal perspective. It means adopting a holistic outlook that encourages personal growth and social transformation. It means not being afraid to ask questions about faith, about the Church, or about the world in which we live.

This saddens me, but every time I turn around it seems that there is a new crisis facing my Church that erodes or reflects poorly on its values, standards, and integrity, especially of its leaders. Take for example the case involving a nine year old girl in Brazil who had been raped by his step father and got pregnant because of it.

Know what happened? A Brazilian bishop excommunicated the girl’s mother and the doctor who performed the procedure, but did nothing to censure or punish the rapist! I think before thinking about excommunication, it is necessary for the church to protect the girl’s innocent life and bring her back to a level of humanity. The church should have defended the girl, hugged and held her tenderly to make her feel that they were on her side.

Unfortunately, that didn’t happen and now my church appears to the eyes of many as insensitive, incomprehensible and devoid of mercy...

Another issue, which I am sure everyone by now has heard about, is the latest news of Pope Benedict XVI visit to Africa where he courted the ire of the people of Cameroon by denouncing the use of condoms.

But of course, condoms are certainly an important issue in a country where more than five percent of the adult population has tested positive for HIV! But the pontiff said in his speech that AIDS is a tragedy that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms. He said condoms even aggravate the problem. Instead, the Pope suggested that to overcome it, people should have spiritual and human awakening, and be a friend for those who suffer.

Yes sure, we can make friends with people living with AIDS, (PLWA). But to really help them, we need to help them secure the necessary medication, and help promote the use of condoms.

Is the Pope living in the 21st century?

Alain Fogue, a PLWA worker, remark: “He lives in Heaven and we are on earth.”

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I'm sure I ain't drunk whilst writing this.

Reading Kirst blog and coming home from a party where I had a few glass of beer made me think of my own experience with alcohol. I am not a drinker, but I would say that I do drink socially once in a while - in a dinner party, a gathering with female friends or at home during holidays.

But I confess that there was a time in the past when I got so drunk I woke up in my bath room floor with a lump on my head. I remember I went there to pee, but maybe I passed out. I know that's awful, especially when I have to deal with a hang over the next day. But after that incident I told myself I will never get drunk again.

So now, whenever an occasion prevent me from declining an invitation to be sociable and alcohol drinks is being offered, I see to it that I only get to a certain stage of drunkeness. I am not an expert on this but somehow the experience I have with alcohol had given me the ability to more accurately gauge my level of drunkeness. Obviously, everyone will have their own personal definitions for each of these stages, if they even acknowledge them at all, but anyways here are mine:

Warm: the way I feel after that first sip or two of alcohol. My skin starts to feel a little warm to the touch. For some unlucky Asians, our faces begin to turn red. Other than that though, there is no discernable difference in behavior.

Buzzed: When I first notice that I have alcohol coursing through my body. The main symptom of this stage is slight numbness in the limbs, like I can literally begin to feel my body start the process of losing control.

Tipsy: Here's where the fun starts. My skin continues to feel warm, and my muscles begin to lose their fine motor control. Everything loosens up, including my tongue. When I start talking louder and more than usual, then I've probably entered the tipsy stage.

OK that's the stage where I would courteously decline another glass. I would rather just have water with ice and just examine where the rest of my drinking buddies are at that stage. Of course the next is pretty obvious.

Drunk: There are 3 more stages after this? Yes, obviously there are. For me, drunk is when the extremes start. This is when a person noticeably have ADD one minute, then be able to have a deep intellectual conversation about life and death the next minute. And tongue is pretty loose at this point, and pretending to move like a sober person takes great effort. However, motor control is still present. One of the easier ways to recognize when someone is drunk is by their greetings. If she walk up to me and say hello much louder and more exuberantly than necessary on any level, then she is AT LEAST at the drunk stage.

Sloppy: This stage is easy to recognize. The main symptom is the inability to walk straight. When a person start making zig-zags on Sampaguita street and it's not on purpose, then she would have entered the sloppy stage.

Wasted: When a person comes up and gives you a bear hug, then you know she's wasted. Also evident through the "you are so awesome i love you so much" rhetoric from a person at this stage. Also, this is when everyone is at their ballsiest. Nothing is too taboo to talk about, too scary to do, or too intimidating to shy away from. This stage is the start of throwing skeletons out of closets, and maybe memory goes in and out at this stage.

Blackout: Oh, it's everything mentioned above, except you can't remember a damn thing.

