The aftermath of August 23

On August 23, a tragedy struck.

A bus full of Hong Kong tourists, on their last day in the Philippines and on their way to Ocean Park, was taken hostage by an armed former police officer who was recently dismissed due to the actions of his subordinates and thus ending his 30+ years in the force and more importantly also his pension–his deserved, hard-earned retirement fund.

Faced with such circumstances, I honestly would not know if I too would snap. As I run these scenarios in my head, most of them involves me getting violent. I mean, seriously, the guy REALLY had it BAD.

But all that seems to be of no importance due to the fact that that same depressed and distressed old man, who just lost his job and does not have anything to lie back on, and had a wife and family to take care of supposedly killed  9 Hong Kong tourists and, oh, that he was a Filipino.

I am downright outraged at how some of my fellow Hong Kong people have reacted to this event. It is one thing to be indignant and angry at the INCOMPETENCE and STUPIDITY of the operations of the police, but it is another to label an ENTIRE GROUP NATION as such. It is plain BIGOTRY and HYPOCRISY and people who’ve done so ought to be ashamed.

But, I am equally if not more infuriated at how everything transpired that day. The policemen obviously didn’t know what they were doing. Aren’t SWAT supposed to be SPECIAL WEAPONS AND TACTICS UNIT? Lulz!!!

Special Weapon: Sledgehammer

Special Tactic: Throw tear-gas without gas masks themselves.

Very impressive… [Reverse this statement]

The media didn’t help at all and even, very thoughtlessly added oil to the fire by broadcasting LIVE everything that transpired OUTSIDE THE BUS FOR EVERYONE TO SEE, EVEN THE HOSTAGE TAKER! WOW! Great job~!

The politicians really showed how “able” they are at their jobs: they’re NOT. They also showed who they really care about: themselves. I mean, please STOP making me RETHINK my notion of “stupid”. The previous sentence also applies to people who get swayed by the lies and stupidity of these snakes. Just stop.

Our PRESIDENT was… well… a big failure. I recommend him being the picture of “FAILblog.org” for being the most unleaderly leader I’ve ever seen! The whole debacle started around 10 a.m. but P-noy only issued directives at about 1:30 p.m. which begs the question, what the HELL was he doing for 3 HOURS AND 30 MINUTES. Well, it’s not surprising that a person who had been in congress for more than 20 years, did not pass any BILLS that he’s proposed himself, to amount to ANYTHING. Well, that’s the leader the Philippines (well, 13 million of us at least, excluding me) wanted. We reap what we sow? How true…

There were so many FAILS that day that I really was ashamed that THESE are the PEOPLE that will LEAD us, will PROTECT us, will INFORM us, and will GUIDE us? HUWWWWWWWWWWWWWWAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTT??!!

As a journalism student, I really was disappointed about the media. Is ethics dead in the Philippines? Did NO ONE ask the question: ARE WE DOING THE RIGHT THING? Are RATINGS… is THE MONEY the reason why we do journalism? Is Public Concern & Public Interest applicable? Well, during that time, of course people were INTERESTED AND CONCERNED about WHAT WOULD TRANSPIRE, but heck, did  NO ONE THINK that the FLEETING CONCERN and INTEREST of the PUBLIC on THOSE FEW HOURS would be OUT-WEIGHED BY THE REPERCUSSIONS OF SUCH AN INCIDENT IF IT GOES BADLY FOR THE SAID PUBLIC??? Huh… So disappointed…

And what’s with the media, who’s supposedly be a WATCHDOG for the people on the actions of the government to COPY the ones THEY’RE SUPPOSED TO GUARD AGAINST? Maybe birds of the same feather fly together does ring true… They should not have broadcast LIVE. Being a watchdog does not equal a MANDATE to SENSATIONALIZE things. Besides, there are WELL ESTABLISHED PROTOCOLS that ALL MEDIA NETWORKS ARE PRIVY TO taken from the HISTORY and EXPERIENCE of HUNDREDS OF YEARS OF JOURNALISM… THERE WAS NO EXCUSE FOR NOT KNOWING WHAT TO DO.

And everyone knows that the police is being made the scapegoat… well, at least I hope everyone knows. I hope against hope. I dream the IMPOSSIBLE DREAM. Anyways, you get picture.

