Thursday, August 31, 2006


I haven’t written in a long time, and I miss writing. I truly do. But lately, things have been hoary, and jumbled, and I’m still trying to get back on my feet, re-assume responsibilities outside familial boundaries, trying to get my breath back. My heartbeat’s been steadying, from a thumpety-thumpety-thump to a thump-thump; my breath too. Now to assume responsibility once again, get my life back on track.

And as much as it is difficult to do, what with my [usually-but-very-changing/moody] affectionate and effusive nature, I’ve also realized not to divulge or take others too close, to stay them at arm’s reach, because getting too close leaves me open and vulnerable, too trusting, wide open for set-up, for abandonment. And it almost always happens: wherein I’m taken advantage of, mentally abused/subjugated/bullied, or abandoned. Just when I thought things would be peachy. No, no, no. And sometimes the good people who want to make a difference I drive away. Tsk, tsk; sigh. Sometimes...OK, maybe a lot of times, I tend to be a fool: foolish, foolhardy, fooled. At the same time, to those I drive away, I am the masked, the shrouded, the bluffer, shrouding myself in shame, in terror—of the gamble of uncertainty, of the terror of uncharted territory: for what if I am not, never enough?

And what if my life will be like this forever? What if the person I fall for doesn’t fall for me back? And if that happens, then in terrified self-preservative bitterness, I might choose to live alone, but still with the cobweb longing for someone to love, and to love me in return, but petrified of the if, preferring cold certainty to vulnerability, to hypothesis, to blind faith?

What if I make nothing out of my life, living in limbo, forever, scrimping like a miser, locked up in my house, banishing all enterprise, all possibility from my life, shrouded in darkness and dank and stagnant silence?

Do I even dare hope?

But hey, why should I even sweat over this, agonize over this? I mean, que cera, cera. Whatever is in store, what greets me around the corner, can just surprise me, and hopefully delight me.

Maybe, may be.

This ties up with a recent conversation I had with a friend on men. Ah: a favorite topic among females, regardless of age and marital status. Another friend [whom I had a falling out with, but that’s another story] said that based on the census, men are fewer than women. Add in the gay population and what’s a girl to do? What about standards, “quality control,” as my Mom and I call it? Then factor in the oft-unrealistic expectations men have of women: the whistle-bait figure but with dazzling wit and [pardon the word] “meaty” conversation topics: honey, more often than not, girls with such figures have almost just as much [or the lack of it] on their minds. Also, men won’t admit it, but from my paltry experience, they expect a simpering, damsel-in-distress, your-opinion-is-my-opinion kind of girl. Increasingly, with the rise in educated women, this has become less and less the case; invariably, there are less and less “vestal virgins” and “nurturers,” as well. The alpha, chauvinistic male, this side hidden in some, boasted of by others, but nevertheless is in each and every male, straight or not [I’m pretty sure], looks for that aspect of a woman. My friend and I agreed that this is an unfair imposition, what with “empowered” women on the rise nowadays. But perhaps as much as that alpha male mindset is in every male, maybe there is the vestal virgin/nurturer dichotomy in each and every female, as well. I admit to it: despite my fierce need for independence, I admit I want to have children and a spouse one day, with the yard to tend, the house to clean and wax and scrub, the dog to play, feed, and take long walks with. I want it all. But it has to be with one who understands and celebrates my contradictions, my full figure, my moods, my cerebral-but-usually-offbeat musings, and so on. So yes, we women have high standards to: we have much to offer, after all.

In light of this is something my aunt Oa challenged me to do, years ago, in the midst of my (then) teenage angst:

10 Things I Hate and Love About Myself*:

*I couldn't think up 5 I like about myself before, but, things do change! :D

-my full figure (esp. the hips!)
-my procrastinating nature/complacency
-my dependence on others (driver..)
-my tendency to hyperventilate
-my allergic reactions (sinusitis, asthma)
-my sense of responsibility
-my habitualness and apprehension when this is disrupted
-my (overly) sense of propriety
-my over-sensitivity to what others may think
-my aimlessness

-my luminous(?) eyes
-my calm nature
-my vegetarianism/compassion/sense of eco-harmony
-my passion
-my voice
-my ready smile
-my charm (if I want to use it)
-my (usual) ready wit
-my refinement
-my flexibility
*to which my friend Sidd added:
-my affection, my ability to light up her day (“you're a happy blob of sunshine, yes you are!”--Sidd)
-my grounded-ness, my fashion sense -->I like these two, hehe