Let us admit it, when someone is drunk there is laughter all over and something funny is bound to happen. Stupid and odd things surely becomes funny the moment alcohol kicks in our brain. Best is, when you can crack jokes even when you are amongst the corniest people on earth during a drinking session.

We drink for many reasons. Some do, because they want to get to sleep, to numb pain, or to forget their problems. Others do because they want to have fun, chill out, and maybe find it a good ground to make new friends and acquaintances. The only problem nowadays is the sad fact that several irresponsible people drink more than they should, and sobriety becomes a discarded word.

Whatever your reason is, always remember that being responsible is always the key to having fun with friends and enjoying a nice cold glass of beer.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Gloating over little victories.

Every once in a while I enjoy the thrill that small victories provide. I know, some of it I just take for granted as they didn’t create much impact in my life. But when I do think about it, they are what get me through the work of life.

Sitting here in front of my pc made me ponder on some of those magic moments.

First that come to my mind is the joy of discovering a crumpled bill in my old pants. Wow, this can be very satisfying especially when I am short of cash. But of course, it pales in comparison with the spine-tingling thrill of spotting cash on the sidewalk before anyone else does. This combination of good vision, excellent instincts and lightning-fast reflexes definitely places the free-money in the category of small victories.

Don’t raise your eyebrows, but I think small victories sometimes require sacrificing a small creature. Oh sure, there’s something about the glory of the hunt that invigorates me - which is why I sometimes shout gleefully after killing a pesky mosquito with an irritating buzzing sound just when I am dozing off!

And what is more exhilarating than being proven right? As most of us don’t have all of the answers, then being proven right on a contentious topic is one of the most rewarding small victories I can achieve. This feeling can be especially sweet when it comes against a sharper or better-educated foe or a poor sport who positively despises being wrong.

The same holds true when I am able to come up with a witty comeback after being insulted. Yes, it is so glorious when every now and then, the planets align just perfectly to allow me to formulate a razor-sharp comeback that puts a snarling smart-ass firmly in his place. It doesn’t happen often, but small victories of this nature are worth celebrating.

Oh don’t hate me, but I do know that children are considered poor competition. After all, they’re small, they’re weak and they’re often wet in the pants with excitement or nervousness. And yet, there’s something oddly satisfying about defeating a little tyke. Ha ha. Regardless of whether it’s a muscle game or a bit of mind game played on a rainy day, it’s always nice to remind the little rugrats of their place in the pecking order. My old folks reveled in these types of small victories and it’s only fair to continue the cycle now that I am on the top of the food chain.

As you can see I am not the competitive type, and joining the Olympics has never crossed my mind. But for me who don't get to the world stage, well, I take my wins when I can find them.

How about you, what could make you feel victorious?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

As if they never left...

We have long dismantled the US military base here in my country, but the Philippines remained on the radar of the US goverment. They sought to regain military foothold in my country through various agreements.

In 1999 our senate ratify an RP-US Visiting Forces Agreemet (VFA) which serves as a legal framework for the treatment for visiting American troops, and this serves as the legal basis for the stationing of US troops in the Philippines.

But unlike the base treaty, the VFA has no duration. It is in effect, by all intent and purposes, INDEFINITELY! Add to that, it does not limit the area where they can visit, the number of troops allowed, nor the activities of the visiting troops. Theoritically, the US can station or deploy any number of troops anywhere in the Philippines for unspecified activities.

This is favorable to America as the design is more flexible and less costly to maintain. One batch leaves another enters... in a kind of revolving door fashion.

So, why did I talk about it today? Because President Obama called our president to talk about the VFA.

Obama is an American president, and he represents American interests. His own claim to power depends on his ability to be seen as representing American interests. The importance of the VFA to the US today may be seen in Obama’s call to Arroyo after refusing to acknowledge her existence all this time. There is always the fear that Arroyo might drag down US interests along with her.

I have always admired Obama. He is the first American president to have recognized the Philippine contribution to the Allied cause in World War II. All the other US presidents have merely paid lip service to Filipino bravery. Obama has put money where the American mouth is.

Of course, he made a mistake calling up Arroyo. It allows Arroyo to put a spin to that call and exploit the American vulnerability to being held hostage by the Visiting Forces Agreement. But that is for us, the Filipino people, to oppose. That is for us, the Filipino people, to correct.