On the social network side of things, it’s to be expected that the users (especially those in the BBS [forums], who are more anonymous than their Facebook-counterparts) are more likely to say something they wouldn’t normally say in public as the Internet provides us with a venue to say whatever we want with wanton disregard for our safety or repercussions of the said statements, defamatory or otherwise.

Well, anyways, I do not take what transpires in the social medias as seriously as those I see first hand. It’s one thing to type a message (with cussing or none), it’s another thing to really act on what you think. The DAB party of Hong Kong is just playing their usual game of being loud and rowdy to seem that they’re really for the people. HK politicians and Philippine ones are the same in that respect. China on the other hand is really the biggest hypocrite here because they’re pointing the finger of blame on us for, what…? Being incompetent… being ill-equipped… being-unprepared… The first two are true, but that’s just because we’re poor. We’re a freaking 3rd world country! Being unprepared, yes we also were. But, that’s because these kind of things don’t often happen… only once in a blue moon do we see someone take a bus full of tourists hostage on live television and I think that’s a good thing because, SOMETHING THAT HAS BEEN SAID OVER AND OVER AGAIN IS THAT THIS INCIDENT IS ISO-LATE-D. Again? Again! ISOLATED!

Well, I should go to bed.

This was a rant. I wrote this as a Filipino and also as a person that also calls Hong Kong home.

It broke my heart that these things would happen, but no one can do anything about it anymore. What can be done is to NEVER LET IT HAPPEN AGAIN.

I think that would serve as the BEST APOLOGY possible. An apology to those who lost their loved ones, those who felt attacked, those who felt betrayed, those who felt embarrassed, and anyone else who got involved.

ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS.

The Storms in Life

We all have our storms.

Many of us would rather avoid weathering a storm because it’s difficult to do so. But is doing it “safe” really for the better?

I read a funny article today which said that some government officials pray for typhoons, as their called in the Asia-Pacific region, in order for the “non-existent water shortage” to be solved. Confused? I was too. Basically, they’re saying that we have a problem, but they’re also saying we don’t. Still confused? Yeah, me too.

In any case, weather storms are unavoidable, especially in a country right smack in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. In fact, weather storms are caused by natural phenomenon, from the movement of moisture and of the winds and also the pressure systems on both land and sea. They are foreseeable but and are in no way controllable. These facts lie in stark contrast to the storms of life which often come out of the blue that you don’t see them coming. The causes of life storms come from different places, like our choices, society, family, friends, lovers, exams, school, the weather, and of course from God.

But what links them both is that, even though there might be damage in their wake, in the end they’d have given us something in return. Water and character. Both of which are essential to life.

So, how have you been faring?

Have you been running from what you need?

Everyone needs a good storm or two, once in a while–just to keep things interesting =)

I want to get Fat

I want to get fat.

Well, not fat-fat. Fatter would be a better word. Nevertheless, it sounded better that way so I used that instead.

Moving on, for most of the world, getting fat isn’t the problem; it’s losing it. But for people like me, who have very quick metabolisms and are relatively active, it’s very hard to gain weight.

Today, during PE lesson, I was told that my body-fat percentage is at 12.6%. If Wikipedia is correct, that would land me in the lower percentile of those who are regarded as “athletic”. I wouldn’t disagree with that assessment.

But as I look at my “nekid budy” (pronounced: Naked Body, and for the record, I can’t believe I’m writing this), I look SO THIN!

How is it that I cannot gain weight at all? I have been asking this question for years now. Even if I just laze around, just being a couch (*edit*cough*edit*) potato and eating constantly, I still don’t gain any weight. What’s more, I seem to lose weight once I start becoming active again! Because of this, not just once did I find myself thinking “I’m a thin… thin… freak…”

You may be thinking “what’s the ____ is wrong about that,” but I assure you, it’s something messed-up.

I’m a guy, and I’m thin. Get it?

😦

How the hell do I bulk up when I can’t even gain weight?

The only time I’ve gained weight to the point that people started calling me “fat” was the long months of “revision” for the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examinations (HKCEEs) in which I spent all my time just sitting in the house, pretending to study, but really just being a lazy-fat-ass.