Thanks, Oa. Thanks, Sidd.
Then there is the issue of the Guimaras oil spill. Recently, information from the Coast Guard has been such that the oil spill may spread to and invariably affect the coasts of Negros and Palawan, while already affecting the coast of Iloilo. As of now, it is still a case of whodunit, no one admitting to the catastrophe. Mr. John Silva is one of those who have called for the boycotting of Petron, as, if I’m not mistaken, it was Petron that was the oil company who contracted the service of the ship and thus the oil [spill]. This is a national calamity, and President Arroyo has been calling for international aid. From what I have read, Japan has responded to the call, with a meeting to be held today, I believe. Greenpeace, which to me is the primary environmental organization seeking to arrest this situation, has been concentrating massive efforts in helping arrest this situation, helping the local fisherfolk in relief efforts and so on. Pam Pastor of the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s 2BU section has been sounding the call for civic aid, citing urban locations as Reyes Salon branches sending human hair, which can supposedly be used in the clean-up efforts. Then there is the relief effort headed by Antonio Oposa Jr. to aid in the cleanup of the Visayas coastline. He is a staunch advocate for preservation of local marine life, and the oil spill is a major threat to these life forms: Guimaras was said to be a haven for dugong and pawikan, both extremely endangered species. Guimaras was also one of the islands with a pristine coastline and abundant natural resources, one of these being preservative/calburro-free mangoes. But what now? With our meager local sources, what with the majority tied up in pork barrel funds, Filipinos may lose yet another of its precious heritage sites. Ms. Pastor said in her article to take action, get moving, before it’s too late. Indeed, but hope dims daily. Still, the light must shine on, however dim.

Dark mists enshroud
wrap and
choke, choking
ever so slowly
draining the sunlight
his glowing
[he generously shared]
transforming into

But just
may be

his rays will break through
break away from

the dark encompassing
choke, choking
darkness mist fog

to shine
[take back]
warm and bright

once again.

For petitions to sign, here's one on behalf of the people of Guimaras and
another one from Greenpeace for a more far-reaching petition: renewable energy. Or how about writing poems for Guimaras? Press Release below:

San Agustin calls for poems to help save Guimaras

THE Fray Luis de Leon Creative Writing Institute at the Coordinating Center for Research and Publications of the University of San Agustin is calling all writers to submit poems to help save the islands of Guimaras province from the oil spill. Poems celebrating and lamenting the beauty of the beaches and the seas around Guimaras, and other sea wonders in the Philippines will be accepted to form an anthology with the working title, Poems for Guimaras, to be published by the University of San Agustin Publishing House. The poems may be written in English, Filipino, or any of the Philippine languages. Poems in the vernacular must be accompanied with English or Filipino translation. The anthology will be edited by award-winning poet John Iremil E. Teodoro. He will be assisted by a board of referees made up of nationally-acclaimed poets.

Submissions may be e-mailed to libroagustino@ or ph.
Manuscripts may also be sent to the anthology editor at UCRP, University of San Agustin, General Luna St., 5000 Iloilo City, Philippines. The deadline for submission is on January 15, 2007. The book will be launched in Naoway Island, Guimaras in April 2007. The royalties will go to the rehabilitation of the Guimaras province from the disastrous effects of the tragic oil spill.

The Fray Luis de Leon Creative Writing Institute is the only center of creative writing in the Visayas. It organizes the San Agustin Writers Workshop every summer, gives the annual Fray Luis de Leon Creative Writing Grants to Western Visayan writers, sponsors the yearly Fray Luis de Leon Creative Writing Lecture, and publishes the multi-lingual SanAg Literary Journal every November.

For inquiries please write/call:
Mr. John Iremil E. Teodoro
(033) 337-7716
Fray Luis de Leon Creative Writing Institute
University of San Agustin
5000 Iloilo City, Philippines
E-mail: ph / iremil@yahoo. com

Sunday, August 20, 2006

A Week-ender

What a way to end a week. =)

Last Friday was Ahma (my paternal Chinese grandmother)'s 71st birthday and the day after her release from the hospital. So cheers for that. During that dinner, Achi Carol also taught me the basics of Sudoku, and yes, it IS fun! *gasp--from non-Math major me!* It was also a hectic day for my stint as grad assistant: besides loads of paperwork, I was made to proctor a class! It was supposedly for a Basic English (non-credit) class, for a test they were to take, but then another teacher called for a sub(stitute), and this time it was for TWO classes, and "Regular" (credit status) English at that. The secretary and I worried and fussed, but finally were able to ask another teacher teaching Basic English, and teaching at a nearby room, to proctor the Basic English class in question, along with hers. Meanwhile, I was to take the Regular English classes. And I did. When I gave them the question, they were absolutely flummoxed, and dismayed. Needless to say, it was vague and sweeping, and VERY LACKING--as lacking as his attendance in class *frowns*. Poor kids. The bisexual in me found one particular girl in the first class attractive: she wasn't va-va-voom, but bookish, in a cute, worried way. [Stop it, Therese] I tried to help them, and be nice and got chalkdust all over my pants from writing and erasing, ick. And while I was proctoring, I was doing paperwork--so exhausting to multi-task x3 But despite this, I saw the kids' personalities shine through most especially. Heh, it must be the extreme stress of [insert teacher's name here]'s test. Oh well. Then they called me MA'AM. O_o What.the.heck. It was freaky, but it felt...exhilarating? At the same time, I began to feel more the heavy responsibility a teacher has over her students. I believe most kids would think being a teacher would mean bossing a class around, but that's only part of the equation: for there needs to be someone to lead for others to follow a certain way. Just the same can be said with students and teacher. However, both are essential, and must work in tandem, for either to flourish. Being a student is much easier than being a teacher--having to [usually] have all the answers, the grand plan, to the destination. But as much as it looks hard, and very unrewarding, what with the pittance of a salary, and demanding parents who think their kids are always on the right, or gossip-spreading students, and so on, I still would want to teach at some point in my life.

