Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Floating Letters

Dear whoever-you-might-be, my all time best friend and crime partner,

MA! Hahaha. Sure you won’t be able to read this, because (1) you’ve got BAD eyesight and (2) you don’t care about the computer and all its “craps”. Maybe I’ll say this to you in person sometime in the future, you just have to wait for that tremendous drama. Anyway, I just want to say I’m still up to continue our crimes! *smirk* No matter how crazy I may seem, I’m still going to be you superhero. You know that, and I promise that, though you’ve been my super-duper-megalicious-extraordinary-heroine all this time. I guess I cannot help but get a little cheesy here again, but I do love you! We often snort at each other when topics like this were put on the air, but it’s true. Take a good care of your health.. Errrr, I may close this part with a quote from Stephenie Meyer’s NEW MOON: “I’ll do everything I can, but I’ll appreciate a little help.” Very well said.

Dear whoever-you-might be, always-standing-there-for-US-no-matter-what-happens,

I’m not going to keep my recipient anonymous: dadsie. You may not read this, knowing how you abhor the very site called Friendster because you cannot get me AND/OR my sister to dinner during weekends. But just the same, I want to say I appreciate whatever you’re doing for us. Maybe I’m not at best when showing my gratitude, but I love you more than anyone. You’re the only man in the world I love this MUCH. I have my lapses in exposing my care for you, and I’m sorry for not being very showy. I guess you’ll know that, anyway. I just think I’m good at hiding things, but everyone’s actions seem to say I’m otherwise. You also notice that?

You yourself try to be subtle in your own feelings for us children, but you unconsciously produce BIG holes where your emotions spill out. Mother knows that, and she feels that. But I won’t deny you have your own lapses—though, those lapses were overlapped by everything you give to us. How can anyone be so kind? You’re the coolest guy around. And if ever you DO read this, please expect me to hide under the blankets ‘till you decide to drive your way—–away to your work in Tarlac. It’s the corniest piece I’ve written for you. I’m cheesy by nature, anyway (the books are the culprits!). And I take that after YOU. Ha-ha. Please take care! Even if you’re miles away from me tonight, please know that I’m praying for your safety. I love you. *smooch*

Dear whoever-you-might-be, the most mischievous pixie-like creature to ever roam…our house,

Well it’s you, sizzzlingster. Hahah. One piece of advice: keep on being the dangerous creature I know. And since I’m 101% certain you’ll not read this entry *and even if a miracle occur and you DO read this, I doubt you’re going to get at this part, since lots of reading intimidate you that easy*, I’m not going to be very corny, like my letters to mom and dad. Stay as fierce as you are, and don’t forget to study well, and don’t indulge yourself too much in Jonas Brothers, and don’t forget to wash the dishes when it’s finally your turn, and don’t forget to put your shoe rags in plastic bags before cramming them in your bag, and don’t forget to set your alarm clock so that we won’t make another round of blaming contest in the morning, and don’t forget where your portion of the bed is because it kind of pisses me off when you sprawl in my ‘territory’, and don’t forget all of what I’m saying, flashing your innocent look and that all-too-annoying, “ano ulit?” Oh well. Knowing you, you won’t obey a single word from me. But still….I heart you! You’re the best damn thing next to annoyance. *smirks* Kill me.

Dear whoever-you-might-be, keeping on pulling at my optimistic side,

Whether you’re expecting a DSLR camera, musing over a funny children’s show character, cuddling a new bunny, celebrating over 15,000php kickback or preparing for a busy modeling career in Bangkok, I just want you to know that you’ve been a good circle to me. Thank you. I’m doing all the best that I can so that I can stay with you. All will fall into their respective places, and no matter what the outcome, I know it’s God’s will. I might be the worst pessimist in this universe (just check out my previous blog entry), but I think I can take after Pollyanna as much as I can. Thank you very much, from the bottom of my little charred heart (boo-hoo!). I love you all! Thank you for everything.

Dear whoever-you-might-be, er—you MIGHT be. Yeah, you. Whatever.

Uh, hi! Keep smiling.

Dear whoever-you-might-be, the best and most rockin’ lassie in the punk world,

I know you’re doing well and that you’re very happy right now. You’re getting what you deserve gradually. Honestly, I missed you so much! We still DO talk over the internet, but I want to see you again in person. I love you, bettttch. You still have me if you have problems, though I doubt you’d run to me, since it was always ME who ran to you when I’ve got a problem. Sorry for being the klutz that I was, the reckless person you’ve come to know. FAVOR! Give me one virtual big hug! I love you. You’re like a sister to me. You’re now painting your great fairy tale. Have your happy ending, and consider me a part of the story when you’re still not encountering your fairy god mother. Please be safe!