Do I need to become a lazy-fat-ass again just to gain weight? Not that I can afford to be one, living alone and having to do everything for myself. Not to mention the many places I need to go and people I need to talk to due to the many requirements that’s required of me to do on a weekly basis

>_>

Hai hai… so I end by reiterating what I said: I want to get fat!

Because right now, in my freakish body that does not want to gain weight, better FAT than THIN!

Journey into the Wilderness

The first night was bad, the next was worse, the third was enlightening and the last was awesone. The four days I spent without electricity went exactly like that.

It was a crazy idea. I didn’t know if I could make it. I knew it would be painful and difficult—almost impossible—but I had no choice. I had to do it.

The first day was bad.

I woke up in a hazy sweat. Without electricity, I was not able to use the air-cooler or the electric fan, and it so happened that that night was hot. I was forced to go to sleep in my boxer-shorts as wearing more than my skivvies made the heat unbearable.

It was still hot.

Somehow, I managed to fall asleep, but after some time I began hearing a peculiar noise. It was something I don’t often hear, but I knew what it was—what they were: mosquitoes. I quickly rolled out of bed and in the darkness tried to locate the mosquito repellent. “Begone by Baygon,” would have been a pun I would have normally concocted for such an occasion, but I wasn’t in the mood. I was itchy, scratchy, sweaty, dirty and a little bit ticked off. I put the lotion on and sniffled at its smell. I don’t like it, but I need it was what I was thinking.

At 6 a.m. I woke up, there was a silhouette of my body on the bed from my sweat. I felt I didn’t sleep at all. I took a cold shower and brushed my teeth. No breakfast since I couldn’t use the microwave. I took the stairs down. I live on the 9th floor.

School went and gone and I was back at the condominium. I took the stairs up. I live on the 9th floor. It was getting dark.

No electricity, meant no light. I had to use candles. The apartment looked oddly nice in their flickering, golden-yellow light. I began to understand why candles are said to be romantic, they make everything look sublime.

It was time to eat and so I cooked. That first night, the problem wasn’t cooking the viand, it was cooking the rice. It has been more than a decade and half since I’ve used anything else besides a rice cooker. I had to think back and visualize how I did it before. Surprisingly, I succeeded with a modest amount of “tutong” as a bonus. I felt like I just won something.

That night went similar to the first, but I was getting used to it. Something different was that I attempted to use “katol”. I really went old-school. I can’t remember the time when I last used one of these. At first I had trouble separating the two coils coiled together in a ying-yang fashion. I used two.

When I woke up, it was not from the sound of my alarm clock. Something was burning. It was the papers littered across my room. It is a good thing I am very sensitive to smoke, or something worst might have happened. I quickly doused the heaping pile and went back to bed.

That morning I found my room was a disaster. What was worse was that all my pants and other clothing I hung at the back of my door smelled really awful—like katol. “Great,” I muttered. “I’ll need to wash these,” I said in complete knowledge that this feat would require the manual, archaic, “kus-kos” kind of laundry. I was not amused.

Again, school was uneventful. But I knew that when I got back home, only darkness and suffering awaited me (not to mention the arduous journey up) and by then, the withdrawal symptoms came about.  That faithful Tuesday night will live in infamy in my mind.

I was extremely bored.

I never realized how reliant I was on technology. From keeping in touch with the people I love or just merely passing the time, I was completely at its mercy. I was tempted to just break the fast. In the first place, no one would know, right? I began to imagine how it was to be able to freely watch shows on the internet or on television and to be able to see where I was going—to be in the light again. And the cold drinks I would normally been able to drink: a cold glass of Nestea Iced Tea, a very cold tetra pack of Zesto manga or grape flavor, and avacado shake with as much ice, sugar and cream I would care to put in it… my mouth watered.

At the promise of the cool and refreshing drinks, I almost gave way. But something my father has always told me, “what you spend the most time with is your god,” at that moment really made me think. Believe it or not, while I was sitting in my dark and dreary living room, I had a “reima”, greek for “divine revelation”.  Technology was my god.

The past months flew by in my mind, as though I had a powerpoint presentation going on in there. I saw that, although I identified as a Christian, having been raised in a Christian home with two loving Christian pastor-parents, I haven’t been living the tenets of my faith. Yes, I read my Bible and prayed, but all that was done out of a sense of responsibility—not because I wanted to, but because I had to. I know all the doctrines and have been trained in apologetics (how to argue as a proponent of my faith) so I knew that what I had was nowhere near what the essence of Christian life required: A personal relationship with God.

