Dead but not gone

I was trying to make sense of what is happening right now with almost everyone glorifying Cory Aquino’s life. What I find sad about it all is it just doesn’t seem to sink in to me. No offense, but since then I just knew Cory as probably a good mother but a weak leader.

For the first time, yesterday while I was on my way to school I tuned in to an AM station (630) mainly to check on how the traffic is doing since I’ll be passing by somewhere near Manila. That time I already conditioned my mind that I’ll be in for a long drive so I was never in a hurry and readied myself to give the reason why I’m late in class – traffic.

Driving in moderate speed starting from Cavite, I was able to listen intently to the radio host say a lot of good things about Cory. And with her describing how people (students, employees) are getting out of their building just to meet the convoy that was carrying Cory’s coffin made me reflect what these people see in her that I don’t.

On TV, over radio, in the newspapers, on the streets and even on Twitter and facebook, the number of people pouring their support while she was still in the hospital and grief over her death says it all – they see Cory as very good person. She was so good that some people even called for her proclamation as a saint. Hmmm. But wether or not she deserves to be one, I now think that a multitude of people all over the nation and even abroad can’t be that wrong or just be influenced by the the media coverage (and social networking sites) to take this chance to wear or carry anything that’s yellow.

Now I guess, I just have to concede that I was wrong, disrespectful and insensitive. I just hope however that whatever inspirations and influences she had left to all these people who flocked the streets, braved the erratic rains and sun’s heat to see her for the last time won’t get buried along with her. And as I’ve mentioned on my recent blog, that hopefully this time we will sustain (can’t stress this word enough) the unity that most of us have once again shown and that we won’t put to waste the unselfish love, sacrifice and patriotism that both Cory and Ninoy have imparted to all of us. Both are now dead, but hopefully not gone. May they rest in peace.

***

 

Just barely a year ago, I wrote this a blog with this title: Heroes Wanted: Dead or Alive. It was my own tribute to the iamninoy.com campaign wherein I promised myself that this year I’ll make my vote count – on top of trying to be a good citizen of this country. Well, I already had myself registered for next year’s election. Next step (and the hardest) is to make an informed choice and not just rely on what is being shown on TV. As my professor in TSLEADER (he is by the way a loyal supporter and friend of the Aquinos and have stayed most of the time with Cory’s family during her last ordeal) have lectured before, what we actually need now in this country is adaptive change. According to him such change isn’t easy, but the way I see and understand it, it is the way to go if we want to move on for good. And so whoever can offer it, and show he’s sincere about it, he’ll get my vote.

 

 

Mood: 3/10 Honks (killing time while waiting for my articles for editorial abstracting to be downloaded)

Sleepless pessimist

Can’t sleep.

Maybe it’s the mug of Peets coffee I had brought along with me in anticipation of a jam-packed road to Roxas Boulevard on my way to school.

Maybe it’s the another cup of brewed coffee I took in preparation for a long drive home.

Maybe, just maybe, because once again I find myself in a situation where the chances of me being called a fart-vent (for the lack of a better word) by most people nowadays is highly likely.

Or maybe, I’d just finish this glass of milk then put myself to sleep hoping that tomorrow, after August 5, a month after August 5 or better yet years after that, we will indeed be one and that we won’t just limit ourselves to bearing the ubiquitous color that can now be seen all over the place.

Let’s make their legacy prevail…and this time, let it be real.

 

 

 

Mood: 4/10 Honks! (sleepiness is finally coming)

Filipino cliches

“If you can’t beat them…make fun of them.” – me

 

Today I went to a nearby LTO office to have my motorcycle registered for the first time (it will turn just a year-old this August) and as usual I heard another not so surprising one-liner that it should have been made as this government office’s motto: “paumanhin sa lahat, meron lang tayong system slow down (our apologies but we have a system slow down).”

I’ve been hearing a lot of it for years since I started dealing (i.e., driver’s license, vehicle registration renewal) with them that such statement has become as predictable as sunrise (also a cliche). So instead of getting frustrated about the whole thing while standing still and staring blankly at the “efficiency” of LTO’s personnel, I tried to keep myself calm and composed and instead recall other amusing one-liners from different people. Here are some of them:

Sorry for the inconvenience” – DPWH, Maynilad, MWSS (usually seen on the same area but different time of the year due to poor planning and coordination)

P 1 – ihi, P 5 – dumi” – supposedly free public toilets.

Para sa kapakanan ng masa (for the poor people)” – Presidentiables and other politicians.