Then yesterday was GREAT: Had yoga in the morning--Christina taught, though I was disappointed my friend Tina wasn't there. However, I chatted up with someone new, called Vicky. She looks like she's in ad(vertising), but as much as she looks like the type A go-getter ad exec, she seems nice. Yoga boy wasn't there, too, but that didn't deter me from having a great practice! :D They're having a sale, too, so I'm thinking of buying a bigger class-card...which means not spending on anything else UNLESS absolutely needed :3 We'll see. Then there's the POWERPLANT VINTAGE BAZAAR, ongoing 'til today, that I went to. And I got kitschy stuff: gold Buddha bead-necklace (what my Dad calls my Shaolin necklace) metallic beady layering necklace, huge white-and-gold wooden cuff-bracelet, and a new transform-this-into-a-million-things hair/neck thing for BOTH heat and cold called Schizo Gear. Heh, the kikay in me clamored to be heard! Good thing Sayee told Ahma to give me PhP1k for "taking care of Ahma--managing everything," else my wallet would be crying now! xP Of course, monetary gain wasn't on the agenda, something my abuela knows and credits me for, and to which my Mom says, "You're a good kid." But hey, I'm not complaining. =D Incidentally, my aunt was a concessionaire in the bazaar, and I used her bag that day, so I was her "model," if even for a few hours, haha. And I think that she gave me that bag more than paid off with my "modeling:" She told my Mom so many people went to her booth to look for a similar bag xP Went with Mom and Dad to the factory to hear mass with them for a "lazier" Sunday, then after dinner, Mom and I watched The Witches of Eastwick. Of course, before dinner, Dad, being hungry and overstressed, was carping about EVERYTHING. Mom was getting pissed, and telling me so, but I'm pretty used to it. I just don't like it when he affects other people, blaming them, and so on--something he often does to me, causing me to break down into tears from all the negativity. But I was lucky: he didn't this time.

Today, so we thought, I mean, with mass out of the way, and nothing pressing to go to, it'd be more relaxing for Dad. Wrong: Angkong (my paternal grandfather) called early to inform Dad that Ahma's wound was bleeding! After a hasty breakfast, he rushed her to the ER. It turns out it was fat and blood oozing out (eew). Still: she goes up and down the stairs, despite having been newly-operated on, which she shouldn't do! So she caused all this on herself! *frowns, tosses head* Tsk, tsk. I wish she'd stay put, at least until she heals, not stretching herself! Now I bet she doesn't follow her soft diet. Aaaaargh. Whywhywhy!!!!!! BUT it was a shallow wound, so that was a relief. Afterwards, Mom, Dad, Mama Cez (my maternal, mestiza abuela) went to the El Cirkulo building along PasayArnaiz Road, to find it closed. However, there was this other restaurant called Tsukiji. And ohmyGOD, it serves VERY good Japanese food. I had all kinds of vegetable goodness, PLUS a green tea/redbean dessert afterwards enough that had me ready to die afterwards, swear to God. It was that good. PLUS we didn't smell (like one usually would after eating Japonais). I so want to go back. Mmm-mm-MMM.

