Monday, August 30, 2004

What are little girls made of?

What are little boys made of?
What are little boys made of?
Frogs and snails, And puppy-dogs' tails;
That's what little boys are made of.

What are little girls made of?
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice, and all that's nice;
That's what little girls are made of.

--An old nursery rhyme

It's pretty obvious that girls are made of sugar and spice (and maybe just a bit of cattiness), but little boys are made of frogs and snails? No wonder most of them have to act like the dominant, better sex.

When do you see these men (little boys?) at their worst? When they're driving. Especially when they drive stinking, crumbling buses along EDSA trying to cut off the other driver of another bus because he had encompassed the whole lane picking up passengers.

Of course, women may have their occasional shouting matches with the claws all out (the inherent cattiness in them), but these man have to take the cake for pure and simple animal emotions and instinct. When they're threatened, they have to take drastic action: they corner and pounce on their prey until there's no going back. There's no puppy-tail wagging with the tongue hanging out; that only happens when they're in front of their women.

And women? When are they at their worst?
Their worst?
We're perfect, silly.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Acting Poor?

The country, that is. Angel is worrying about the country's current fiscal crisis and the contrast between the superrich and the piss-poor (I don't mean this in a bad way.). She relates that a relatively unknown pro-basketball player's salary is worth PHP320,000 a month, while a staff nurse's pay is PHP 7,000, and she's been working in one of the better hospitals for two years.

Like Conrado de Quiros said, he can understand why our doctors, nurses, and other professionals seek greener pastures abroad for the gross lack of opportunities here, but he can't applaud the decision either.

For most Filipinos, he went on, is it a choice between poverty, or lifestyle? Between the latest SUV or a Sarao? Between a split-level home, or a simple bungalow?

Markus (in a comment to Angel's post) replied that by just looking at the many Filipinos in Glorietta and Greenbelt, one is bound to feel better about himself/herself. And image-wise, he has a point. How many times have Mike and I noticed what Markus noticed? How can you reconcile a country that is threatened by a severe financial crises when the malls are always full?

Easy. You spend on credit.

And the troubling corollary to that is, credit is all what most people have left. And when that's gone, then bankruptcy looms.

Parents know that their children are bound to imitate some of their characteristics. So when the government is saddled with massive foreign and local debt and yet keeps on spending, whose lead are the people going to follow?

Acting Rich, more like it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Office Idiosyncrasies.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the people of my good office. To protect myself against incriminating characteristics, names have been changed. All in good fun, of course.

Barok, Head Honcho. He was a champion ping-pong player during his high school years, but the total opposite in badminton. The one time he played, his wife started looking for another partner. He was so bad, he said, he started throwing the shuttlecock over the net.

Ferdie, Head IT Guy. His favorite station? 90.7, Love Radio. And he only chooses it with passengers in his car. Kelangan pa bang i-memorize yan?

Mon, Operations. He likes to run over slow-moving people crossing the streets and swerving over to the sidewalk, while laughing, swearing, and using sound effects at the same time. All in his imagination, of course. Rakrakan na!

Vid, Country Manager. Purveyor of the corniest jokes possible in this side of the planet. His most recent entry: Extra Joss, kung kulang sa religion. Leaving for South Africa on Friday.

Bakla, Software Engineer. During Vid's despedida, she gamely posed for modeling photos shot by Vid's good friend/photographer. She is also an endangered species.

Lasalista, Marketing. A beautiful girl with unusual characteristics. Once, she poked a karpintero in his stomach using a plastic bag (the one used for softdrinks) with a straw. She poked and screamed at him so hard, he had to ward off her jabs. Binastos kasi siya eh.

Jen, Content. Whenever she wears spag-strapped blouses, she always seems to bear the brunt of rude jokes. Once, while waiting for a ride, an FX slowed down and flashed the sign "L" (the universal sign for LOSER) at her repeatedly. She got so angry that she flashed, well, the middle finger at him and said, "Screw you!" Whereupon the driver rolled down his window and replied, "Mam, Landmark ho yung sinisignal ko." She apologized profusely.

Now aren't they interesting? They're loads of fun.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Suggestions, suggestions...

It's my parent's 28th wedding anniversary tomorrow, and they're not celebrating.
You see, we're having our roof repaired right now and it's taken most of their cash, and now they can't go out. My mom told me they were supposed to go for an overnight stay at the Westin Philippine Plaza, but now they've had to scrap that idea.

I won't be having cash until next week, but I have thought of giving them:

A. an overnight voucher at the Westin or some other place nearby when my salary comes in. With free condoms.
B. a box of Gonuts Donuts?
C. Mom: jewelry. Tay: A new wallet.
D. Mom: beauty essentials. Tay: A new, erm, wallet?
E. Some snazzy poetry, courtesy of moi.

Please have better suggestions for me, before I start pulling my hair out of its roots.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Life stories.