Paano yan sir?…” – Kotong cops after pulling over a motorist.

Mani, mani…mainit-init pa, bagong luto” – Peanut vendors (whose peanuts are obviously burnt after countless times of re-heat).

Nakainom ako, pero konti lang.” – Drunk drivers after a road mishap.

Hindi naman masagwa ang kuha.” – Wholesome-turned-sexy actresses justifying their adult magazine pictorials.

And the last but my all-time favorite:

Kumabyos ang preno, di umabot (brakes slipped, didn’t stopped on time)” – Public utility vehicle driver involved in a car crash.

How about you, any favorite one-liners? I’d love to read them.

***

I’ll be back this afternoon to claim my motorcycle registration renewal. I hope the LTO’s system is already up and running.

 

Mood: 3/10 Honks!

Love congress. Hate videoke.

How do you spot a Filipino among the crowd? He is staring at your mic.” – Russel Peters

 

Hallelujah! It’s an unlikely declaration but I’m now among the thousands of Filipinos rejoicing right now after watching the evening news. At last something sensible came out of the Philippine congress when one of those we used to tag as pork-barrel-hungry-politician finally proposed a bill to ban the videoke and other noise pollution sources.

I’ve blogged about it for a number of times already. In fact, I mentioned about it once again yesterday. Every time I hear one from afar or worse coming straight out from a neighbor’s house, I freak out; it always test my patience and tolerance and often times I can’t help but curse whoever invented it…including the one holding the mic. Now, my hope and wish for banning this ubiquitous gadget is at least coming to reality. Although to be honest, I never expected that redemption will come from our government’s legislative body; I’ve got used to seeing them bickering about anything but for the common good. At least, they’re now working (but why do I have this feeling that election time is just around the corner).

Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not for the full annihilation (the best word I can get) of this infamous musical box. On the contrary, I’d like to have it retained but under several conditions since I know a lot of people and friends who can sing with it fairly well. And as much as I hate to accept it or agree with most of its supporters, parties will indeed have that uncomfortable void without it. That’s because most of us Filipinos have this penchant to sing; unfortunately, even those who can’t even produce a decent tune. This love of singing has made the videoke become a necessary party tool and it is loved by everyone from all walks of life: from the hotels to the very unlikely corner of the slum areas, one will find this iconic box whether one likes it or not. And this is when I think the problem begins. It is all about location, location, location.

Alcohol and videoke does mix. At least if done in resorts...and if this picture doesnt get through your wifes facebook.

Alcohol and videoke does mix. At least if done in resorts...and hopefully this picture doesn't get through your wife's facebook.

 

I haven’t listened intently to the news about it as I was almost in nirvana the moment I heard its introduction. I actually thought for a moment if I was dreaming about it. But yes, one congressman finally opened his ears and listened to the rising sentiments against the videoke. This musical box composed of a monitor, player, microphone and an array of large speakers is now very much available that one can even rent it for Php 500 (USD 11) and can already torture his unfortunate neighbors for 24 hours. It’s times like this that I can’t help but compare the videoke to a gun – in the wrong hands it just can do unnecessary damage. So just imagine how many peace loving people cheered (and kneeled) when they heard the proposal to ban it.

Last week, I heard the head of the senate proposing to have additional congressman. I was among those who reacted, “What the….?” But hey, what if it was part of the plan to have more pork-barrel-hungry-politician to back up the videoke regulation bill? Well, if that’s the case, get more of them now, feed them pork and I won’t even care…as long as they pass this bill soon.

***

I can’t get enough about this videoke thing that I actually have some wild ideas to control it (which I made up just yesterday after hearing our neighbors desperate covers):

  1. Like driving, possession or rental of a videoke should be licensed. Those applying should undergo test in front of demeaning judges like they do in the American Idol.
  2. Testing will include sobriety test. But this time instead of testing if the applicant is drunk, here he will be required to drink alcohol. And if the applicant shrieks once he/she hits the high note, he/she automatically is rejected and will have to retake the exam after a year.
  3. Homeowners association should not allow any parties with a videoke.
    1. In case a homeowner insists to have one, he/she will be required to soundproof his/her house and that singing will be strictly done indoors;
    2. His/her neighbor in turn will be given a 24 hour gun permit-to-carry with a clause that allows him to fire at will if soundproofing is breached and ignored.
  4. Makers of the videoke will be required to have a stringent scoring software installed. It should sense a bad singer even just midway of the song. If the singer incurs two successive low scores it will automatically disable the whole machine. In case of attempts to enable it, the videoke will dial the nearest police desk for immediate arrest.
  5. Makers of the videoke should include a remote control which will be distributed to all neighbors within the 50 meter radius where the party is being held. Each neighbor can then anonymously push a button to score the singer. Each remote control however should have a mandatory shut off button – in case one gets tired of scoring and have decided to have an uninterrupted sleep instead.