So to the elected president of America, here's what I want to say:

"The VFA has no place in the world you envision. Certainly it has no place in the country we live in. It is not your place to demand that it continue to exist. It is an exaction upon us, no less than your bases were. It ought never to have seen the light of day.

We are America’s ally, we are America’s friend. But principles are the true foundations of alliances, not expedience. Equality is the true foundation of friendship, not imposition. You want us to respect you, respect us. You want us follow your lead, lead where we may follow.

You have been an inspiration to America, you have been an inspiration to the world. Be an inspiration to us as well."

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Alas, luck smiles at me!

Dear readers, I will be gone next week. I am on my way to the UK to claim the £750,000 I won in an electronic email raffle by Compaq. Yes, Tracey I will finally meet your family!

I am the luckiest person in the world!

The truth is, this is not the first time I have won such a raffle. I also won £750,000 from Siemens the other day, and £500,000 from Google last week, not to mention the £400,000 from Motorola’s MEGA JACKPOT earlier this month. I also won a few more lotteries from other overseas companies, but they are written in foreign languages, so I am currently studying Italian and German so I can claim them as well.

Since I started blogging, it seems luck has been on my side, and I keep winning more money than I have ever imagined possible. I am so blessed! I cannot thank the heavens enough for this incredible fortune...(tears almost visible)

On Monday, I am on my way to Liverpool, England to claim my money. ( Is that anywhere near you, Amy?) All I need to do now, I was told, is to deposit P50,000 to an offshore account as a transaction fee, as well as another P50,000 in miscellaneous fees.

Unknown to my three boys, I sold all our cows, pigs, goats and chickens (and their eggs) to come up with the amount. But I was still short of P30,000, so I offered my dying uncle’s kidneys to a nephritis patient to make up the difference.

My children will be so surprised when I tell them the good news.(giggles and more giggles)

No, I have not yet claimed my other prizes. I reckon that after I claim the £750,000from Compaq, I shall have more than enough money to claim my other prizes: Siemens has asked me to give them P200,000 in transaction fees, while Google and Motorola are asking for P150,000 each.

Do not worry, dear reader, these fees are a pittance compared to what I will be getting in return. Life is really good to me, and I remember with shame the many times in my life when I questioned my faith in the heavens.

I will be a rich woman the next time we meet!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Would an apology be enough?

As nations across the globe frets about extricating itself from the financial crisis, there is one group of people to whom the rest of the world owe the most sincere words of apology.

That group consists of the oldest of our fellow citizens. The men and women who had went through the Great Depression when they were young, who fought and endured World War II when they were just a little older, and who had hoped for a sense of peace and tranquility in their final years on this earth.

Yes, they don't deserve what they are going through.

I am sure these men and women who had endured the Depression and World War II had played it straight when it come to putting their trust in financial institutions. They didn't believe in complicated money schemes. I bet, they were cautious, because the two defining national events of their lives taught them that they can never really count on anything. They have watched their own parents suffer during the Depression, and some went overseas for years on end when their nation asked them to save the world, and when they came home, they crossed their fingers and hoped the good times were not an illusion.

We all know by now that the mistakes and tricks and reckless gambles of the supposedly sophisticated masters of Wall Street did not only bring down America’s economy, but also to countries overseas, thus wounding old citizen across many countries, many of whom, had never even heard the names of the men who ran the biggest investment banks and brokerage firms.

This is so unfair. Because once more, in a lifetime that has been filled with sacrifices, they are having to pay the terrible price for decisions in which they had no say.

All that our senior citizen had asked for, in their final years, is a sense of safety, of stability. They already knew what it was like to go to sleep night after night with their stomachs knotted in fear. What we the present generation owed them was nights, at the end, when they never again had to feel that dread in the darkness.
Now they are feeling it, and there is nothing that their sons and daughters, their grandsons and granddaughters can do to convince them that their fear in the night is groundless. What they are being forced to go through now is in the most elemental sense of this word - SHAME.

I hope they know how sorry we all are.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Music of the heart.

My Sunday was spent taking a nostalgic musical trip. While doing the household chores, my stereo was blaring songs back to the days when music had distict melodies and danceable tunes, and the words, however silly, were at least intelligible and made sense.

I'm sure you have songs that jog your memory when you hear them. Maybe you hear them piped into an elevator or at a department store, or by accident when you move the radio dial. That's the joy of music. It's not only entertainment. It's a part of our life.