Dear whoever-you-might-be, the person whom I trust very well and I will continue to love,

Of course you know who you are. A dear confidant, a very intelligent person, an understanding co-dreamer. Thanks! Even if I haven’t seen you in a long time now, I still feel you like you’re just here beside me. And oh, thank you for those words you say were ‘subtle’, though they ripped right through my thorax and stung my heart *sniff*. Well. I just miss you, that’s what I’m trying to say. And oh, I know you’re going to be okay, like what you’ve said. You’re one of the strongest people who barged into my life. And well, thank you for tolerating my psychotic side, about the angels we talked about and how beautiful their wings were, about trading our own distorted views of the world, about the bittersweetness we learned to keep in each other’s lockers. Just one favor: please let me worry about you. I know you could make yourself alright without help from anyone, but I’d love to help you in the best way I know. Keep in touch, sis!

Dear whoever-you-might-be, the same lazy high school buddy I’ve always known from giddy-hood,

HEY! I know that even if I say I’ve got a portion of you in one of my entries, you’d still decide not to look at it. I couldn’t imagine someone else THAT lazy! Anyway, as long as I know that you haven’t forgotten me, I am ok. Though, I’m still going to talk as if you’re going to read this. I missed the funny times we have together, those times you shed your held-in emotions to me, those times when we helped each other and sometimes mock each other. I just missed you WHOLLY! *hug* I hope you’re just doing well. I still have a few sources from NTC and PLM about you. YEAH, I’m keeping track of what you’re doing, hunny. Stalker? hell, like I’ll stalk anyone like you. PEACE! Please be safe, that’s all!

Dear whoever-you-might-be, you little creatures I met online, people who despite talking with digitized technology still managed to build true and bizarre friendship,

Who else? Thank you guys for keeping the bridge strong. I used to believe that online friendship were some sort of crap, but that belief changed after I met you guys here: this little sweet thing I called my popsicle, her best friend whom I share my venom with, their Indonesian friend who I can always talk to in the wee small hours of the day, their gorgeous part-Japanese, part-Chinese, part-Filipino kid friend, some more dark creatures who wanted so badly to own the perfect guy Edward Cullen, and recently a smart Murakami-addict who talks a lot like Bob Ong. You’ve got one-of-a-kind personalities that I won’t find anywhere else. I don’t make friends online just to pass time; I do that because I want to reach out to people who may want to reach out to me as well, who may want to write memories with true people connected by the modern science. Keep it stronger, and let the circle go tighter. I wish you all the best in your lives outside our digital world.

Dear whoever-you-might-be, still up at two in the morning and typing these dead letters of sorts,

Oh well. Why you’re still up? Still bored? There’s nothing left to do now but enjoy the rest of the sembreak, but how about some sleep? You could finish all those PULP back issues on some other day, and you could download songs the whole year. Just sleep NOW. You notice how big you’re eyebags were already? Umm.. how about your fuzzy mind right now? And what the heck crossed your mind to stop this entry for a while……….hey you’re back, after frying some bacon and scrapping cold rice from the pot?! Breakfast two hours after midnight?! Hey you’re crazy! You’d get FATTER, silly! Er. Whatever. You’ve got problems? You’ve got a lot of people you can run to, like the ones you wrote letters to, the ones above this letter, and the one just ABOVE. He knows what’s the best for you.

And hey? What’s with that mischievous thought? Hey wait———-

Not-so-dear whoever-you-might-be, the gremlin who keeps on squeezing into my world for me to notice your hate notes,

How about a trip to hell and back? Ah, no, ignore the ‘back’ part. Just stay where you belong.*

*I can be extremely mean when I like to.



Monday, October 13, 2008

Race between Hesitant Heartbeats and Ticking Clocks

The clock’s second hand will catch us.
Like it always does.

It’s going to be my final day of my first semester as a sophomore tomorrow. You may think I am just wasting my time here typing this entry (mainly because the finals exams ARE NOT yet over and I ought to be reviewing my notes—shucks, it’s Sociology-Anthropology!!!), but I think these wasted minutes here are worth, well, reading. For future purposes.. to remember how foolish I am to prioritize blogs over exams. Pshaw.

Oh well. My semester has been great—the original thirty-plus members of the A104 now have depleted into ten Journalism students. Fear swept over me upon learning of our small number at the start of the semester, for the course might get dissolved. Fortunately, it does not— even if it looks absurd to have a world-renowned media practitioner and professor to sit inside the circle of ten journalism newbies (actually, attendance sheets were often numbered up to five only, since the other five intermittently attends the subject) like we were in a picnic of sorts. XD

The semester was crammed up to the brim with new experiences that only college life could give us. We took up our first major subjects—News writing and sports writing, with the *ahem* personality I just talked about earlier, Mr. Guillermo Santos. He was a great professor, and he fully understood how we procrastinate in his subjects *bad students!* He was extremely patient, for I know how irritating it was to have students like us. XD. Under sir Gil, I managed to set foot in Destiny Channel studio and watched a live episode of sir Gil’s talk show. I remembered getting too occupied with what we were going to do there that when the time to go home came I realized that I don’t actually know how to get home. XD I took a cab with one of my classmates and I safely managed to get home *and without any interrogations, as my mother has finally fallen asleep when I arrived*.

