the gapanese invasion is nigh!

"pinakamaganda ka nga sa buong kapuluan, pero latina na naman ang magwawagi ng korona at sash sa miss world! racism ba ito? lupasay!"

Monday, June 19, 2006

sex education in the philippines: a postmortem

The introduction of sex education in the general curriculum of public schools has been halted due to the strong objections by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines . The Filipino Bishops have objected that the introduction of sex education into the public schools would encourage teenagers to try premarital sex rather than remain abstinent, and emphasized that sex education is the parents’ responsibility, not the government’s. On top of that, the sex education program instructs youth in the use of artificial contraceptives and condoms, which violate the Church’s solemn teachings on human sexuality.
While it is true that the country is adhering to strict moral laws, research shows that this course of action has lead to some serious consequences. Data from The Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Survey conducted in 1994 showed that 2.5 million (18%) youth aged 15-24 have engaged in premarital sex (PMS); out of this 2.5 million, 74% or 1.8 million did not use any form of contraceptive. The YAFS 3 conducted in 2002 showed that the number of youths aged 15-27 who have engaged in PMS grew to 23%, or 4.9 million; of this number, 70% or about 3.43 million did NOT use any form of contraceptive (WHO 37-39). Data clearly shows two things: the number of youths having PMS has increased by a significant percentage, and from 1994 to 2002, more do not use contraceptives in their sexual experiences.
The second aspect to be observed is youth’s homosexual activities. According to the WHO Report, the 1994 YAFS data showed that 6.9% of the respondents engaged in gay sexual activity. In the 2002 YAFS, 11% (87% of them men) of sexually active young people had sex with someone of the same gender (WHO 92). This shows a marked increase in the number of youth engaging in homosexual activities.
Finally, the third aspect to be observed is change in sexual behavior and attitudes. Parañaque Science High School and ARH teacher Rowena Reyes, and Department of Education’s Rosalie Masilang both agree that today’s youth is definitely more liberal than before. Reyes mentioned that today’s youth is brutally frank. In a personal interview, Masilang commented on the effect of youth’s increased curiosity has brought on them:
Not only have adolescents become more liberal in general, but they have also gained more openness and tolerance regarding the increasing figures on PMS and its consequences (including premarital pregnancy), as well as acceptance of homosexuals. Moreover, the SPPR 02 stated that there is an increasing approval rate for women engaging in PMS among the youth (POPCOM 22). While these changes may not necessarily be negative in nature, this change in behavior and attitude is a common reason for youth’s increasing involvement in not only premarital, but risky sex practices that lead to the prevalence of more youth related sex problems.
In studying these changes in the youth, an interesting observation was made. Contraceptive use, homosexual behavior, and change in sexual behavior and attitudes are all topics that are generally covered by population education (or sex education as it is known worldwide). If these topics were taught effectively, then the changes of youth over time would be monitored and guided. Contraceptive education would give students information that could save them from having to face problems like unwanted pregnancies, and even lessen the risk in homosexual activity, should they choose to engage in it. However, as was earlier mentioned, contraceptives are not currently being taught in public schools nationwide. Therefore, there is already a large hole in the current state of population education. A huge chunk of information is being left out in its implementation. Lack of information on this area cannot prove to be good for youth today. In fact, it can only be bad news for the youth if they are not being taught contraceptives. It eliminates the presence of choice: not all of them will know that there are preventive measures to unwanted consequences of sex, even as times change and grow to include more sexually open ideas and lifestyles. These changes that the youths undergo over time may not necessarily be negative. However, they may indirectly be the cause for many youths experiencing sex related problems today.
One problem is the alarming number of youth who are either unaware or misinformed about STDs, especially HIV/AIDS. According to SPPR 02’s data from the 1994 and 2002 YAFS, even though 95% of the respondents had heard of AIDS, 12% from 1994 believed that AIDS was curable. What is alarming is that in 2002, this number more than doubled to 28% (POPCOM 28). The WHO Report stated that 60% of the respondents also think that there is no chance for contraction of HIV/AIDS, and 12% of them could NOT identify even a single correct mode of transmission for HIV/AIDS. Only 65% were able to identify at least one correct STD—given that many of the youth are sexually active, 65% is a paltry number (WHO 50).
