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Do not go gentle into that good night.
  Rage, rage against the dying of the light
” — Dylan Thomas

Wednesday evening: Planning what to do for my upcoming Christmas vacation in the Philippines. Thought of getting a room again at the Manila Peninsula and going for a night out with old friends. Went to the hotel’s website to check for availability, found one, but then changed my mind. I think I’ll just spend more time with family and relatives this year (It’s cheaper that way… Hello Filipino-style home-cooked meals!).

Thursday evening: Two things. A friend living in Tokyo sent an SMS: “Nag-mutiny na naman sila” (They had a mutiny again). Then, upon turning on my PC, a YM offline message from my brother, who happens to be working in Makati, popped up: “Uwi ako ng maaga. Martial law na naman! Nga pala, me mga tangke sa Manila Pen” (I’m going home early. It’s martial law again! By the way, there are tanks at the Manila Peninsula).

Of course it’s not martial law, but for people who cowered under it for several years **, it sure feels like the start of a new one. I immediately called up my mom to ask about the political situation. A voice, heavy with sleep, answered the phone. I was surprised for a moment. Has it come to this? Did our senses become so deadened (manhid) to political shocks that we can peacefully sleep through this while the baby of the family is still out there on the road, on his way home?

Then I caught myself for a moment and realized that I’m just over-reacting. After all, it is common knowledge that the media often over-sensationalize events. When you’re not actually there to see things for your own, the mind plays tricks and you imagine the worst. Turns out, my Batangeña mom is a Trillanes sympathizer: “Ala eh… totoo naman yung sinabi nila…” (What they’re saying is true).

Here’s the gist. Several soldiers who were involved in the 2003 Oakwood mutiny attempt against the administration (headed by ex-military, now Senator Antonio Trillanes) walked out of the courtroom where they are being tried, and took over the Manila Peninsula hotel in Makati. Once more, as in 2003, they demand the resignation of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The government imposed curfew, from 12 am to 6 am, making some citizens panicky over the prospect of a possible martial law declaration. Several hours later, the uprising was crushed with Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Hermogenes Esperon preening and fluffing his feathers like a rooster.

It’s tantamount to treason if I don’t do anything, There is no loss here. We just did what had to be done. If there is a loser, it’s going to be the Filipino nation because … Gloria is still in power and she will be there even beyond 2010.” — Trillanes (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

A desperate act by desperate men in desperate circumstances. Part of me understands. They spoke the truth. And as a reward for honesty, they get persecuted. In the face of overwhelming frustration over a system stinking to high heavens with corruption, they chose action over complacency.

Don’t get me wrong… I don’t fully agree the direction they took. I don’t exactly concur with vigilantes rising up in arms, taking over establishments and disrupting business. It is counter-productive, and at worst, a breeding ground for anarchy. It can horribly backfire, sometimes even hurting the people it aimed to save in the first place.

But given the shameless corruption that we’ve witnessed from our government leaders these past few months, I can’t help but ask myself: Isn’t it high time somebody took a stand? Isn’t it true that, “All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing.” Where do you draw the line between necessary and destructive action?

Then on the flipside, you read insouciant comments like this from money-hungry businessmen:

Just when everything was looking good … we again shot ourselves in the foot.

Sorry, but I just have to ask: Looking good for whom? Are we actually citizens of the same country, or are you guys living in a different plane of existence? We keep boasting about the rise of the peso against the dollar, passing it off as improvement of the economy under the Gloria administration when in fact, it is merely the result of: 1) a dollar poorly performing against all international currencies, and 2) the influx of foreign currency from the OFWs.

This is not called “looking good”. Looking good is when we see less hungry people living in slums. Looking good is when children do not have to struggle learning while packed like sardines in public schools. Looking good is when highly skilled college graduates get to practice their chosen fields instead of settling as call-center agents. Looking good is when workers do not have to leave the country to secure better lives. Looking good is when people see results, instead of government officials living it high on the citizen’s hard-earned taxes. And most of all, looking good is when we have a president who isn’t a cheat, a thief and a liar.

One businessman even went as far as to comment that we have once more become the laughing-stock of the international scene. I counter: Haven’t we been one for a very long time? With the president and prominent government leaders pig-rolling in the mud of various scandals — from vote rigging, billions of taxpayer’s money spent in projects that materialized only in dreams, to blatant bribery. Philippine politics is, to my opinion, one big joke that has long gone stale. Nobody is laughing anymore.

** Note: Makemydayfriday is not that old. In the twilight of martial law in the Philippines, she was just a little kid wondering why her parents use hushed voices whenever they criticize Marcos and Imelda, admire Ninoy, and talk about voting for Cory.
 

windsofchange.jpg Stumbled across this article from the Philippine Daily Inquirer while net-surfing (at work, yes… ) this afternoon. After several years of getting asked by Filipinos and Japanese alike if I work for an o-mise (common euphemism for a nightclub), I’m glad to know that the field is somehow changing.

No insult intended to the hardworking Filipina entertainers who managed to keep their dignity despite the social stigma associated with their work, but the malice-tainted generalization sometimes just gets to you. Getting accused of doing or being something you’re not can stretch your patience thin.

But now, the winds are shifting directions and I am gladly drifting along its path…

See: The New Japayuki  By Carlo Osi

Instructions: When tagged, you have to link to the person who tagged you. Post the rules just before your list, then list eight random facts about yourself. At the end of your post, you must tag and link to eight other people.

Got tagged by Charlotte of Charmed Life and I take on the dare. Now partly drawing up the shades…

1.  I can’t sleep without finding something smooth or satiny to rub my feet against. As a kid, I would even insert my feet in the pillow cases and rub them against the pillow inside.

2. Because of #1, I used to be “piki” (maybe I still am a little bit now???). This disturbed my parents so much that they got rid of all the pillow cases. I ended up sleeping with naked pillows.

3. I learned about how babies are made (and the word coitus) at the age of 8 from cousins who were then studying to be nurses. The following day, I relayed the information to my best friend, and the poor kid was thoroughly disgusted (and traumatized).

4. Elementary school classmates used to play with my name and call me “Puset” (squid). That really pissed me off. This went on until one day, I snapped and smeared floor-wax all over the face of my seatmate (who accidentally called out that name). Mom got called by the teacher and I got a major dose of spanking. To this day, I have not yet repented, but I still remember the name of that unlucky classmate.

5. One of my most striking childhood memory is that of wearing a new dress and having a street kid coming up to me, longingly saying, “Wow. Ang ganda naman ng damit mo…” (Wow. What a pretty dress you have…). Back then, I thought to myself that when I grow up, I’ll do something for kids whose parents can’t afford to buy them things.

6. I don’t like frozen ice cream, I prefer them melted (similar to the consistency of a milkshake). This disgusts BF especially when it’s chocolate ice cream.

7. I don’t let myself fall easily, but when I do, I fall hard. It took me 3 years to move on after my first heartbreak and 2 more years before I finally let go.

8. I like keeping my secrets. It took me several months (years for some) before I started talking to people about BF.

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Hope this partly satisfies my curious readers. Now it’s my turn… I am tagging

* Grace of Sandier Pastures. I know you already had a lot of this, but humor me just this once…

*Mhy Garduce of Sleeping Butterflies: Is your life still an open book?

*Noemi Contreras of Pocket’s Lodge: Wake up sleepyhead. I already emerged from blogging hibernation. Time for you to do the same…

* Romsil of Blog Warrior: Stumbled across your site. Now tagging you.