Now, I'm readying to go stay with my grandfolks for some time, and this includes one of our helpers to keep me company. Then she half-protested, muttering "diet." Honest to GOD, I hate that word. I associate it with conscious-starvation, acquiesced-deprivation, with unreal body-images, hasty, short-term, unrealistic goals, and so on. Needless to say, I don't believe in it, and am totally against such a mindset. Why deprive yourself of what you want when you don't have to? That's just her excuse to not go, and stay with the other helpers here, just as that though she knows how to cook, when our cook is on leave for the day, she just cooks instant noodles for lunch(!empty calories, chemicals=bad!) because she doesn't want to be bothered to cook. What.the.hell. What about nutrition, sustenance, TASTE!?!?!?!?! But nope. She hides behind the flimsy excuse/term of "diet." So now, while I'm in school, I devised for her to go home so she doesn't have to "diet." Wow, talk about spoiled: the boss is making concessions for the helper?! Along the same vein, it's my abuela's birthday on the 28th, so our cook said, "So I don't need to cook for you anymore?" I said, yeah, but what about Sunday? And she replied, "Don't they have food over at your grandfolks'?" to which I replied that they just eat junk food. [Our helpers also see junk food as "diet" food, when it's actually the reverse, to nutrition-conscious folk like I know.] Then she said, "Well maybe you can just diet like them." And I affrontedly, crossly said NO! Again they just use it as an excuse, this time to appeal to my aesthetic self: for me to perhaps look better if I were slimmer, because I'll (a) eat less food, so (b) she'll cook less. But no, no, NO. I won't. Sure I'm not thin, but I don't think I'm totally fat. And it can bother me sometimes, but I won't "diet" for it. And it's not like they can't cook/prepare my food, which incidentally is easy-peasy to prepare [vegetables?!]; they're just lazy to. They're not doing much anything else. So why the hell NOT?! Dammit. My apologies for showing the bratty side of me that demands quality. But yes, I demand it. And quality=no diet, no shortcuts, no deprivation. Diet=shortchanging yourself on LIFE. HELLO: Diet=a short-term stop-gap. I believe in long-term, I believe in conscious choices [hence my vegetarianism: for my health, the animals and the environment]: choices I can CELEBRATE. And a diet just isn't it. Besides, I believe in living my life the way I want it, so there.

Now, I'm typing this from my Firefox browser, which I junked Apple's Safari for, and what the heck, it's slow: not only slow, but on-again-off-again connection! WTF. I think there's something wrong with PLDT DSL. And it's driving me batty.I moved closer to my DSL source, and it's working fine, actually WAY better than Safari. So I'm glad I'm a (Mozilla) Firefox user now! No regrets...yet xD

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Defining Perfection

The best thoughts can come while one is in the shower, as I myself was awhile ago. While sudsing away, I thought back of what my Dad had said, that my thighs are even bigger(!) than my Mom's, adding that she bequeathed me that particular gene of hers. I admit I have HUGE legs. And that it's not the ideal. But then again, not everyone has a "perfect/symmetrical" body (as in 36-24-36, as the saying goes for women). However, those we see in ads and magazines are usually these "perfect"-looking people. So sometimes I wish that they'd show us people with real bodies--with a little roll of flab here, some lines of cellulite there--all without airbrushing them out. However, as much as I am not alone in calling for more "real" bodies featured, neither is it a prime global call. For deep within all of us lies that aspiration for a personal peak, a personal ideal: to achieve a personal best. Our real bodies will thus not show perfection, and these "perfect" people will continue to grace billboards and flyers, magazines and the like. Then again, who dictated them to be the ideal? Wasn't there a period of time when fat was the ideal? In the end, it is still society who dictates how we think, act, and so on. And by seeing this, we're back to square one: it is a part of our consciousness, and thus already a seeming uphill battle with no end in sight. Perhaps, however, there is hope--in progeny, for a better, more accepting social view and consciousness. But we need not wait, maybe, but try to start now.

Brain Blanking, Roger and Out

So I attended my nth Bikram (aka hot) Yoga class today last night. I've been trying to be religious about it--twice a week since it's a bit far from home. And I feel fantastic. It's so past yoga boy now; it's well and truly marvy (marvelous): it's such an intensely cleansing, detoxifying experience--of the mind and the body. I just feel so at peace afterwards. This is a far cry from weightlifting, which I had used to do. I now find weightlifting too harsh and cold--partly because of the atmosphere, and too agressive and flashy. Yoga's all about personal commitment, and individual concentration--hell, I just want to do my pose correctly: I don't care about the person next to me, nor does he/she! So because of my absence from weightlifting, my gymtrainer's been moping, thinking it's him (though OK initially, I was pissed 'coz he'd dish out opinions like they were to be taken as Bible truth, like it's the ONLY opinion, the ONLY solution. Hmph.) But now, it's obviously NOT, plus hello, I've been caring for my grandma in the hospital, whom today I had released from the hopsital (complete with the paying and the clearing); grad assistant work which due to the looming PAASCU accreditation, has been frantic; LOTS of MA work; and now, rebounding asthma and a new bug: sinusitis. So yoga has been my oasis, also complementing my vegetarian, animal-hugging lifestyle, and encouraging the free spirit in me (helped by my now sleeping in my room, allowing me to lounge in a shirt, and nothing else, etc.). Mindless cardio helps with stress too. However, weights just brings out all the needless aggression and helplessness and frustration in me. So no thanks. Now if only he'd understand.