There has also been a decrease in the average age of first sex. Based on the 2002 YAFS, 1.2% of sexually active adolescents have engaged in PMS before they turned 13. However, by the time they turn 18, the probability that males would have had sex increased drastically to 28% for males, and 12% for females (UPPI 2005). Figures regarding increase in percentage of youth engaging in premarital sex were presented earlier. It must also be known that out of the 4.9 million who have engaged in premarital sex, an overwhelming number (94%) said that this was NOT something they wanted to happen at the time and that they were unprepared for the consequences. However, SPPR 02 researchers report that once one has engaged in PMS, there is greater likelihood that it will happen again with either the same partner or a different one.
Another youth related sex problem is the increase in the number of youth engaging in risky sex. In SPPR 02, risky sex is defined as sex wherein one or both parties are physically and psychologically immature and are unprepared for possible consequences. The earlier the sex, the riskier it is (POPCOM 28, 29). According to a research paper done by UPPI survey authorities, sexual risk taking among the Filipino youth increased from 23% in 1994 to 27.1% in 2002 (UPPI 12). Around 34% of the sexually active youth have more than one sex partner, which is indicative of risky behavior. Furthermore, 60% of 78% of sexually active male adolescents who admitted to never using condoms reported that they have had commercial sex (WHO 43). Also, 2002 YAFS reported that those adolescent boys who reported same sex encounters with other boys “seemed to hold the belief that safe sex practice is not relevant in their case” (UPPI 2002). In light of all this risky behavior, youth are now more exposed to STDs and consequences than ever.
Youth sex related problems do no stop there. Studies show that youth are also misinformed about contraception. From the 1994 YAFS data as presented in the WHO report, “27% of Filipino adolescents think that the pill is taken orally either before or after sexual intercourse and 17% think that tubule ligation is an objected inserted into the female before intercourse”. Also, only 4% of the respondents were actually deemed knowledgeable about family planning (WHO 48, 47).
One major obstacle to Population Education is the protest of the CBCP. According to one of the spokespeople, Dr. Angelita Aguirre, they are protesting the following specific content found in the Lesson Guides in ARH: the lack of emphasis on marriage before any sex act, the integration of POPED in the different subjects other than biology, the encouragement of non-penetrative sex acts such as oral sex, and the specific statement that “experimentation is a normal part of adolescent development”. (Department of Education 56) Another CBCP spokesperson, Atty. Jo Imbong, also protested against a paragraph that stated that sex can be a source of pleasure as well as reproduction. Because of the controversy sparked against this new module, it was pulled out on June 19, 2006, and its return to implementation is currently pending.
Addressing this obstacle is a sensitive issue because Filipinos are predominantly Catholic and may side with the CBCP when it comes to these matters. However, it must be noted that effective POPED implementation, as discussed earlier, definitely requires contraceptive education. POPED is incomplete without it since it is a key factor in preventing unwanted pregnancies and STDs. It must also be noted that while marriage before any sex act is ideal, facts and figures from the 2002 YAFS show that it is highly unrealistic. Not mentioning it in any lesson guide would not make the problem disappear. Also, non-integration of POPED concepts into the curriculum would prevent the topic from being seen away from the clinical point of view that it would be viewed from if it were only taught in Biology. In addition, saying that experimentation is an abnormal part of adolescent development would be false, since it is a well publicized fact that sexual experimentation is common in adolescent years. Biologically, most teenagers are already sexually mature, which is why sexual experimentation is not unheard of during adolescent years. Finally, it is not realistic to contest the fact that sex can be a source of pleasure. Students must not be taught that sex is unpleasant; they should be taught responsibility in handling that pleasure. Trying to keep facts from being given out to students does not stop students’ curiosity and youth’s impulsiveness— but the most important aspect of that is for them to learn it in an environment without imagined malice. It must also be noted that while the CBCP is against the current implementation of population education, other Catholic organizations, particularly the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) support POPED. The goal of POPED is not to condone contraceptive use, but to make this information available to the students so that they will know enough to make intelligent, mature decisions. While the Church is against contraception, information about this should still be made available since students have a right to information and the Church has no legal control over government policy.