***

Happy singing everyone…but please sing responsibly!

 

 

Mood: 2/10 Honks!

Valor for sale

Photo by: CheriGaulke

Photo by: CheriGaulke

One of this week’s news struck me a bit. It is about the payment for our Filipino war veterans. I’m not an expert nor have I followed every development regarding this issue. However, I’ve heard about it for years already and I’m troubled every time this news reaches me.

Like every other Filipinos, I knew one person who was a veteran of the World War II – my lolo Jose. When I was a kid – and even until now – the thought of him fighting in the front lines during the war always makes me proud. I used to brag about him while I was in grade school as if I was the only one with a veteran grandfather in the class. That admiration grew more when I matured enough to understand further what it takes to be in a war, be able to survive it and more importantly, win it. So needless to say, I remember him every time I see the living bemedalled veterans on TV. And whenever I see images of aged, wrinkled and frail Filipino veterans I always feel sad about their current plight.

But despite my compassion for them whom we all consider as heroes, I can’t help but wonder why others are demanding payment for their services during the war. What I find more irritating and disappointing is that some won’t even accept the lump sum coming from the recently approved stimulus plan by the new US President Obama because they think that they deserve more in the form of a monthly pension. I’ve also read somewhere that the reason why some of our veterans are so intent on being paid is because it was promised to them during the war – thus, they defended the nation and helped the Americans in the process. But isn’t it the same as what mercenaries do? Or isn’t this simply implying that their valor is for sale?

I actually would like to think that I’m misinformed here, and am willing to stand corrected if someone can shed light why our veterans deserve to be given a pension. But then again I’m just basing my opinion on what I’ve been hearing and reading from the news. So either I’m plainly wrong or some individual or group is exploiting our veterans’ situation just to make money out of it. I’m just hoping (and would like to believe) though that what the tri-media are trying to relay here isn’t the collective stand of our beloved lolos (and lolas) who really dedicated their own lives in true service of our country and its allies even without being paid – and that to me is a real hero worth bragging for.

Rest in peace, lolo.

 

Photo credit: CheriGaulke’s Flickr

 

 

Mood: 3/10 Honks!

Bloody Bisaya

 

I have forgotten all about this issue that has created another stir among “majority” of the Filipinos led supposedly by our nationalistic and caring brethren here and abroad. But just as I was about stretching my yet sleepy self out of bed I heard it from the news again.

This is about the discrimination issue being raised when a comedy show somewhere in Europe featured a maid being made to perform an indecent act in front of his British master. This short scene once again made it to our national news; both print and broadcast. Everyone jumped in the bandwagon like ants smelling an open sugar container. Everyone called foul. And once again everyone called for an apology from the British.

This news is not new though. The recent one I can recall was when actress Teri Hatcher’s character made a remark questioning the credentials of Filipino doctors during one of the Desperate Housewife episodes. This one too angered “all” Filipinos. Some even rallied behind to have the show and Teri Hatcher banned here in the Philippines. Of course, do I need to mention that an apology was demanded from Teri Hatcher?

News such as this is like an irritating itch to me. I hate it but I’m amused with it as well. Why? Because most of us are quick to point out discrimination coming from foreigners but have totally forgotten that it has been actually happening here in our country. We’ve stereotyped people coming from the provinces and treated some with less respect.

If someone speaks with thick Visayan accent, most will call them Dong. I learned from a friend that this is an insult especially if used in Cebu – also a Visayan province. And not only that, most shows portray their household drivers, maids or sidekicks as Bisaya. We enjoy seeing them being slapped in both comedy and the dreaded telenovela shows. To everyone, having a thick Visayan accent is synonymous to being illiterate or ignorant. How rude.

So what are we going to do with it? I’m from Bacolod where most will immediately call one coming from there as Bisaya. Should I demand then an apology from the rest of the fair skinned, fluent Tagalog-speaking Filipino? Should I waste my time and effort to get my message across? Unfortunately, I just did. To tell you frankly, I don’t give a damn. Hence, unless we get our acts together here in treating the rest of our countrymen fairly, let’s not be surprised and stop feeling discriminated if foreign shows brand us as cooks, janitors, gasoline attendants, dog-eaters, fake doctors, fake nurses and illiterate sexy maids. Live with it.