Athough I don't remember listening to the music of my generation as I grew up listening to my parent's music which I come to like very much, for me music is an important influence on my memory. I could associate songs with people, places and emotions I have experienced in my life.

Do you also experience when certain scene or event suddenly flash back in your mind when you hear a particular song? It seems that a piece of a familiar music serves as a soundtrack for a mental movie that starts playing in our head. These melodies call back memories of a particular person or place, and we all of a sudden see that person's face in our mind's eye.

But do we like the song first and associate it with a memory or do we like the song because of the memory we associate it with?

Maybe it really doesn't matter whether the music is good or bad. The music itself acts like a recorder on all possible levels. It absorbs my perceptions and freezes them, then just put them on replay the next time I hear the same song. I can recall what I was seeing, smelling, thinking while I was listening to the same melody back in my past. Scary, actually. Like being in a time machine for a second and then back again.

I still haven't migrated to listening to rap music and opera, although I'm not a big fan of today's popular music either. I guess I'm stuck in a folksy, music limbo, like a glam rocker who went into retirement, waiting for the day when big hair, spandex, heavy makeup, and drum pads are again fashionable.

How about you? What songs do you attach particular feelings or memories?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

My date with Keanu.

When there is nothing good to watch on television, I would delve into my collection of DVDs and watch films I had already watch for the nth time. Tonight, it was Matrix. (Yes Tracey, you have your Mel I have my Keanu.)

Seeing this film once more made me ask the question that I had asked myself the first time I saw it: Is human life just a dream, from which we never really awake? Are we submerged by our feelings, by our loves and hates, by our ideas of good, bad, and beautiful? Are we incapable of knowing beyond those ideas and feelings?

Is the reality we know a reality imposed to us by nature? Is the reality and the meaning of life a creation of men, such as music, or love or colors?

But then science tells us that there isn't such things as music, harmony or colors in the physic world. Just traveling molecules. That there is no external hot or cold, but only different velocities of molecules. That there aren’t sounds, music or harmonies, but just variations in the pressure of the air. That there aren’t colors, or light, just electromagnetic waves.

Are we, and all living beings just survival machines, blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes? Is there any significance for life in a Universe of billions of stars that ignore us, and whose dimensions and nature overcome our understanding?

Anyway, whatever it is, the movie had altered my vision of the world. Of course, I believe in fate, but I think we all have a choice, whether to go down this path or that path. But mine definitely is not about saving the universe.

I know too that life is a head trip, and in order to understand it you need to be impartial and open to new things. Mostly, I think life is school. We keep learning until we die. A lot of people think they've learned all they need to learn, but they are wrong.

So, you tell me, are there green numbers running up and down my body?

Wait, is that a banana he is holding? See, even matrix has a glitch!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Let's save our youth.

There is another teenage boy in the headline today. The German teenager had a shooting spree in his old school, killing 15 people which ended with him killing himself. The paper says he was sporty and popular as a child. Also there was no suicide note, no video, no confession which could provide any insight into why the boy would want to commit such a bloody act.

I don’t know what is happening to our youth today. When I was growing up, 12 and 14 were still considered babies. Now, 12 and 14 year old kids are stealing cars, shooting people, doing drugs…you name it and they are doing it.

Where are the parents? I know that parents can’t watch their children 24 hours a day, but someone must be responsible for this bad behavior. I know it may sound cliché, but I really don’t know what this world is coming to. Have we parent neglected to give our kids credit for what they have and might possibly achieve?

Is it television and computer being both a blessing and a curse?. Yes they are an excellent tool for education, but it also empties their minds, leaving them ready to be programmed with whatever spews out of the box.

Unfortunately, in most cases, that is violence, sex, and more violence. Combine this with the mind altering medications many kids are on these days, then you think of things like the Columbine Massacre, the DeKalb, Illinois shootings and the Virginia Tech massacre and now this Minnended rampage, and you have to wonder where we think we are headed with the youth of today.

But as a mother of teens, even when I harbor uncertainties and doubts about my kid’s ability to face the challenges of tomorrow, I know that they will be able to deal with it. I strongly believe that the more exposure they get to the harshness of the world, the more they begin to think about the right way to get things done for a better world. If we, during our time have figured it out, then so will our kids.

Sure, we may have pampered our kids as teenagers, but they will be getting a quick lesson in the hard side of economics and how the world really is a small place after all.