A second obstacle is the lack of support from influential sectors affecting the students. One such example is Manila Mayor Lito Atienza’s adamant protest against teaching POPED, saying that the he would do his best to stop it because the curriculum is unacceptable, adding that it must be taught at home and not in school. Also, according to the WHO Report, local government officials “refuse to acknowledge that ARH problems exist” and that some parents disapprove of their children’s participation in population education activities. It was also mentioned that Sangguniang Kabataan projects tend to focus on sports development and not on ARH (WHO 98).
A third obstacle is the budget problem. The Department of Education’s Rosalie Masilang remarked that while POPED should ideally be a prime focus project for the government, the lack of funding and its dependence on outside funding from the United Nations Population Fund weakens its momentum. The most pertinent way to address this problem is to bring more attention to the POPED problems that the country is facing, and to recognize the magnitude of these problems so that they may merit more funds for the use of the population education project.
The fourth obstacle is comprised of the three strongest arguments against population education. First is the argument that current methods of POPED support safe sex lessons, and do not dwell on abstinence only principles. It must again be noted that while abstinence is an ideal principle, recent facts and figures show that more of the Filipino youth are engaging in PMS; policies today must be geared toward addressing this problem instead of pretending that all teenagers prefer to abstain from sex. Abstinence must be presented to adolescents side by side with contraceptive education. To abstain from sex and to engage are safe sex are two different choices, both of which must be explained and made available to the students.
The second argument is that population education promotes promiscuity among curious adolescents. The fact is, numerous studies present the fact that POPED is highly effective when properly implemented. Public school teacher Rowena Reyes remarked that after the expected shyness at the beginning of population education lessons, the students were very willing to learn once the lesson plan was presented without malice. The key is to implement POPED the correct way—straightforward, without innuendos or discomfort—so that the students may learn positively from the lesson instead of using what information they have received to further widen their sexual experience.
The third argument says that POPED should be taught at home, with the parents. It must be noted, however, that the 2002 YAFS data reported that youth are uncomfortable with speaking to their parents about sex and are more comfortable with their friends (UPPI 2002). Also, it must be anticipated that not all parents will be well equipped with the correct information to impart to their children. Parents do play an important role in educating their children. However, unlike the parents, schoolteachers under the POPED program receive training from the Department of Education. The information that they are teaching is more certain to be accurate and uniform. Thus, while it is difficult to ensure that parents are teaching their children the right way, it is more plausible to monitor what the teachers are teaching in schools. Schools must be there to fill in any information that the parents have missed and to correct any wrong information that the students were given at home.
While the number of youth engaging in risky behavior increases, the quality of population education steadily decreases. There is a need for adjustment in population education -much of it is incorrect, incomplete, or insufficiently distributed, and not just the simple question over its implementation. The frightening numbers presented reinforce the fact that the government cannot afford to remove population education. In the end, it becomes apparent that sex education does something rather extraordinary for children. It informs them. It prepares them. It helps them. So if following the Catholic Church’s wishes is worth the thousands of young Filipinos finding themselves in situations like teenage pregnancy, homosexual behavior, or suffering from an STD due to a lack of proper education, then the Philippine government should very well continue keeping sex education out of the school curriculum. However, this paper points to clear stand. Educate, of course. No question. Educate.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