As these thoughts came into mind, I began to pray. Not the memorized and structured prayer I often use, but rather a conversation between my God and I. Although I received no audible answer to my many queries, it felt uplifting. I felt, once again, connected. Not to the world or to anyone, but to a greater being, one that transcends all creation and yet, I regarded as my best friend.

Before I knew, it was 12:07 a.m. of Wednesday, July 7, 2010. That night, I slept well.

When I woke up, I felt more refreshed than ever. In fact, I felt so refreshed that I forgot to look at the time (or remember what day it was). I had a Physical Education class on 9 a.m. and it was already five minutes past eight. I was already terribly late. I’ve always had a saying, “Better absent than late”, and so I just took a day off and didn’t bother to get up from bed till about 10. I made brunch (breakfast and lunch) out of an omlette and scooted with a bounce in my step.

And before I knew it, I had six hours to go till my fast was over. Wednesday night came and went with me, in my apartment’s veranda, surrounded by candles, and reading a good book. I slept very soundly that night as there was a good breeze outside and the usual pests were curiously absent. Divine providence, may be. I was just thankful.

With a few hours to go, I felt this experience was something I needed. I’ve been so engrossed with everything happening aside from what hasn’t been happening in me. I never took the time to self-examine. As Littlefoot’s mother said in the Land Before Time, “Let your heart guide you. It whispers, so listen carefully,” we should all take time to re-examine our lives. If I, in all the sweat, tears, mosquito bites, burnt food and boring nights, found something I’ve lost, who knows what you may find if just you try.

[Pictures will come later]

Dear President Noynoy

[This blogpost was inspired by this article by Yahoo News Philippines.]

Dear President,

Please do not take yourself too seriously. When you have to choose between your pride and your security as the “head of state” and the “hope of the people”, there is no contest. Your security comes first.

Please conduct yourself in a manner that befits your rank. You are much more valuable alive than dead. Do not tease fate.

Yes, your detractors will criticize you if you reverse your own position on wang-wang, but who cares! They’ll criticize whatever you do, so just do what I do with my own critics: ignore them—that’s what they’re good for.

Worry about the important things, not about some traffic “nuisance”.

In the first place, you should have just zero-ed in on the abusers of the wang-wang, our much beloved congressmen and people of self-import (yung mga FEELING lang). The law provides the Executive, the vice Executive, the two heads of of both Houses of Congress and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and those who work in law-enforcement and emergency services the right to use a siren while on route during official business.

Please don’t be stubborn, be smart. You are more important than you think (Aww, sweet ┐( ¯3¯)┌).

Yours truly,

Isang Pilipino

Joyfully Lost

[This was the first assignment assigned to us in J109, which is to write a profile of our seatmate. Anyways, this is slightly altered to protect the privacy of the person it was written about so the name of the person was “initial-ized” (I don’t know if this is a real word, whatever).]

When one is in the groceries, finding a crying child isn’t all that uncommon. And we all know that a crying, lost kid, is anything but happy. Would you believe there is anyone who would be happy being lost? Well, you’d better.

SJdlP is one such person. Already in her 20s, she’s in no way in hurry to finding herself and what her true calling in life is. As she put it so succinctly, “I’m just here to enjoy the ride!”

She entered college when she was only 16 and upon the recommendation of her mother, entered into the College of Architecture. For three semesters, she toiled and struggled with her course requirements and later ultimately realized that she had “no passion for architecture” and could not bear doing the same things for another three and half years. So she left.

S then spent another three semesters as a non-major student, which some people might regard as a supreme waste of time, she enjoyed immensely. During this period, she was able to be free. “I had such a great time just taking the stuff I wanted and was interesting to me,” she said recounting her experience. “What’s more was I was able to get away from my enemy, Math, during that time,” she added.

Eventually, pressure from her parents forced her to veer away from her would be “freedom” to choose a major that suited her. Maybe it was fate or just blind luck, but as she closed her eyes and whooshed her pen around a list of all the colleges and departments, she landed on Journalism.

All’s well that ends well she discovered she loved to write. So much so, she describes herself as a person who “couldn’t live without writing”.