Of course, they will get kicked in the teeth just like everyone else. But they will pull themselves up by their boot straps and say: "Not this time, world. You can't beat me that easy". They will do what every generation of teenagers have done before them, simply because, thats the way life works. When they are ready, when the world is ready for them, they will be everything they need to be and more. I truly believe the Y generation will do great things, we just have to give them the chance.

And just like 2, 3, 4, or 5 decades ago, there will be ones who will make it and others who will be able to get by and still others who will be supported by the ones getting by and the ones who made it.

So parents, let's make sure that our kids have the right tools necessary to steer themselves in the right direction.

Mind warp in time.

I wasn't able to watch the 3rd season of the tv series "Heroes" so I was very pleased to find a compilation of the whole series in DVD. Of course, its pirated, duh!

Among the different characters there with supernatural powers, I like Hiro Nakamura as he can traverse time, visit the past or jump ahead to the future. Yes, time travel is a concept so fascinating that they grip my very mind, pulling at my imagination with relentless enthusiasm.

Just imagine the possibilities: I could revisit my childhood, or be at the front row of the Beatles concert, or get the winning lottery number in the future and bet on them in present time. Oh, so many possibilities...

But then logic tells me that time travel is impossible, because "time", as I know it, is an arbitrary measure assigned to the relationship between the sun and the earth, and the earth's rotation.

When we change our clocks back an hour with DST, do we instantly end up back where we were an hour before? No. When we travel across time zones, does our watch reset itself? No. See? time is an invented measure. Just as distance measures like meters or feet.

But, take gravity, it was present before humans could measure it. It exists. The same with light. Light exists on its own. Time only exists in the human mind, and that of us people who is dependent on the relationship of earth to the sun.

But its ok, the movie was meant to provide entertainment more than to educate a bored soul like me. I just wonder if I am entertaining you as well. Surely you could see from the title of the article what it was going to be like, you could have skipped past it, yet you all still read it.

So get your head out of your arses and stop whining...Poof, I am gone!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Going loony over blog.

Why do you blog?

At first you tell yourself you’re only doing it because you enjoy expressing your self and it is a great way to keep a journal. No one actually needs to read it!

You feel like you need to take your camera everywhere with you, and sometime wonder if you need to seek therapy already.

Then you started looking at other people’s blogs to get an idea of what they are doing. Of course you noticed that they are acquiring what are called Comments, and you wonder how you can get comments on your blog.

So you tell your relatives about your blog while reminding yourself that this is just for you. And parents and grandparents. Perhaps extended family, as well. Then you inform friends about it. You even Install Sitemeter into your account so you can see just how many hits a day you are getting (or not). Wonder again why it matters.

Then start a contest because that’s what the popular bloggers are doing. Watch your contest crash and burn. Wonder why it hurts so much. Wonder why it matters so much. Wonder why it makes it hard to breathe.

Start stalking blogs and wonder what you are doing wrong. Wonder if your contest would have done better if you were giving away something good. Like an Iphone.

Start saving for an Iphone.

Do more blog stalking (a must!). Notice that there are a lot of great blogs out there with really great writers. Feel mopey and blue without knowing why.

Finally admit to yourself that you want your blog to be read by everyone. On the planet. In the universe. Start making oh-so-witty and amusing comments on other blogs to draw attention to yourself.

Rejoice over your measly 30 hits per day. Tell yourself you are now too busy blogging to comment on the blogs of others. Watch your daily hits drop. Observe helplessly as your few regulars drop away, one by one, like flies in a jar of camphor.

Start plotting your revenge.

Sneak into the Sitemeter headquarters and attach yourself to the motherboard (you’ll figure it out when you get there).

Go out in a hail of fiery sparks but not before you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you are taking Sitemeter down with you.

Epilogue: Sitemeter is up and running a mere 24 hours later but you are dead. People all over the world mourn your loss even though they never heard of you or read your blog before your death. Your blog now gets 50,000 hits per day even though you haven’t posted anything new since your untimely demise. Your husband saves all the money the blog has made from ads and goes to Tahiti where he runs off with a beautiful native.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

On who's authority?

No matter who we are or what we have, we’re going to have to answer to some sort of higher power. And despite my position in the company, I always have to serve somebody higher than me. It’s tough to have to answer to anybody, but it’s one of those inevitable aspects of life we struggle to accept. In some cases, we are merely paying our dues, and in others we are going through the unavoidable. However, just because you have to answer to them, doesn’t mean we have to lose our dignity. Rather, we just have to learn how to deal with all the different types of authority.