paano nagmemeron ang isang ina?

Nang magkahiwalay ng landas bilang mag-asawa ang mga magulang ko noong mura pa ang aking isip, inako ng ina ko ang responsibilidad bilang ama at ina para sa aming magkapatid. Siya ang tumustos ng matrikula namin sa eklusibong pambabaeng paaralan, isang bagay na ipinag-aalala kong hindi niya lubusang magagampanan dahil mahal ang mga bayarin sa eskuwelahang iyon at makakapili naman siyang palipatin kami sa isang eskuwelahang mas mura ang matrikula. Naatang din sa mga balikat niya ang mga gastos sa bahay mula pagkain, bayad sa kuryente at tubig hanggang maliiit naming pampamilyang pangangailangan. Ni hindi miminsang napagalitan kami ng aking kapatid kung nagtatagal na nakabukas ang ilaw matapos mag-aral ng leksiyon dahil ayon nga sa aking ina, “Wala akong maraming pera para bayaran ang kuryente!” Sa tulong na rin ng mga magulang ng aking ina at sa sarili niyang pagsisikap, hindi kami tuluyang pinulot sa kangkungan. Nanggagalaiti naman ako sa aking ama dahil kung hindi niya pinagtaksilan ang aking ina sa pamamagitan ng pambababae kaliwa’t kanan, hindi sana umabot sa miserableng kalagayan ang pamilya namin. Umiiyak ako sa galit nang maraming gabi noong bata pa ako kapag naiiisip kung ano ang kahihinatnan naming pulos mga babae, kung may kakainin ba kinabukasan, kung may pang-aral pa sa darating na panahon, kung sasaya pa uli kami. Mabuti na lang din at hindi kami lubusang naghikahos habang sinusubukang tiisin ang hirap ng pagbuo ng pamilyang iisa ang haligi—tanging ina ko lamang.
Subalit sa kanyang sarili, nakikita ko sa aking ina na mulat siya sa kanyang esensya bilang magulang, kaya nagsumikap din siyang itaguyod kami kahit walang katuwang sa buhay. Wala man kaming amang kasama sa pamilya, ina ko ang nagpameron sa aking ama—siya mismo ang nagbigay-kahulugan ng pagiging haligi ng tahanan bukod sa pagiging ilaw nito. Mga pinagdaanan niyang hirap bilang magulang ang patunay ko na lubusan ang pagmemeron ng aking ina upang mahigitan ang hangganang iginuhit ng ama kong lumayas sa aming pamilya. Nakita ko sa kasipagan at pagmamahal ng aking ina ang katunayan ng kabutihan ng kanyang pagiging magulang sa akin at sa aking kapatid.
Marahil, marami ang magsasabi na panlipunang gawain ng magulang ang ginagawa ng aking ina, ngunit marami rin ang magsasabi, kabilang na ako, na natural sa ina ang itaguyod ang pamilya meron mang amang makakasama o wala. Tao ang aking ina na may likas na pagkahilig sa paggawa ng mabuti para sa kanyang pamilya kaya nga nais niyang manatiling buhay na ina para sa amin sa pamamagitan ng pag-aaruga sa amin kahit anong hirap. Kaming mga anak niya ay higit pa sa kapwang dapat niyang alagaan bilang tugon sa udyok ng kalikasan. Sagot marahil ng Diyos sa mga tanong niya sa katotohanan ng pagka-ina ang pag-iwan ng ama ko sa kanya para mapatunayan niya sa kanyang sarili na sa pamumuhay sa lipunan ng tao, heto siya at maaaring maging parehong magulang kahit nag-iisa. Kung iisipin ko, batas-eternal ang sinusunod ng aking ina sa pagmemeron niya bilang nagsasakripisyong magulang, kung paanong nagsasakripisyo ang Diyos sa ating mga anak Niya.
Makataong pagkilos ang ginagawa ng aking ina sa pagsunod niya sa katwiran at kalooban niya sa pagtayong magulang sa amin, hindi gaya ng ibang nilalang gaya ng ilang hayop na makapanganak lang, iiwan na ang mga supling para bahala sa kanilang sariling mabuhay sa mundong malupit at puno ng mga masasama. Pinili niya ito nang may malayang kalooban, kaming mga anak bilang obhetong pinagtutuunan niya ng kilos-ina. Bawat pagkakataong makikita ko ang aking inang subsob sa trabaho para may maipantustos sa mga pangangailangang pampamilya, napapatunayan kong bukal sa aking ina ang piliing magpakamagulang kaysa hayaang piliin ito ng kapalaran para sa kanya, sabihin mang nangyari ito bunsod ng pag-iwan sa pamilya ng aking ama. Diyos ang inspirasyon niya para magpakamagulang, kaya nagsusumikap magpakabuti bilang ina ang aking ina sa abot ng kanyang magagampanan. Niloob niyang magpakamagulang, kaya bawat pag-asikaso sa aming magkapatid, bawat pagbigay ng aming kailangan, bawat hakbang ng pagpanatiling buo ng tahanan, lahat ay pagpapagalaw ng aking ina sa kanyang sarili sa kalooban niyang maging magulang na may mga anak na nag-uudyok sa kanyang pagka-ina.
Sabi ng modernong pilosopong si Kahlil Gibran, hindi pag-aari ng mga magulang ang mga anak dahil dumadaan lamang ang mga huli sa mga una. Hangganan man ng aking ina ang pag-ari sa amin bilang mga anak, buong-loob niyang ipinaari sa aming magkapatid ang pagkamagulang niya. Higit pa sa pagsunod sa batas ng lipunan ng tao ang ginagawang pag-aruga sa amin ng aking ina kundi ng pangkalahatang ley natural. Pagka-ina ang prinsipyong nagbigay ng direksyon sa kanya bilang magulang namin, at nauunawaan kong sa walang pag-aalinlangan at walang pilitang pagpili niyang magmeron bilang ina, ito ang nagdudulot ng kaligayahan sa kanya.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