Another awe-inspiring professor, Ms. Renalyn Valdez, “resurrected” to create a sequel to her communications subject with us. I loved her subject, seriously, and I was a bit sad that the semester has ended that soon. I would surely miss how we imbibe the lessons on the theories and how we apply those theories in our lives, I would miss the pressure we felt in the essay-type exams that was the unique Ma’am-Ren-style, I would miss the days of funny activities, the furtive camera shots we took when the atmosphere got too soporific… One particular memory would keep on pulsating in my mind for a long time, I know: the time when I, Mamu Kit, Debbie, and Kianah invaded a small space outside Starbucks to make our journal entries, at intervals inserting jokes and sipping our Frappe. XD That was a remarkable day.

This sem is remarkable in my lame sports history. We got to have bowling for P.E., and it was exciting! Yeah, I admit I’m not really good at it (with every ball lofted or thrown into the canal) but I enjoyed playing it. Professor Victoria Banzon was a rather friendly teacher. Chatting with her is more like chatting with a friend

Then there enter Ma’am Consolacion Sauco, who like Ma’am Ren came to teach us again, with Philippine Literature this time. I’ve got a bunch of genuine classmates in this minor subject. Most of them were HRM students and they loved to mock our professor by shrieking “number one!!”, whenever Ma’am Sauco would talk about her achievements. And of course, would I ever forget the day when she got infuriated with me when I allegedly laughed hard that it irritated her? No way. And for final defense, seriously, I DIDN’T laugh hard. I just smirked *bang*.

And speaking of the professors who ‘came back’, let’s put Professor Dindo Danganan in the roster. He’s back to teach Broadcast Journalism. His subject was a dead ringer of his last, and this sent us a little irritated. We didn’t even have the chance to get full service from the MAClab!! Anyway, it was in his subject that we first made our first documentary about a radio station and our very own petite news show. Though that doesn't necessarily equate to the wasted P1,500 paid for the lab services.

Moving on… I didn’t mean to always look forward on Tuesdays and Fridays like there haven’t any other Tuesdays and Fridays that passed my life, but I felt like it. This has many reasons: first, it was the day of the Writing in the Discipline subject. I like English. In Professor Josephine Galicha’s subject, I, together with two co-journalism students and a taekwondo jin, produced our very first college baby thesis. It was about the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle, and we were able to interview one of those who lived to tell about the tale of the said mystery—Mr. Bruce Gernon (Time out! I am planning to post a separate blog entry about him, by the way). Her class was okay, but I took note that more students here were more interested in talking to each other than listening to our professor. Her surname was often punned to “Galit cha”, loose Tagalog equivalents of the words “she’s angry” *AND to avoid plagiarism, I acknowledge Ms. Kianah Amil for coining the terms*.

In the process of making our paper, our Sociology-Anthropology professor, Mr. Nestor Velasco, helped in giving us almost all the necessary things we need. That was very kind of him; he was in fact very kind to everyone. There were times that he felt his kindness was ‘abused’, and those times were the moments where his life stories would come out to either inspire or bug us (at some level, for there are stories that were repeated and repeated and he didn’t seem to notice that he was actually repeating them). But his kindness was undisputed. He was generous and considerate. He would be happy, I know, whatever path he might take in his life. God knew who the real kind people were, and He will make them happy. XD

I’m growing up and sooner or later I know I will be leaving this college, too. For now, I will enjoy my stay here, with all those people I have mentioned above. The memories that swirled in this electronic page and in the gutters of my head will stay forever—and EVER.

And with these ending lines, I say THANK YOU to everyone for this semester. I felt really great, and no matter how hard my hesitant heartbeats race with the ticking of the clock, the second hand will always catch us to get us back to reality. Like it always does.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Maganac Corps: OFW's in the Arab Kingdom

Thirteen years ago, there was a Japanese mecha-themed series that featured an Arabian private group of forty guerillas. They were called the Maguanac Corps, whose members were all gestated in test-tubes due to problems of natural pregnancy in outer space (the series was set in a modern era called After Colony or AC when Space colonies were established outside the Earth Sphere and were capable of sustaining life).

They were by no means major characters, but they stamped an ineradicable mark in my head, and well, heart.