In my country where corruption is rampant, there’s a thin line between a cop and a criminal. But that sole differentiation is a dangerous one as the cops got the law on their side. They can be irrational, they can abuse their power, but believe me you cannot beat them. The only thing you can do is smile and make nice. More often than not we’ll get out of more tickets complimenting the policeman on his shiny boots than we will by arguing our case for a non-existent traffic violation.

I don’t like having to give half of my income to the Bureau of Internal Revenue( IRS to you), that’s why I don’t. But you can’t cheat this authority figure for long. However, thanks to the generous loopholes offered by the Philippine government, I can legally deny this entity quite a bit of my income. I don’t get angry, I get smart. Ha, ha ,ha!

Unlike most authority figures, the boss is one who can easily be bypassed. There are only so many times you can grab your ankles and smile. If you’re having trouble with a boss who fails to appreciate the importance of a good employee, then simply find the other co-workers who share your frustration. Think of it as forming a micro-union. But then I am so thankful that my new boss is so much different from the previous one.

Like you, I have never seen a burning bush, and I never walked on water. But there’s still a part of me that thinks this authority figure is up there. And to be honest, although the atheists have a case, I don’t see the point in taking a chance. I am a Catholic and I adhere to my church teachings.

One of the most frequently overlooked authoritative body is that of our own. I know that sounds corny, but before you light the incense and get into a yoga position, hear me out. We can avoid answering to some of the higher powers that be, but we can’t avoid answering to ourselves. If you’re that type who treat friends and family like dirt, there’s going to come a point when you can’t stand the person you see in the mirror anymore. You can lie and make excuses for such behavior, but you might run into that ugly moment of self-reflection somewhere down the line.

Now, this is for my boys: I got the final say in everything you do, whether you're willing to accept it or not. I'll tell you what to wear, what to eat and who to date. You're all mama's boys at heart, and the only thing you can do is accept it. Every time I am being annoying, or overly controlling, refrain from whining. Remember, this is the woman who brought you into the world. And even though it takes two to tango, Mama’s the one who did all the legwork. So be good to me, take care of me and always remember: MAMA KNOWS BEST!

If only they haven't stopped reading my blog...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A must-learn for me.

Having lived in Asia, I grew up watching Chinese movies. Of course, the dubbing is funny and so are the accent, but then it's not the sound that excites us young viewers, but the actions - the flying, the kicks, the different karate styles, etc.

But with over a hundred martial arts movies I have watched, you would ask, have I ever learned a single technique on self defense?

Sad, but no, I havent. Although now I realize that it is never too late to learn a few techniques as violence is all over the spectrum, and it could happen to anyone. There is no age limit to it. Everyone of us can become a victim because the bad guys prey on weaker people. Although I could say that women are at a higher risk because women seem more vulnerable most of the time.

And besides crime can happen in any area too. In fact,there are no known crime areas, except maybe in Cleveland Ohio ( Imao, just joking Ray!), coz there are bad parts of every town that we go to. Crime can happen in a grocery parking lot or in a public toilet, or just about anywhere!

So ok, we try to assure our safety by moving into nicer areas and shopping in nicer malls and sending our kids to nicer schools but still that doesn't guarantee that crime is not going to happen. In fact, there is no exact time for criminals. They work when they feel like working.

I was told that in a real crime situation, an attack could be over within a few short seconds. And these seconds are filled with panic, chaos and confusion, and one won't have time to think at this point. Therefore, those flashy self defense moves in movies I have seen like flying kicks and acrobatic stunts while taking out 10 opponents simultaneously only look good on screen, but not in the reality of a violent attack.

So, woe to me, I don't know any of those self defense moves. So how will I survive when faced with such danger? What tool should I be carrying in my purse that I can use to defend myself? Gun is a no-no, and "chako" is heavy and big, and so is an escrima stick, Ray!

But I do know that the best self defense is not being there in the first place.

And the second-best self defense technique is to run.

When learning should be an absolute joy.

March...graduation time. Students are once again in the limelight. Especially those graduating with honors and or with special academic awards.

Now, before anybody goes off thinking that academics don't matter to me, let me say, that as a parent that isn't exactly the case. It isn't that I saw no reason for my boys to study because I knew an education is important.

What I never get, is the point of all this hullabaloo about getting THE grade.