vulcan (for y***)

these are hands poised for prayer--
see how they're pointed toward the sky:
placid, as in eternal slumber,
until answers rouse them to life.
tremors underneath are unleashed,
sending fluid fire outside the fold.
from your rampart of a light-year star,
the ashen fury's a flower to behold.
the serenity has turned into a temblor;
a dance of death the granted plea has become.
run to safety before my flames consume you;
run, or into phoenix i will transform you.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

pink dad, rainbow moms: why gay adoption in the philippines should see light

“Ako Legal Parent”
Ampon! Ampon! Ampon!
--Lotlot de Leon, I Love You Mama, I Love You Papa
Granting a surrogate family to a child over whom parents have waived their parental rights is a legal procedure here as in other countries. Adoption, as this process is widely renowned, may be voluntarily offered by the incapacitated parents to a capable relative, may be sponsored by an agency like the Department of Social Welfare and Development and Kaisahang Buhay, or may be done independently by searching parents seeking the help of an intermediary.
While there are currently no available statistics on domestic adoptions, statistics on inter-country adoption of Filipino children by American foster parents consistently ranked among the fifteen highest in the world’s lone superpower, although the rate has fluctuated the last 16 years.
As for eligibility for adoption, one criterion states that the parents should be a married man-woman couple, leaving a slim chance of priority on single parents, let alone same-sex couples—both setbacks being reflected too in North America.
The legally unmentioned possibility of gay adoption may be interrogated in the light of the Philippine context, wherein poverty debilitates many parents from surviving their children. These parents’ incapacity to provide even the most basic needs renders the children ill-nourished, shelterless and uneducated. Having their kids for legal adoption becomes an alternative for these parents to secure a better quality of life for their children. Hence, non-traditional adoption should be given a go-signal by the Philippine legislature to qualified parents like same-sex couples. Although a seemingly radical new concept to the Philippine society, the legalization of same-sex adoption should be considered on the best interest of the child, and on the capability of the adoptive parents to foster and care for the child, regardless of the adoptive parents' sexual orientation.
Pink Parents Panic
‘Yung kapitbahay natin, kanina ‘yung babae ang ka-partner niya. Ngayon, ‘yung lalaki naman. Dahil ba ‘yan sa El Niño, o sa peso devaluation?
--Albert Martinez’s character’s neighbor, Pusong Mamon, 1998

However, it will be an arduous battle for well-meaning unisex couples as the conservative sectors of the society dispute gay adoption for a number of reasons, among them unfounded. To begin with, the Church argues that same-sex unions—and by extension, gay adoption—are detrimental to the institution of the family. The Christian Coalition here and across the globe fiercely defends the conventional structure of marriage and family using Biblical allusions. For instance, a man “[lying] with mankind, as he lieth with a woman,” has “committed an abomination” worthy of death.
Another example is the pronounced despicability of men who, “leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly…”
Finally, even “effeminates” whose actions did not necessarily spoke of their sexuality were not spared—they were irreparably guilty of doing the unrighteous.
As these scriptural references against gays are always invoked albeit away from the historical context they were articulated, the point of good parenting notwithstanding parents' homosexual orientation—extensively discussed in the subsequent chapters—is missed. For the religious institution, the traditional family of heterosexual composition should be sustained, displacing that of gay one. Finally, the State does not approve of gay adoption because the law is silent about it—only legally married couples are permitted, as already mentioned in the preceding chapter. Moreover, the government becomes an ally to the Church in marginalizing gay couples by setting a prejudiced criterion about prospective adopters “[espousing] spiritual/moral/philosophical beliefs, value systems, affiliations, attitudes and practices,”which, by Scriptural standards, ousts homosexual parents from the adoption queue. The Biblical depiction of gays as perverts informs the state institution with the homophobic misgivings that gays are child molesters or their personality is a potential hazard to the adoptee’s development. As such, lawmakers have yet to pass a bill resolving the issue in question. In a talk on “Same-Sex Marriage and Spirituality,” Ang Ladlad Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transsexual network founding Chair Danton Remoto mentioned of House Bill 634 or Anti-Discrimination Bill to be filed for the third time in Congress, the first filing time—in 1998, by Representative Bellaflor Angara-Castillo—having been met with vigorous protests from ultra-conservative religious groups.
The twice-defeated bill would have entitled taxpaying gays “the same rights that the other taxpayers and citizens have, as stipulated in [the] Bill of Rights.”
As of now, the state recognizes only court-sanctioned, necessarily heterosexual partnerships and their inherent rights, but Remoto, also a professor at the Ateneo De Manila University and a highly-regarded gay writer-editor, sees that the passing of the bill will legalize “domestic partnership [that] will give the partners several rights” which “include…the right to adopt…, among others.”
While gender-based discrimination is unambiguously wrong and necessitates a formidable justification, the country’s social institutions must be harboring the ideology of this strong and never-wrong anti-gay sentiment.