For the subject of this entry, I put a meme here from Kae. I tag whomever wants to take it--that includes Patty, 'coz she previously complained that no one tags her ;p
1. Name: Therese-Cecile Manalo Sua
2. Age/Birthday: 19 May
3. Single or Taken: Happily Alone
4. Favorite Movie: This is a hard one. I can't pick one off the top of my head, but maybe Kill Bill? I loved it!!!!!!
5. Favorite Song: Another hard one! Now it's Paula Cole's Tomorrow I Will Be Yours
6. Favorite Music Artist/s: The Cardigans, Dido, Coldplay, Ennio Moriccone, Annie Lennox, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Paula Cole, Vienna Teng (something and I share)
7. Favorite Book/Comic Book: Yet another hard one: there are too many! Maybe Clare Coss' The Arc of Love, though that's a poem anthology, and I only borrowed it. For graphic novels, however, it's got to be Gaiman's and Amano's Dreamhunters, which Jem had signed, something I'll never forget
8. Tattoos and/or Piercings: none, but I want Japanese-inspired art on my nape or right hip..or even that place just above the butt?
9. Favorite TV Show: Voyeur for what? On where? No teevee, but I love LJ
10. Favorite Video Game/Board Game: I am still a loyal fan of Neverwinter Nights, though I don't get to play anymore; on Gameboy, I used to play Pokémon, heehee
11. Do we know each other outside of Livejournal? How'd you know me? I knew you first through Janine and Myka, then we became Ph101&102 classmates, plus I'd sit in Lit127.1 with you and listen to Danton navel-gaze :3
12. Random Statement. Fee fie foe fum, I smell the sap of an English mum! (?!?!?!)...told you it's random.
13. Tell me one odd/interesting fact about you: I tend to literally stick my nose into almost everything--sniffing stuff, (especially hair--but that's another story) even when I shouldn't. Smell is a huge thing for me.
14. If you could change anything about your current life, would you? Hmm. Yeah--learn how to drive, and be allowed to, so I won't have to rely on a driver.
15. Will you post this so I can fill it out for you? I'll post it, but you'll fill it out???? I don't understand...*scratches scalp*

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Ode to (Nutritional) Yeast

Apart from eschewing animal flesh (including fish!), I avoid eggs, dairy, leather, silk, fur, HFCS (high fructose corn syrup)...but not so particular with honey and wool, and sometimes fish sauce, pearls and gelatin (living with omni gourmand parents), though I'm borderline with the latter three, so I'm not vegan...yet.

Apart from dairy cheese promoting cattle murder, et al., I am lactose-intolerant, so I get stomach pains and migraines and diarrhea and gas, to name a few effects.

Being from the Philippines, I thought I'd have to make do with no cheese, and so far, it's been OK.

Then Healthy Options, our local mega-healthfood store brought in Nutritional Yeast, and I was one of those who placed in an order. I was given a lax recipe of soymilk+mustard+margarine+nutritional yeast by a fellow community member over at Livejournal. Holy cow (pardon the phrase), it was orgasmic. I next tried it with fried tofu and Heinz Tabasco Ketchup, and it tasted like eggs without the murder. Mom looked at my "cheese sauce" with interest, and when she found out what it was, and that it was nutritious (um, "nutritional yeast" must be called that for something?)--especially high in B12, she was all for it. I mean, the recipes one can use with it are endless! A next one to try would be steamed broccoli and nutritional yeast. As she said, "So we're not limited to tofu anymore!" Um, I never was, Mom, but coming from an omni...fine. xP

Thus my first foray (and hopefully not my last) into Nutritional Yeast Heaven.



'Don we now our gay apparel'

By Isagani Cruz (*former Justice in the Supreme Court, NOT the playwright)
Last updated 02:14am (Mla time) 08/12/2006

Published on Page A10 of the August 12, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

HOMOSEXUALS before were mocked and derided, but now they are regarded with new-found respect and, in many cases, even treated as celebrities. Only recently, the more impressionable among our people wildly welcomed a group of entertainers whose main proud advertisement was that they were “queer." It seems that the present society has developed a new sense of values that have rejected our religious people's traditional ideas of propriety and morality on the pretext of being "modern"” and "broad-minded.”

The observations I will here make against homosexuals in general do not include the members of their group who have conducted themselves decorously, with proper regard not only for their own persons but also for the gay population in general. A number of our local couturiers, to take but one example, are less than manly but they have behaved in a reserved
and discreet manner unlike the vulgar members of the gay community who have degraded and scandalized it. I offer abject apologies to those blameless people I may unintentionally include in my not inclusive criticisms. They have my admiration and respect.

The change in the popular attitude toward homosexuals is not particular to the Philippines. It has become an international trend even in the so-called sophisticated regions with more liberal concepts than in our comparatively conservative society. Gay marriages have been legally recognized in a number of European countries and in some parts of the United States. Queer people -- that’s the sarcastic term for them -- have come out of the closet where before they carefully concealed their condition. The permissive belief now is that homosexuals belong to a separate third sex with equal rights as male and female persons instead of just an illicit in-between gender that is neither here nor there.