I'm of that school of thought that knowledge can't really be graded. Well, knowledge of certain objective truths like in Math - those can be measured. But how to measure with a number the use of a simile, or making a pasta, or a creative design?

For one thing, I am also taken aback by how seriously some parents take this whole notion of education as a competition.

Of course, I see that the world is all competition. And even if we try not to compete, we cannot entirely avoid it. Sure, I can make sense of competition for a job, for a promotion, for client in business. But competition in education? I guess part of me is still in some fantasy world where education means learning and not getting the grade.

However some parent are so intent on having their kids do well in school they get tutors even while the kid is in the first grade and should instead be enjoying this thing once known as a childhood.

I even hear so many parents lament now that their kids spend so much time in front of a television watching cartoons. A complaint that's been around since they themselves were kids! I suppose they would be happier if their children spend their free time memorizing encyclopedia. Maybe they feel that would be normal.

Unfortunately, not all kids are created equal. In other words, there are some kids that even if you strap them to a chair and flash mathematical equation in front of them the whole day, they still won't get it.

And it's not because they are dumb. It's because each child has a special way of learning.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Technology without limit.

I know my beliefs are old school, kinda.

I believe that having children is a gift that comes with challenges, happiness, and disappointments. I also believe we are all GOD's children and we where made for his purpose, therefore we should not be trying to engineer children for our purpose, as this is a form of selfishness.

But scanning through the net today I stumbled upon an article, where a Los Angeles based fertility clinic says it is ready to deliver the world's first designer's baby. The technology, which relies on genetic screening processes, allows parents to choose the sex, eye color, skin tone, hair color, and other attributes of their newborn -- at a cost of $18,000.

I was mortified beyond belief! What has happened to people's virtues?!!

Damn, this is one small step towards complete altercation of humans in general. I don't know, but if you design the baby before it is born, it's like we are taking away the originality of that person. I guess its sort of like, they become a ''product'' and not a person created by their parents. They now become artificial in a sense of having chosen attributes, since they do not have the attributes that they were given naturally.

What is even more appalling is that though the clinic says that they can't guarantee a 100% success rate, many hopeful parents-to-be are reportedly queuing up for the privilege of eliminating serendipity from the birth process.

Phew, I can't wait for this to go all wrong and people end up with kids who have 2 heads or something like that or the practice gets sued because their baby didn't come out looking right.

Just imagine when one of the designer's baby end up looking like Michael Jackson. Who would want that for their kids, huh?

Is this even ethical? Tell me your views on this.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

When is saying "sorry" enough?

I’ll be blunt with this, but unforgiveness, hurts!

Ok, you may wonder who hurts, that’s a fair question, especially when those who hang unto their anger, bitterness, fear, or sorrow wouldn’t want to forgive hoping to hurt the offender by doing so.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that.

From my experience, being unable to forgive also hurts me and made me suffer for choosing not to forgive. Admittedly I have become obsessed with a hurt before. And I felt justified by clinging to it because I felt it was a big deal.

However, this experience also made me understand why some people can be “forgiveness challenged”. One reason could be because they want me to know how they felt with what happened and that by not forgiving me, they thought they are punishing me in some way. Another reason could be that they think the offense is so huge, and to them it feels too big to forgive.

Of course, I am just being candid here with my personal struggles. But for those who continue to mess with me and stab me in the back: maybe your reasons for unforgiveness are different than mine. But whatever they are, are they worth the destruction this can bring about in our lives?

I know that you are entitled to say whatever you want, but please don’t tell me I shouldn’t say this or think that or do this and not do that. I just don’t understand why you react negatively to everything you read, or hear. Maybe you’re missing the point while you are making negative comments and spending long hours defending your belief to friends and even strangers, for what? Whether you change your thinking or I change mine today, tomorrow, years from now, or never what does it really matter? The world will keep on spinning!

No one is perfect. For heaven’s sakes, no part of life is perfect. Relationships break down because we have never been taught skills on how to prevent resentment from destroying our good intentions. How many times do I need to say SORRY? Why does saying sorry not work? And why am I even apologizing to something which I feel was not my fault in the first place?

Look, at some point in our lives we can be wronged, betrayed, lied to or hurt by another. It is very difficult in this imperfect world full of imperfect people not to be on the receiving end of some injustice. I have been there before, and it sucks!