When asked what she wanted to be in the future, she gave a vague answer: “who knows, I may love writing, but I can’t see myself becoming a writer just yet. Maybe I’ll go into Psychology or become an artist. I’m not setting anything in stone”.

Lastly, when asked if whether she was okay with being aimless in life, she said with a grin, “I’m not aimless, rather, I’m ‘AIM-FULL’,” “What’s important is that right now, I truly happy!”

————————————End——————————————-

Disney/Pixar STILL GOT ITS MAGIC!

I watch a lot of movies. Mostly Hollywood blockbusters, but I watch a lot of them all the same.

For that reason, I can confidently say that movies like Toy Story 3 does not come very often.

The story, as the title implies, is the third installment (as I am assuming they’re going to make a sequel) in the Toy Story series of movies, but this time around, there are no insane would-be terrorist (implying the person likes to blow things up) neighbor or a Woody-be (a pun on “would be”) thief /obese-premature-male-pattern-baldness-guy-who-steals-toys-from-kids-and-sells-them-to-Japanese-collectors person, only the fact that Andy is all grown up is about to move on to College and for toys, College = Death, or at least they view it as such.

Andy: Before and After

The plot thickens when Andy decides to store up all his other toys (even BUZZ LIGHTYEAR!!) with the exception of Woody. The scene was really heavy for a “kids movie”, although I guess the fact that Andy’s all grown up has given the writers and directors the mandate to carry things to a whole new emotional level. I couldn’t help but reminisce about my old toys and what would they have felt when I had to leave them behind when we moved from Davao to Manila. Suffice to say, the scene was heartbreaking.

After a series of events, all the toys (including Woody) were mistakenly donated to a certain daycare facility named Sunnyside. Don’t be fooled by its name, it’s anything but SUNNY! (well, anything but happy…) Sunnyside, was in fact a totalitarian system, ruled by a pink, cuddly bear named Lots’o’Huggin’ Bear (Lot’so for short). And oh boy, are the young’uns who’ll be watching this will soon learn that pink and cuddly in the outside may not translate to pink and cuddly in the inside. Not everything is what it seems.

Inside Sunnyside (mind the pun :D) Andy’s toys learn the reason why I do NOT EVER want to have TODDLERS! >_< The scene was… was… terrifying. There was a phrase Buzz said here that struck me as something we’ve basically lost in western society, which is “age appropriate”. Buzz said it while complaining to Lot’so after their first playtime in the Caterpillar Room (AKA, Toy Holocaust) and it made me think that kids today are really out of control. I had the privilege of having great parents and great childhood memories which I would cherish the rest of my life, but I find kids these days are exposed to issues that are not “age appropriate”.

I see 10 year old kids buying GTAIV or Assassin Creed 2 (which are quite gory) in gamestores in various places, even though their clearly labeled as NC-17! Another incident was when I watched this sexually charged play in UP (for a requirement, of course) and although it was CLEARLY (there were depiction of dry-humping and masturbation, etc) not-for kids, there were people who brought in KIDS that, judging from their appearance and height, were not even 10 years old! Filipino entertainment shows are filled with lewd jokes that are made in such bad tastes that I wonder why they’re even allowed to air. So much for laws in society or “age appropriateness”. The Philippines claim to be a “Christian Nation”, but I say we’re not even close. Muslim nations are more “righteous” by far when it comes to these kind of things. At least there (well… in some of them at least), they really enforce what they say their “ideals” are.

The horror... the horror...

In any case, enough about my political views. This post was supposed to be about the movie!

Well, one of the highlights of the film is, as I have lovingly dubbed, “the meeting”. When the scene when Ken first meets Barbie showed, the whole theatre was full of giggles… from the girls and, believe it or not, the guys as well. I even saw some “old people” (I define “old” as aged 55+ or if you look just plain old [and yes, I’m a judgmental person]) having a nice chuckle. I may be a fool about this but, I want to have the same kind of scenario happen to me ONCE in my life. I want to be able to tell people that I had “THE MEETING”. Fated. Destined. The One. My Other half. My True Loves Kiss. Made for each other. What can I say, I am a hopeless romantic–the real kind.

Made for each other...

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, go see it. Also, don’t support crime, go see it in a cinema. It’s worth it. It’s a Disney/Pixar: It’s MAGIC!