 What do you think? Please vote.

 

(This is my first poll in my blog. Another cool wordpress feature.)

***

Here’s what I read from yesterday’s Francis J. Kong article that made me relate it to my subject matter:

From the Albany Journal, 1890 comes this material…A true Christian never looks down on anybody, and yet this habit of looking down on the less fortunate acquaintances is common enough to make the following advice given by the Albany Journal to its young readers, very timely:

“Don’t look down on a boy because he wears shabby clothes; when Edison, the inventor first entered Boston, he wore a pair of yellow breeches in the depth of winter.

“Don’t look down on a boy because his home is plain and unpretending; Abraham Lincoln’s early home was a log cabin.

“Don’t look down on a boy because of the ignorance of his parents; Shakespeare, the world’s poet, was the son of a man who was unable to write his own name.

“Don’t look down on anyone; not just because some day they may outstrip you in the race of life, but because it is neither kind, nor right, nor Christian.”

***

Did you know that?

Recently I discovered some fascinating facts:

*There’s a book in the bible called Job. (from my mother who sent me a personal message for my Playing With God blog)

*A man named Expeditus did exist. And guess what, he is the now the saint for people with urgent cases. (seen among the statues inside the humid Dasmarinas church)

Step in their shoes

We call them stupid, litterbugs, lazy, morons, dumb, a**hole and any other profanity that may not be even found in the dictionary. Sometimes we call them just insensitive. But aren’t we?

This week is one of the stressful weeks for me. Stress that comes from all sort of factors that even I wonder if I should be caring about it in the first place.

There’s the pressure from work that is a mixture of delivery and people management.  People who seems not to work and doesn’t understand what is expected from them.

There’s the tricycle driver who drives like as if there’s no tomorrow and would be so willing to include you in their death wish.

There’s the jeepney driver who would intentionally park in front of a No Park Zone to spend time to wait for passengers despite knowingly causing a traffic jam right behind them.  And the irony of it all is that it is in front of a traffic police or enforcer who looks like they have a worst case of cataract that blinds them of the on-going violation in front of them.

There’s the homeowners who refuse to pay their dues because they feel they’re not obligated to do so and who would sometimes reason out that they have problems with their finances but you’d find them smoking packs of cigarettes a day and would see their house lit brightly from Christmas lights and decors.

There’s the loan processor who doesn’t seem to extend a bit of customer care by giving advice to the applicant that his car loan application is sitting stagnant in his inbox for quite some time due to the lack of one simple signature.

And there are the street scavengers who would open up garbage bags and throw away its content in search of recyclables and never even caring to fix it back creating an eye sore in the end.

Sheesh.  The list could go on.

So today, while on a day-off I keep reflecting what must have gone wrong for me to suffer such stress. I can’t find any reason except that I too have been busy or that I could have been too self-centered or that I lack the empathy.

Most likely it’s my lack of empathy. Merriam-Webster defines empathy as, “noun, the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another.”

Ouch! I never knew Merriam-Webster could inflict such pain with its definition. I only experience such guilt during mass’ homilies. Understanding. Being aware of. Being sensitive to. Such words kept playing in mind just as caffeine would do to my bloodstream. It kept me awake, restless and uneasy.

Well, I have come up to some realization on my “stress list” above.

Just imagine not having eaten for quite a while and the only hope you’ve got is to pick and sell items at the junk shop in order for you to take your first meal after a couple of days. And with the other man inside the bus hating you just because you to failed to keep the street clean.

Imagine if you have to juggle payroll, separation payments and loan applications. Some wants their last pay and another one badly wants a new car.

Imagine if you have got a “really” sick kid at home and the only way to buy those medicines is to work double time by either driving a tricycle or a jeepney and optimize its capacity even with the risk of getting apprehended by a police officer. And one of your passengers is just thinking of traffic laws and having to get to the mall to kill time.

Sometimes the world would be such better place if we stop thinking just all about us. Sometimes we need to understand why people acted the way they do. With this we might be able to extend our help or at least lessen a bit of our expectations and in effect lessen the stresses in our lives. Sometimes we just have to step in their shoes.

P.S. I just can’t find any reason why a homeowner won’t pay their dues when in fact they are getting the benefits of the village funds. Ti abi.