Pink Parenthood is Good
Si Val! Si Val! Lagi na lang si Val ang may kasalanan! Ang Walang Malay na si Val!
--Vilma Santos, Saan Nagtatago ang Pag-ibig?, 1987
In spite of current social debates, several studies show that there is no appreciable difference between offspring raised by homosexual parents and those raised by heterosexual ones. For one, experiments reveal that gay parents can raise well a family, subverting some anti-gay U.S. courts’ twisted notions that homosexuals have mental illnesses, that lesbians are less motherly than straight women, and that homosexual partners are more sex-obsessed than parenting-oriented.
Research findings prove that the development of sexual identity will not be necessarily ruined among children of homosexual parents, nor the development of these offspring’s psychological health and social relationships. Furthermore, the study implies that children of lesbian parents (whether adoptive or not) follow gender-role templates not entirely removed from those of other children, not wishing to be members of the opposite sex by expressing happiness with their gender.
Ultimately, the data do not suggest escalated rates of homosexuality among the children of lesbian or gay parents.
In the same vein, children growing in stable gay homes are as adjusted as those growing in stable straight homes. In a sociological comparison with non-gay fathers in their responses to the Iowa Parent Behavior Scale, the gay fathers are seen to be more sensitive and responsive to the known need of children. The contrasts and resemblances in parenting behavior of gay and non-gay fathers may be explained by the suggestions that gay fathers “feel additional pressures to be more proficient at their parenting role” and to be “less traditional and more androgynous” than non-gay counterparts.
Contrary to public horror, children raised by gay couples do not suffer crises on gender identity, role-playing or choice. In a survey conducted by psychologist David Flaks and associates involving fifteen lesbian-mother families and fifteen heterosexual-parent families, offspring of lesbian couples born to them via artificial insemination manifested sameness in mental and psychological functioning as those of their heterosexual counterparts’ children’s.
Also, lesbian mothers are found to be more “conscientious” in child-rearing than their straight counterparts.On the other hand, in conjunction with some institutional homophobia mentioned in the previous chapter, a few social analyses debunk the truth about gays as good parents. A study of a number of researches does not give credence to gay parents-championing results as it claims lack of empirical evidences and personal prejudices by the authors. This American study, conducted by sociologist Philip A. Belcastro and associates, claimed that fourteen scientifically-assessed database studies on homosexual parenting “lacked external validity” and contained subjectivities of the authors.
Belcastro and company methodically argued that the impact gay parents have on children’s development cannot be ascertained, contradicting the results of most of the pro-gay experiments. Moreover, there is no data support whatsoever to cement the conclusion that no significant differences exist in offspring raised by lesbian mothers as against heterosexual mothers.
Also, a writer reflects the perspective of the conservative society that gay unions and adoptions defeat the purpose of the family institution. In the article What Marriage is for, opinion writer Maggie Gallagher passionately opposed same-sex unions as this expression of “sexual desires of adults” did not “reconcile [with] the needs of children.”
She went on to say that the advancement of “adult interests in adult freedom” was being made at the expense of the “institution most responsible for the protection of children,” implying that married gays will be more concerned with their homosexual love than with conscientious parenting.