When I was studying in the Legarda Elementary School in Manila during the last 1930s, the big student population had only one, just one, homosexual. His name was Jose but we all called him Josefa. He was a quiet and friendly boy whom everybody liked to josh but not offensively. In the whole district of Sampaloc where I lived, there was only one homosexual who roamed the streets peddling "kalamay" and "puto” and other treats for snacks. He provided diversion to his genial customers and did not mind their familiar amiable teasing. I think he actually enjoyed being a "binabae" [effeminate].

The change came, I think, when an association of homos dirtied the beautiful tradition of the Santa Cruz de Mayo by parading their kind as the "sagalas” instead of the comely young maidens who should have been chosen to grace the procession. Instead of being outraged by the blasphemy, the watchers were amused and, I suppose, indirectly encouraged the fairies to project themselves. It must have been then that they realized that they were what they were, whether they liked it or not, and that the time for hiding their condition was over.

Now homosexuals are everywhere, coming at first in timorous and eventually alarming and audacious number. Beauty salons now are served mostly by gay attendants including effeminate bearded hairdressers to whom male barbers have lost many of their macho customers. Local shows have their share of “siyoke” [gay men], including actors like the one rejected by a beautiful wife in favor of a more masculine if less handsome partner. And, of course, there are lady-like directors who are probably the reason why every movie and TV drama must have the off-color "bading” [gay] or two to cheapen the proceedings.

And the schools are now fertile ground for the gay invasion. Walking along the University belt one day, I passed by a group of boys chattering among themselves, with one of them exclaiming seriously, "Aalis na ako. Magpapasuso pa ako!" ["I’m leaving. I still have to breastfeed!”] That pansy would have been mauled in the school where my five sons (all machos) studied during the ’70s when all the students were certifiably masculine. Now many of its pupils are gay, and I don't mean happy. I suppose they have been influenced by such shows as "Brokeback Mountain," our own "Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros” (both of which won awards), "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," and that talk program of Ellen Degeneres, an admitted lesbian.

Is our population getting to be predominantly pansy? Must we allow homosexuality to march unobstructed until we are converted into a nation of sexless persons without the virility of males and the grace of females but only an insipid mix of these diluted virtues? Let us be warned against the gay population, which is per se a compromise between the strong and the weak and therefore only somewhat and not the absolute of either of the two qualities. Be alert lest the Philippine flag be made of delicate lace and adorned with embroidered frills.

My (tentative) reply:

Dear Mr. Cruz:


Sir, I'm afraid to say that as much as you make a "disclaimer" comment early on, about respecting some gays and so on, its validity seems to have been obliterated by the rest of your statement.

The way you have formed an irate statement against gays is similar to how the Americans saw Filipinos as "little brown monkeys," barring the President and people in power, of course (but are we sure they didn't think of them the same way within closed doors?) Your statement's tone and message can be likened to the way Americans saw African-Americans in the succeeding years of their Reform Movement (think Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr.), or even how the Spanish saw Chinese traders as they eventually took over commerce in the Philippines. Your statement reeks of the same tone, I am sorry to say. For in the end, Sir, it just boils down to respect--for our individual quirks, our individual differences.

As you said early on, there are decorous gay members of society. Neither were we "little brown monkeys;" I believe you will agree to that. And such analogies can go on--but always debunking the dominant view, who had formed that view on feelings of being threatened to be overcome. Such seems to be the case here, as well. But don't you see, the "little brown monkeys" did not want to dominate the Americans, but to live in peaceful co-existence, with different boundaries that may sometimes peaceably overlap. The same case can now be applied to heterosexuals and homosexuals. Homosexuals are built of the same stuff heterosexual members of society are, too, only with different tastes and predilections. That doesn't authorize persecution. For as much as there are differing races--even within our own Filipino culture--so too are there different forms of sexuality, converging into one big being. For as much as we should be all one people--one global community, so too are we of different sexualities coverging into one giant [sexuality]. We all have different forms of expression. Such differences have enabled us to grow as a species, as a culture. Homosexuality is a part of this equation. There should thus be no reason to condemn it.

I hope this puts things at a better perspective for you--a better worldview, with more respect and tolerance. Thank you for your time.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

People as Arms

In light of the recent bomb threat in the UK, airlines the world over have tightened security measures. United Airlines has issued the new measures here.

Yes, aircraft passengers can no longer bring cologne, alcohol, even toothpaste and lip balm, for crying out loud. I heard there was one particularly stringent occasion when a book wasn't allowed. Now I hear carry-on luggage might not be allowed, as well. What about passenger rights--people who pay to ride, mind you? What if our teeth form cavities, or our lips crack from the cold, stale air? The consequences of those mayhem-lovers go on and on. Admittedly, these airline measures are safety precautions for our betterment. But in protecting us, they are stifling us more.