The name of the paramilitary group, Maguanac, was derived from the Tagalog word “Mag-anak”, which means family. After a few researches about why the Japanese creators came up with this, I learned that that our Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW’s) were not only renowned in our country as heroes, but also in other neighboring countries—and possibly even around the world, since the show was aired in almost every corner of the planet after it gained huge audiences in the United States.

The most famous ‘heroes’ were the OFW’s in Saudi Arabia, as it seems, thus the name of the Middle Eastern group in the show. The camaraderie between the Arabians and the Filipinos were also known internationally. In the show, the group was backing up a fifteen-year-old Arab in his fight against oppressors.

I noted that the Filipino trademark ‘close family ties’ was globally known, too, as was shown in the series. All of the forty members of the circle were test-tube babies but they treat themselves with pride as though they were born normally; they live as one family, supporting and loving each other unconditionally even though they were never really connected by blood. This was a flattering truth, but I would like to emphasize that this fact was just a trivia and was not entirely the center of my blog entry.

The underscore was on what was happening to the Filipinos in the Arab Kingdom.

Last October 14, an overseas Filipino worker was executed after the Appellate Court and Supreme Judicial Council of Saudi Arabia affirmed the OFW’s death sentence. Jenifer Bidoya, also known as Venancio Ladion, was convicted of murder of a Saudi national. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo wrote two letters to King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud in December 2007 and July 2008, requesting clemency, but the family of the victim pushed for ‘quisas’ or appropriate penalty.

In June 2007, another Filipino, Reynaldo Cortez, was also beheaded in the same country after he was convicted of murdering a taxi driver who allegedly tried to sexually assault him.

In July of the same year, three of seven Filipinos were meted the death sentence by a Saudi court for killing their three compatriots whose bodies were dismembered and found in Southern Jeddah in 2006.

The list went on like an exaggerated roster of criminals I remembered laughing at when I watched it from a kiddie cartoon. But honestly, there was nothing in this situation was funny at all.

One day, I found myself grimacing at a TV commercial (and a conspicuously premature political campaign for the 2010 presidential elections by a well-off senator) about the stories of the rescued OFW’s. The narrator of that commercial was lazily annoying, and it somewhat added to my chagrin. Violence against women was something that always gets on my nerves and it sets my mood almost on the verge of irrationality. What was happening? Where was the almost-perfect image of the Arab-Filipino camaraderie–or the non-blood family ties they shared as it was shown in the thirteen-year-old series I mentioned above? It could be argued that the series was fictional, but the creators themselves said that the said characters were molded after the real relationship of Arabs and Filipinos. Moreover, you could never make something like that if it has no basis for reality.

Going back to the murder tales, I never really know when the list started, whether it was even more than thirteen years ago or less than a decade ago. No matter how old it was, it made an impression to me that the world once knew that everything was all right long, long ago. It was almost sickening, in my opinion, how the government repeatedly takes actions to save the OFW’s who were precariously near the mouth of death. I did look to the other side of the story to weigh everything, and the stories no normal person could barely stomach were, at an angle (if not at EVERY ANGLE), unforgivable. That rings a bell: An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. When you take a life, you must send a kind of payment in the form of life too.

I am by no means a traitor; I’m still a Filipino, but even if I would be in the shoes of the family members of a convicted OFW, I would just leave it all to God. God would forgive, that was unquestionable—but how about the family left by the murdered? I heard about self-defense tales, abuse stories (to a high extent I did sympathize about these especially about women), inescapable tortures that led to murder…But let us widen the range of our perspective—aren’t the Arabians humans too? Whether they were killed intentionally or not, they did still have life. They breathe. They have families. Why should we put the law in our own hands? Sure there would be a way—God, or whom the Arab people call their Allah, would make a way for these crimes to be brought to justice. We have no authority for the precious thing called life.

God is the judge. Let destiny roll in His own will.

Then, there were still stories about the Arabian victim’s family pardoning the murderer—saved OFW’s. That would be a relief for the nation, and I was somehow left dumbfounded at the divine power that a few people could give nowadays. I guess that would be it: FORGIVENESS. Probably the most deific act in human history that could change one or thousands of life. It was sad that it was in the nature of humans to slowly— so, so slowly grow up to know the meaning of true forgiveness. And as a human myself, I wouldn’t paint white whiter. It takes me time to forgive, but when I do, the burden locked in my chest would be suddenly removed.

So to end the entry here, I would leave a silent wish (with a flurry shower of imaginary dandelion seeds! Wee!) that the Maguanac Corps image would somehow float back after being drowned by years of dark tales. I hope it would be sooner.


(BTW, the Japanese series I was talking about was Shin Kidousenki Gundam Wing. :D)