I Miss You (but not) Like Crazy

28 February 2010

My blog is  a refuge, a sanctuary for my thoughts that are otherwise unwelcome or simply meaningless to the world —  but who cares?  This is my blog — my loyal  listener and indefatigable mouthpiece,  my stress ball and tranquilizer.

I don’t remember the last time I posted, but I know it’s been a while.  I don’t want to check the date.  It’s enough that I know I  miss my blog.

So here I am, like the prodigal son in abject destitution, or the absentee landlord collecting a rent, after a seemingly infinite sabbatical of sort, pounding the keys of my battered laptop in the hope of getting some inspiration to write something about anything.

But  then I guess it’s not necessary (to write something about anything).  For all I’ve wanted was to visit my blog, and keep a record that I did.

And so this post.


The Price of Silence

3 December 2009

It is a cheap thrill to say I told you so, when the Maguindanao massacre happened, 57 dead — 30 of them journalists, more than half the victims women, 2 lawyers and several others who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.  But I like cheap thrills.  I told you so!

It was a carnage waiting to happen  — well, it’s been happening, only on a less shocking scale (if you would consider state violence acceptable), but with consistent regularity — and it did happen at the logical time, election season being the most conducive period there is.

Extra-judicial killings have been committed under the regime of fake president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo more than a thousand times since 2001, punctuated by enforced disappearances and countless other forms of human rights violations.  So what else is new?

It is the same murderer regime.  It is the same climate of impunity.  It is the same trigger-happy institution.  It is the same  magical -realist forsaken land.  It is the same oppressed people. It is the same US-directed anti-terrorism doctrine.

There are only new victims now.  Yet everyone is a potential victim, if all the injustices in all forms against the people still don’t make everyone so.

So you think only the activists are fair game in this shooting hobby of the bloodthirsty corrupt regime?  So you think the anti-terrorism doctrine made operational through Oplan Bantay Laya concerns only Muslims and communists maligned as terrorists?  So you think  you should only speak out, cry for justice and act decisively when it directly victimizes you?

Think again.  For when that time comes, you may not be able to act and there shall be no cry for justice just because there might be nobody left then to speak up for you.

Everything has a price, even silence.  Are you willing to pay?

*photos from speaking one’s mind


Here’s a beautiful piece from Kiwi Illafonte

Banana Leaf Blankets

(for the victims of the maguindanao massacre,
in case i ever forget)

i am the prodigal child of a people’s conscience
kidnapped from our grandparents’ homes in broad daylight
lost beneath stacks of conquistador textbooks
blinded by the fashion of hunger and agony

my satisfaction
to strip malls and value meals
cellphone applications
and the approximately two hours a day i spend
checking people’s status updates

must be the life
that we’ve all dreamed about.

if she knew her road would end here
she might have packed her bags differently

then again,

there is no dignity
in having your remains plucked
out of a shallow ditch
no cosmetics advanced enough to
mask mutilated flesh
blood and tissue
tendons and bone fragments
the expression on
what was left
of her face
only telling part of the story

there is no comfort
that can come from banana leaf blankets
as if to cover up the carnage
with a magnifying glass
to crop and zoom her image onto our computer screens
and burn the audacity of that morning
into the back of our throats.

my fingers won’t allow me to finish reading this story
they drag the cursor to the nearest link
then click

anything to escape this reality

funny animal videos on youtube
online scrabble
an ex-lover’s profile pics

and i’m taken to a whole other place

and the philippines couldn’t be further away

if she knew that i would end there
then i am certain
that she would cry with an ocean’s lament
agitate me with the sound of waves crashing

and i would have no choice but to answer
with a thundering heart

these words

this body.

Take Note

19 October 2009

Bloggers Kapihan took note of my post on Blog Action Day, privileged enough to be included in the roundup.   I was surprised and impressed that BK actually read my post and bothered to quote a couple of paragraphs in it.

That BK took the initiative to promote the Blog Action Day (more than 13,000 blogs  from 155 countires with 18 million readers participated) in the Philippines proves that they are serious in blogging — blogging for the people,  should I call it.  BK surely leads the way.

More power to Bloggers Kapihan!  More power to Blog Action Day!

Because Climate Change is Personal

15 October 2009
Philippine flood

Philippine flood

I take the recent flooding in the Philippines personally, not only because it caused so much inconvenience, not only because it involved evacuated relatives who lost properties, and not simply because it made me part with a small amount of money which represents a big chunk of my lifetime savings, but more importantly because of bigger reasons which though externally distant feels more like one with proximity to me .

I do not simply take it personal that power failure, food shortage, worsened traffic, epidemic and all other things that I despise in this already miserable world would further complicate my burdens but that further and beyond all these lies the original sin of this damned lives of ours.

The deluge brought about by the back-to-back typhoon cum flood brought out the best in Pinoy spirit and the worst in Philippine state of affairs and demands  that the issue of calamities and natural disaster  be finally raised to a higher discourse and not simply get buried in the mud and debris of the aftermath.

When the  extent of devastation and its frequency of occurrence undeniably increases it is  not correct to view the disaster as simply a charity issue where every conscience responds with a token donation and volunteer work.