But by being unforgiving we are only holding on to the anger, resentment and a sense of betrayal. Being unforgiving we’re saying to ourselves “I am not going to let this event go and I am going to remain angry, bitter resentful and hurt". Being unforgiving does not change the past or hold back the person we don’t forgive, rather it is a self inflicted poison that can only lead to a more miserable life.

I am aware that forgiving someone who has deceived me can be extremely difficult, but after being faced with a deep and painful hurt, I just look deep in my heart and make a choice to forgive, to let go, to embrace and welcome the liberating power of forgiveness in my heart, mind and soul.

I hope you will find in your heart to forgive me too…

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

To snow or not to snow.

Having lived in a country where the sun is always shining, I have longed for snow.

As a kid, I have dreamed of burying myself in the snow and frolicking in it like those kids I saw in English movies. I so love the way those kids look when they’re bundled up in their little snowsuits. I envy too that they always have such beautiful rosy cheeks which is brought about by the frosty air. Of course, it is so much easier to breathe cold, crisp air than hot, heavy air!

Even in my adult life I had wished I am watching a snowfall through my window while sipping hot cocoa. I thought nothing could be cozier than sitting before a warm fire on a cold winter’s night. And I can think of lots of hot, hearty meals that would go great with cold weather. Indeed, I thought living through a cold climate would be a blast!

Until I had talked to people who had to endure it. They say that living through the winter season is a real challenge. Not only because one can be much more inclined to become arthritic, or be haunted by respiratory problems, bronchitis or pneumonia. But also because snow removal can be burdensome, and there are some health risks involved.

They say too that if the temperature dips too low, you have to be mindful of the possibility of frostbite. Chapped skin can also be an ongoing problem so one must be prepared with plenty of lip balm. Besides many layers of clothing can inhibit one's ability to move quickly - if need be. Another irritants is power outages which can be frequent and lengthy, therefore back-up plans are always necessary!

A friend claimed that if one is planning to travel, or are expecting guests, excessive snow can ruin any plan. They also said that one need to gauge the amount of time he/she will spend outdoors as prolonged exposure can be hazardous as extreme cold can pose other health hazards, especially for heart and respiratory patients.

Oh, I told myself I can handle all that. Even when I am small and not really cold tolerant, I told myself I can very well deal with such nuisances.

But then nothing prepared me with the other illness that comes with winter. From my chat with Sid I have learned that passing seasons change the habits and moods of people. During winter months, a gloominess which they call winter blues, February blahs, Holiday depression or doldrums is noted among people.

With the severest cases of this type of depression diagnosed as seasonal affective disorder(SAD). According to Sid, people who are inflicted with this illness tend to sleep more, is always tired, depressed, and feel physical aches.

Now wait a minute, that doesn't seem comforting! Will I thrive in this weather? Given the choice between slush and 20 degrees below zero... or sun and birds and flowers and sun and warmth and sun.... hmmmmm.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The essential "tabo".

In the news is a Filipino machinist working in a small Australian town who was fired from his job because he insisted of using a tabo( water dipper) when he use the office toilet. Most likely the man brought this with him to the loo so that after he relieved himself he can clean his "down-under" and I don't mean the geographical place.

There was an exchange of views though, as the Australian insisted that when in Australia, one must do things the Australian way - in other words, the dipper was taboo. But our feisty Filipino held his ground and lost his job. An uproar followed, and the trade union of machinists sides with my countrymen. The company however, eventually claimed the worker was being disciplined for having left his work without proper leave.

The Townsville incident relates to a hygienic function, the Filipino way: cleaning up after doing scatological duties, not just by dousing the rear with water but sometimes even soaping it, and after the cleaning, taking up another dipper of water to flush the toilet followed by still another dipper ritual to wash and soap the hands.

Now, you might ask, why can’t Filipinos make life simpler by using toilet paper? Simple. Because it has become an enduring habit incorporated into our bodies and our psyche. Many Filipinos, even upper-class ones, will insist that the dipper leaves them cleaner down there. And also because it’s more ecologically friendly than using moist wipes or toilet paper.

But please don’t think that this dipper and washing thing is a sign of barbarism or of the impoverished Third World. There are many cultures in the world that dislike toilet paper, which is why you have the bidet, a low-mounted plumbing fixture with nozzles to spray water for cleaning the bum.

When you think about it, the dipper is a low-tech, affordable version of the bidet that we call tabo or for young Filipinos growing up overseas - teboe.


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