Gay Adoption? Why Not?
Aba, ipagmamalaki ko siya sa mga magiging kaklase ko sa pasukan. Si Darna yata ang Nanay ko!
--Edgar Samar, Uuwi na ang Nanay Kong si Darna!
As a matter of course, gay adoption is acceptable, necessary even, because gay couples can provide a good family to underprivileged children. In articles appearing in print media here and in the U.S., a gay couple and a gay child with lesbian parents expressed their common views on gay parenting. On the home front, a gay Filipino male couple was interviewed regarding their plan to advertise in major dailies in an attempt to find a woman willing enough to conceive the child of one of the gay couple—the bisexual guy in the relationship. “…[S]ince we cannot have any [child] of our own,” admits the bisexual guy, he and his gay partner considered “adopting…[,]aware that there are so many homeless and poor children who have been abandoned by their parents and are left at different orphanages or on the streets.”
Through the baby-making setup, they will hope to show to the society how gay parents can be equally responsible like heterosexual couples by promising “that the child will have a good education, college degree and a secure, comfortable life.”
Meanwhile, a gay child, despite the initial stigma of having a gay mother and her lesbian lover for parents, learned to “live peaceably” and feel convenient with the “mother’s lifestyle.”
In her essay, Paula Fomby cannot thank enough having grown up in a unique, non-detrimental homosexual family of gay activists, appreciating “the impact [the adoptive lesbian parent has] had” on her.
Finally, That’s A Family, an American documentary film dealing with the diversity of contemporary families in America, features children who candidly share their lives as young members of families of mixed religions or races, divorced parents, single parents, gay or lesbian parents, foster parents, or extended members as custodians.
This film helps encourage tolerance and acceptance among the young and old members of the society regarding adoption, homosexuals as parents, religion or race because it emphasizes love and support as those which truly keep family ties. As may be gleaned from the aforementioned, legal adoption should be made available to homosexual couples as it is lawfully acceptable to heterosexual ones. Adoption should not factor in the parents' sexual orientation because the latter is independent of a child's adjustments. Biases against gays as bad parents are without basis. In fact, gay couples prove to be at par with if not better than heterosexual ones in terms of good parenting. Gay parents across cultures and history have shown that they can maintain a well-functioning family. If need be emphasized, the access of children to quality life should outweigh their adoptive parents' homosexual orientation. The necessity of gay adoption is timely in the context of world liberalization, the plight of poor children and gays as responsible people. It is high time to afford open-mindedness regarding gay adoption following the trail of unisex unions. Even as it is spoken, the radically liberalized world presently opens up to same-sex unions and its related issue, gay adoption. Gay adoption should be permitted in the Philippines because homosexuals, like heterosexuals, are capable of good parenting. The Philippine law should grant gay adoption in the name of anti-discrimination and liberalization.

I Love You Mama, I Love You Papa, dir. Mario J. delos Reyes. time n.a. Regal Films, 1986. Film.

The Official Website of the Republic of the Philippines, “Local Adoption: How to Adopt a Child.” Last modified June 21, 2004. Accessed September 5, 2006. <

United States Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, “Immigrant Visas Issued to Orphans Coming to the U.S.” Last modified August 31, 2006. Accessed September 5, 2006. <
[4]Riggs, Diane, “Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: Single and Gay Adoption in North America.” Adoptalk Summer 1999. Accessed 10 August 2006. <

Pusong Mamon, dirs. Joel Lamangan and Eric Quizon. 120 minutes. Viva Films, 1998. Film.

[6]“Leviticus 20,” In Same-Sex Marriage: Pro and Con, ed. Andrew Sullivan (New York: Vintage, 2004), 49.
[7] Sullivan, “The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans I,” 50.
[8] Sullivan, “1 Corinthians,” 51.
[9] The Official Website of the Republic of the Philippines, “Local Adoption: How to Adopt a Child.” Last modified June 21, 2004. Accessed September 5, 2006. <

Remoto, Danton. “On Same-Sex Marriage and Spirituality.” In Lodestar. The Philippine Star. February 13, 2006.



[13]Wintemute, Robert. Sexual Orientation and Human Rights. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995), 3.