The masses of poor people are always the worst hit by any calamity owing to their sub-human living conditions — living in their makeshift houses in flood-prone areas — and lack of resources to restart their lives.  It is necessary that direct government responsibility be stressed as it is the chief overseer of the country’s affairs.  It  demands of accountability as the state and its apologists try to obscure the issue.

But this should not stop at government action, reaction or inaction.

Beyond its response or lack of it  to the calamity, it should be made to answer for the laws it passes and the policies it upholds not only about disaster preparedness but also relative to the overall economic and political system it protects that exploits the people and condemn them to poverty — making them suffer the most during natural disasters.

Further beyond this is the mother issue of climate change, a wanton destruction of our fragile atmosphere by the corporations of rich industrialized countries, chief of them the  US, whose greed for profits not only destroyed our environment but exploited the peoples of the world as well.

The global capitalist order has caused so much poverty and  destruction through wars and climate change that its criminal record against humanity warrants a deluge by the people more ferocious than the ones the exploiting countries  have caused nature to produce.

This has been causing me serious anxiety and sleepless nights, so I take climate change personally.

Racing against Extinction

1 October 2009
River giant,  bigger than the giant mekong catfish and the amazon arapaima, vanishes

River giant paddlefish, bigger than the giant Mekong catfish and the Amazon arapaima, vanishes.

the amazon arapaima

the amazon arapaima a.k.a. pirarucu

Along with the Yangtze River Dolphin, the only known freshwater dolphin (this species separated from the other marine mammals like whales 40 to 20 million years ago), the 7 meter long giant Chinese paddlefish joins the growing list of  extinct animals.  For six long years, scientists have not seen a live species and have failed to find, locate and catch a single fish during its three-year survey. For full story click here

Yangtze river dolphin: the worlds only freshwater dolphin.

Yangtze river dolphin: the world's only freshwater dolphin.

The yangtze river dolphin, aka baiji, is the first species of cetacean – the group containing all whales, dolphins and porpoises – to have become extinct as a result of human activities.  Read here for more accounts and sad story of baiji’s extinction.

Meanwhile, the declining number of the Giant Mekong catfish has prompted scientists to track this critically endangered other freshwater fish in Cambodia.  See full story here.

the giant mekong catfish
the giant mekong catfish

One thing that definitely affects these and other migratory species is the altered river systems, i.e. the establishment of dams, aside from massive-scale human environmental impact like uncontrolled and unselective fishing.

Is It Any Wonder?

10 September 2009
Korean wonder:  The Wonder Girls

Korean wonder: The Wonder Girls

The news was so telling,  an electrician, while buying something from a neighborhood store, was beaten up for not knowing the song one of the suspects was singing when asked, and then finally stabbed to death.  The song?  Nobody.

How could a song be so influential to cause death?  The song apparently was so popular that “nobody” should not know it —  under pain of death.

So what is this “Nobody”?  This Korean song (which has an English version) is by an all-girl Korean pop group called Wonder Girls formed in 2007 and whose members were products of an extensive search-audition.

A global hit with fans from Paris to Pasay, Wonder Girls is a sensation no Filipino pop group has ever accomplished.  Which is a shame to a people who prides itself as the most musically talented people in this side of the globe.

How could Koreans who are not well known for their musicality become popular in such field which  Filipinos claim as their God-given field of expertise and hold with virtual license and instinctive pride?  They don’t sing and dance  ad nauseum like Filipinos do.  They don’t have Arnel Pinedas and Charice Pempengcos who  make it in America.  Filipinos are better English singers.

Well, not even Pineda’s older and most watched Youtube video can match WonderGirls’  more recent video’s view hits.  They have more fans, they are more popular, and they are known for their own songs!

How could this be?

Simple. Rather than developing our own, we insist on copying others, trying to claim their audience as our own by imitating the original in the vain hope that the adulation would be ours as well.  By endlessly aping our colonial masters, we have ceased to know and see who we truly are, and what we can do.

Pineda and Pempengco have better voices and are more talented.  But these pathetic copycats are left biting the dust in the popularity and identity race by the underrated and allegedly less talented Koreans.

The Koreans have now Wonder Girls and we only have a fake Steve Perry, a Dion-Houston wannabe and a fake president.

Is it any wonder that we are left behind even in a field where we proudly yet foolishly thought we were the race to beat?


18 August 2009
Found on Mount Victoria in central Palawan, Philippines in 2007 after a tip from two Christian missionaries who saw it in 2000 when they climbed the mountain.

Nepenthes attenboroughii. Found on Mount Victoria in central Palawan, Philippines in 2007 after a tip from two Christian missionaries who saw it in 2000 when they climbed the mountain.

Where else could you find rare wildlife but in Palawan, and who else would discover them but foreign scientists.  It amuses me that  it would take people from halfway across the globe — a country with less people than ours — to take great interest in nature’s great wonders and make important scientific discoveries in our own backyard.

Is it too much to expect from our close to 90 million people to discover and protect its own?  Isn’t it ironic that we have presence in all countries in the world and yet fail in conquering our own land?

But this is nothing  really new.  We always look at the others to find something good, aping them by all means because we find them superior.  Our standards of greatness lie in the achievements of others and not what we  have attained on our own.  We take pride not in discovering, asserting and developing our own, but in  imitating  and  conforming to the others.

We would rather morph into somebody else than be ourselves.  And we find nothing wrong with it.

(For full story read Rat-eating plant discovered in Philippines )