It seems to me that in causing these measures to be effected against us civilians, these mayhem-loving terrorists are now using us as their weapons against the dominant institution/s, in this case, the First World countries, more specifically the US. It's sort of becoming an attempt at parricide, brother against brother, only different ideologies form a gulf between them, between us and the radicals.

I can't help but link this to the war in Iraq. And this tension now sort of feels like a prequel, a last step before Cambodia in the throes of Pol Pot's regime, or because of this seeming stand-off, the Vietnam War (with the US, which though the latter had superior fire-power and wealth, the former won) The US has no proof that the Iraq war should continue. Perhaps this is the bone of contention the fundamentalists want to settle [with the US]. For innocent lives are being continually lost--as in the Lebanese-Israeli war right now, as well. So they fight back, using innocent civilians, as well, thus my quasi-analogizing this to the Pol Pot regime.

In the meantime, it is us civilians who suffer, who bear the brunt of their actions--of both opposing sides. Then again, that's why it's a matter of concern: because many are affected. And that's how it always seems to be. Now I feel it to be a chicken-and-egg argument: this will never end, because this already seems to be part of the human psyche.

Nevertheless, I do wish it'd stop. In spite of this seeming futility, I still believe in hope--for a better tomorrow, for a change in psyche, of not seeing people as objects/pawns--the more, the merrier, but instead see them as different and unique individuals.

How I wish that morrow would come in my lifetime.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

busy busy busy

Whatta day. So last Friday, after GA (grad assistant) work and crammed research, then a horrific two-hour traffic wait, preventing me from attending Bikram yoga, over the (hospital) telephone, Angkong finally allowed to have the operation done to Amah, after realizing that YES, the stones will return to block more ducts, and YES, next time can be even WORSE. After persuading him, and talking to the doctor, and asking for Diko (Auntie Carmen, his sister)'s support, he caved, as Mims liked to say. All this time, I was also corresponding with Sir Jonathan as my number was still with him and he needed me to contact the others that he would be absent the next day, though the deadline for the paper was still tomorrow. So I complied, texting the others--or at least those whose numbers I knew! Then I sped through the pre-operation process, arranging the formalities with the nurses, the cashier, the interns, the chief doctor, and relaying all this to my folks through my low-batt mobile, because the hospital phone was acting up. Then Diko and Achi Carol came, took me out for dinner at Pho Hoa (which has a nice revamped menu, by the way!) and brought me home--at 11:30, leaving me with little, precious time to do my various requirements. I tried...'til about 4:40, upon which I promptly succumbed to slumber, promising to wake at 5. Hah. Like that ever happened: I woke at 7:30!!!! Eeeek! But I was too tired to rush. So I left at around 9, being too late for Danny's class, choosing to cut (as I heard he was in a nasty mood--I have to apologize to him on Monday for doing this! :-s), instead getting my requested articles from the microform area, and getting ready for my Sidney presentation. The presentation....floundered, or maybe (hopefully?) not: Perhaps Dr. Lu was just really preoccupied. Who wouldn't be: her son is convalescing in UST! Then rushed to do Jonathan's paper, and squeezed a small lunch-snack in between. By the time I was done--5 pm--I was utterly drained. I then called the hospital to check on Amah, if she had already returned from the operation slated at 2 pm today, but my cousin Marco told me she's still in the Recovery Room. When Remus fetched me at 6, I thought to comfort myself with finishing the NBS coupons Mom gave me that were set to expire by Sept.15. And hey: NBS is having a SALE! 'Til the end of the month! Powerbooks too! But anyway. After some tired scrounging, I found Pullman's HDM Book 3--selling at PhP 392. I had PhP's 330 worth of coupons, so I only shelled out PhP 62! On to Starbucks, and hey, luckylucky: they had one last PINK liter-tumbler--the solution to my water shortage, I hope, and my current one to be set up as a "contingency." By the time all this was done, I was just floating. 'Tis a good thing I just rode and slept. When I got home, I could barely see straight: no cardio tonight, I guess. Slept 'til dinnertime (about near midnight), and caught up with my folks, which is almost always nice. But then, hehe, I was wide awake 'til 7 am, writing and surfing on the "Innernets," as Dubya calls it ;)

I'm hoping to go to this place after grad school, referred by a NYT article on Ayurveda: They offer Hatha Yoga and Ayurveda classes!
Then there's a place to be a volunteer and be close to animals, and not WWF, which promotes animal testing! :-s

As a consumer, I am currently going nuts over clothes from Lululemon (usually for yoga, hehe). Eeek. I can't wait for the next shipment to arrive at Aura, the store they sell to here! Can't wait can't wait!:

-Reverse Groove Short
-Curved Rib Lulu Pant
-Globe Trot Jacket

Hopefully Aura will come out with them!!!!!


I'm thinking of switching from Nokia to Motorola. Looking at the Motorola Maxx.