It is 9.15 pm, and a woman gets on the bus. She is on the heavy side, but manages to give off the impression of being imposing, yet unapologetically feminine.
"O, you sit there and you sit there," she says to her companions in her urbane accent.
For the first 15 minutes she is quiet. Then she spots an acquaintance getting on the bus and she calls out to him.
"Uy, long time no see ----!" she exclaims, half-rising from her seat in excitement.
"Oo nga eh," ---- replies, getting into some seats behind her. "Kumusta na?"
"Heto, okay naman," she answers. She shifts in her seat and tries to find a comfortable position.
"Ngayon ka lang uwi?"
"Oo nga eh, kasi nag overtime ako sa office," she answers. "Pero okay lang."
Silence for the next few minutes.
"Yung anak mo, kamusta naman?" asks ----.
"Ah, okay naman siya, grade four na siya," she replies with a smile.
"Babae ba tong anak mo?" ---- inquires.
"Oo, nag-iisa nga lang eh," she says with a laugh.
Silence again. The bus is old and rickety and has a faintly metallic smell to it.
The woman shifts in her seat once more.
---- mentions something inaudible, but the woman changes the topic.
"Alam mo bang hiwalay na kami ni Monchi?" she states matter-of-factly.
"Ah talaga?" ---- responds.
"Oo, nine years na nga kami hiwalay eh," she goes on, her tone neutral.
"Separated kami, pero ayaw niya akong bigyan ng divorce eh. Gusto niya magpa-US citizen muna ako," she continues, her voice hanging in the air.
---- 's "bakit naman?" response is fairly muted. The bus is creaky. The strains of a song, "ang halik mo, namimiss ko" is heard in the background.
"Ayaw niya talaga eh. Sa New York siya ngayon nagwo-work. Eh bago pa ako magiging citizen, kailangan five years muna ako tumira dun. Ano na ako, 40 na pag kinasal ako uli?" she says, with a hint of outrage and humor.
She is silent for a couple of minutes.
"Gusto mong malaman kung ba't kami naghiwalay? Dahil sa babae din!" she exclaims.
"May girlfriend ba siya ngayon?" inquires ----.
"Actually, oo. Nasa Pampanga. Uy, kinaibigan ko yun ha!" she skilfully parries. "Wala lang talaga sakin yun. Inadvisan ko rin. Sinasabihan ko 'Si Monchi, madaling magalit yan, so eto na lang gawin mo' etc," the woman shares.
The bus takes a sharp left turn, and enters into Roxas Boulevard.
The convesation stops for a minute.
"Uy, dapat magkita tayo uli ha," says ----. "Nagbago na ba number mo?"
"Oo naman, dapat lang," she replies, readying her things. "Ganun pa rin number ko."
The bus slows down; the traffic light is red.
"Sige ha, bababa na ako. Bye!" the woman says.
She walks down the aisle, steadily. She steps down into the night once more.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

In a hundred different languages.

Love, they say, is universal.
Consider the many ways in which to say I love you.

Irish - Taim i' ngra leat
Romanian - Te iubesc
Ukrainian - Ya tebe kahayu
Moroccan - Ana moajaba bik
Navaho - Ayor anosh'ni
Lithuanian - Tave myliu
Inuit - Negligevapse
Hindi - Hum Tumhe Pyar Karte hae
Indonesian - Saya cinta padamu
Danish - Jeg Elsker Dig

And somewhere in the lands of Manila, this is how you say I love you.

Pandacan- Syota na kita!

Something amusing courtesy of this blogger.

Undone.

Sometimes, when old friends drift apart, you feel powerless, old, cast away.
And when you don't even know why they go away, it makes you hurt and worried.
Then they come back, if only for a little while, and things seem right again.
But the world is a stage, and we are its actors, and actors hide behind masks.
So when you strip the actors of its masks, we don't have anything left, and the person you thought you once knew is gone.
You feel empty inside.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

If on a winter's night...

Italy's foremost novella writer, Italo Calvino, was found to have had a passionate correspondence with a married woman, would you feel surprised?

Yes.

Two questions. First, is nothing sacred anymore? And secondly, must memories of writers (James Joyce comes to mind) be always stained with erotic letters and sexual fantasies for everyone to see? I'm sure it's for nothing but titter value, and so far it's working.

Case in point:
In one letter, written before their affair was consummated, the retiring Calvino told De' Giorgi: "I desire you so much that the first time I take you in my arms I think I'll tear you to pieces, rip off your clothes, roll on top of you, do anything to give vent to this infinite desire to kiss you, hold you, possess you." (from the same article)
Calvino is known for his 'measured writing', not erotica. He weaved stories about little boy barons vowing to never step on land again (Baron in the Trees), about stories melding into one after the other (If On A Winter's Night A Traveler), nonexistent knights and cloven viscounts, among countless others.

What is the value of publishing his personal letters to his lover, if nothing? It'd be a shame if that is what Calvino will be ultimately remembered for, writing lusty and impassioned letters instead of the novellas that bear his name.

The freedom to criticize religions.

These days, one can't mouth off quite as easily for fear that s/he may be called racist, close-minded, or living in the Dark Ages.

In her most recent column at The Guardian, Polly Toynbee writes of her fears that 'atheists, feminists, and anti-racists' might not be able to criticize certain aspects of Islam simply because the UK government wants to make incitement to religious hatred a crime. This proposal primarily deals with two 'warring' religions, Islam and Christianity.

Because there's been so much media devoted to Islam and Muslims today, in my view there's a growing opinion of people who think that they've been undeservedly persecuted due to terrorists using their religion as a front for their political concerns and gripes.

Have we been lulled into thinking that because of our sense of fair play, we automatically assume that everything being said and written about Muslims is wrong?

In a sense, it is, for no one in their right mind would assume such a sweeping generalization.

But because of it, have we forgotten the more bloody sides of Islam, which is to wage 'war' against all their enemies? It is written in Koran, the Holy Book of Islam. Granted, there are verses that speak of peace (Islam itself means peace), but what will happen if a budding terrorist takes these verses into his own understanding and slaughters innocents? It's the same for the Bible, which has its share of violence as well.

This is precisely why Toynbee is arguing that the Koran and the Bible should be excluded from the incitment to religious anger proposal, should it ever be passed.

She is also correct in saying that the 'deformed branch' of Islam, the one that fosters terrorists, is that which ought to be criticized.

We must accept the fundamental right to criticize religions without being labelled as racist.

Welcome.

All good things must come to an end. I can't explain further than that.

If you want to read through my old entries, go here.

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