Or should I just stay and go user-friendly Nokia, but heavy on $$$ and save for the Nokia N71?

Sigh; I'll wait 'til December, or try to. Perhaps things will be clearer by then (and I'll have more $$$$ also, I hope!)

Hmm. I like my newfound hairstyle of pigtails: my hair's neater, and it still leaves my scalp flat for Savasana and sit-up poses in (Bikram) yoga--though it does make me look more like a kid than I already do! ;) I also like going around bra-less at home, being quite the liberating experience (envies flat-chested girls who can go out bra-less). But my tummy's all fat and gross just now: I'm hoping it's only PMS :(

Okay okay: Just heard LUSH has a buy one take one promo. And I need my fresh soap, hopefully with exfoliant & moisturizing properties! I'll be giving that a look later while Mom goes gaga over Prada and whatnot, after we visit Amah in the hospital. Hopefully, she's better. Yey. :)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Obedience is a Virtue

All this stress and responsibility....

To put it mildly: dammit.

I don't know. Maybe I'm just tired? But really: sometimes, just sometimes, I want to take a break from being the responsible daughter/granddaughter, having to shoulder the responsibility my parents are given at times in familial matters. Last time it was my grandfather being confined in the hospital and I having to stay with him in the midst of preparations for thesis defense, oral exams and a written exam. Crapola. So of course my exams suffered, me blanking out totally in one of them. Hot damn, I can still remember that. And now my grandmother needs to be brought to the hospital tomorrow because she was diagnosed with pancreatitis. And I was tasked with bringing her admitting her and staying the entire day-and-almost-entire-night with her. Again. I normally wouldn't mind, really, but I had already practically spent the entire midmorning-to-afternoon with her (result: I lunched at 3:30 pm), running around the hospital for her ease, losing valuable study/research/reading time today. And I have to do it again tomorrow. OK, so I know the doctor, and vice versa. Still...!!!! Argh, such obtrusions make me sometimes want to tear my hair out.

***I mean, why can't my aunt and her kids take care of her/their parents/grandparents, instead of it being me/us all the time too? The last time with my grandfather in the hospital, they'd come, sure, like twice or thrice in the entire duration of his confinement, and only to eat, then leave afterwards Why don't they heat his food and feed him, monitor his IV fluids and talk with the nurses, truly watch over him as I did?. As if that weren't bad enough, they'd bill him for the food they ate! So where's the "service" in that?!

But I'll do it of course I'll do it: 'coz who else will?. The Confucian ethic has been too deeply ingrained in me as it is, being the only child of the firstborn son (and only child of a male child, so far). So yes, in this Oriental side of me, I have no choice but to obey. Besides, the obsessive-compulsive streak in me--wherein things done have to be done right, or not at all--rears its great head. So there you go.

But the Western influence in me, with its consumeristic, self-centered ideals--rebels. But this insurgence must be quelched, and I must submit, once again.

--This must seem like such a childish sentiment, but I assure you, it is real: I have my own hopes and dreams, after all.

To each and everything its own time, I guess, is something I still have to learn and appreciate. Point taken, then: lesson in progress.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A Tenuous Relationship

Hurtful words
hateful, angry words
blaming incidentals
on the innocent.
prescription of
a bitter pill
to be imbibed
when necessary.

-I love my Dad; I really do. Heck, I know I'm lucky I even have a Dad! But there are days when he can just be too much. Today was one of them. My point is, if he's in a funk, he doesn't include others who have nothing to do with it into that funk. Other people don't have to feel miserable, don't have to be stressed, just because he is. It's not that I don't care, but I figure, why stress over something unavoidable (like traffic)? And cursing the air blue, thickening the air with tension, won't clear the traffic up. Nor is the traffic jam MY fault. Hello?!

So I cried--out of indignation, out of outrage, out of incredulity, out of hurt. And unlike others who feel relieved after a crying jag, I just felt funky, wretched and plain exhausted--exactly why I hate it when I cry (which consequently isn't often). I cried in the car. I cried again when I spoke to my Mom in the English Department (it's a good thing it was a Tuesday: hardly anyone save Ate Jo and Ate Rack...(and Dr. Vilches in her office) were there! Ohmigoodness, how mortifying! But shit happens. So I just plunged myself into work. Later, even my grandma called to commiserate! (I assure you, this is real life!) She told me just to bless the offender in my mind. How Christian. Ah well. ;) So there. I just followed Mom's advice, which was to just "offer it to God as my good deed for the day." Well, so I didn't follow it as she said it, but as the poem above says, I [am just to] swallow the bitter pill. I listened to my music, took a short nap, and breathed it all OUT.

As I said, shit happens. But we get up and move on. And yoga has helped me so much to deal with such events. I just breathe a bit and try to move past it. How I wish my Dad could imbibe even a little of that.