[14] Saan Nagtatago ang Pag-ibig, dir. Edie Garcia. time n.a. Viva, 1987. Film.

[15] Patterson, Charlotte, “Children of Lesbian and Gay Parents: Summary of Research Findings,” Lesbian and Gay Parenting: A Resource for Psychologists, American Psychological Association, 1995.


[18]Bozett, Frederick W. and Marvin B. Sussman, Homosexuality and Family Relations (New Jersey: Haworth Press, 1990), 67.

[19]Flaks, David K., et al, “Lesbians Choosing Motherhood: A Comparative Study of Lesbian and Heterosexual Parents and Their Children,” Developmental Psychology 31, no.1(1995): 77-83.


Belcastro, Philip A. et al, “A Review of Data Based Studies Addressing the Effects of Homosexual Parenting on Children’s Sexual and Social Functioning,” Journal of Divorce and Remarriage 20, No. 1/2. (1993): 127- 135.

[23]Gallagher, Maggie, “What Marriage is for,” Weekly Standard, August 4-11, 2003, 17-18.
[24] Ibid, 19.

[25] Samar, Edgar. “Uuwi na ang Nanay Kong si Darna!” 2005. September 5, 2006 <
[26] Cruz, Louie, “Wanted: Womb,” Sunday Chronicle. 1992. In Ladlad 2, ed. Garcia, J. Neil and Danton Remoto(Pasig: Anvil, 1996), 16.

[27] Ibid, 15.
[28] Fomby, Paula, “Why I’m Glad I Grew Up in a Gay Family,” Mother Jones, May/June 1991, 5.
[29] Ibid, 6.

[30] That’s A Family,! dir. Chasnoff, Debra. 35 minutes. Women’s Educational Media, 2000. Film.

Monday, June 12, 2006

nayon ng kalayaan: konseptong bayan sa aishite imasu 1941

Matingkad ang konseptong bayan sa pelikulang Aishite Imasu (Mahal Kita): 1941 ng batikang direktor na si Joel Lamangan. Isang lipunang may pangangailangang ipagtanggol ang kalayaan mula sa mababagsik na mananakop ang konseptong ito ng pelikula. Nabubuklod ang bayan ng mga Pilipinong nagtutulung-tulong upang iwaksi ang kapangyarihan ng mga Amerikano at ng mga Hapones sa pamamagitan ng pakikidigma sa kanila bago at samantalang nananalasa sa kapuluan ang bagsik ng Ikalawang Digmaang Pandaigdig. Ginawa ito ng nagkakaisang lipunan bilang mapagpalayang tugon ng bayan laban sa kolonyal na kamalayang ipinagpipilitan ng mga dayuhan.
Dumating ang mga Hapones sa nayon ng San Nicolas habang ramdam pa ng Pilipinas ang impluwensiya ng mga Amerikano pati ang dulot nilang kapitalismo. Ito ang ipinakikipaglaban ng pamilya ni Edilberto (Raymart Santiago) at ng iba pang mga Pilipinong naniniwalang dapat na makawala ang bayan mula sa nakapagpapahikahos na kapitalistang Amerikanong kalaban nila sa kanilang sakahan dahil mas pinakikinggan nito ang mga pangangailangan ng mga nagmamay-ari ng lupa laban sa mga pangangailangan ng mas nakakaraming magsasaka. Sa pagdating nga ng mga Hapones, nadagdagan ang mga kalaban ng bayan at naging doble ang kakailanganing puwersa ng bayan upang makuha nito ang kasarinlan. Mistula mang lumalalim ang pagkabaliw ng bayan para isalba ang kanyang sarili gaya ng grumabeng kapansanan sa isip ng taong-grasa ng nayon, hindi ito tuluyang nasindak sa katampalasanan ng mga mananakop.
Katuwang ang batang asawang si Inya/Binya (Judy Ann Santos), naging gerilya si Edilberto at iba pang kanayon at pinupuksa nila ang mga Hapones sa tulong ng pag-eespiya ng binabaeng kaibigang si Ignacio/Inya (Dennis Trillo) na naging kasintahan ni Ichiro (Jay Manalo), lider ng puwersang Hapones na nakaistasyon sa San Nicolas. Samantalang pinalalabas ng mga nagdatingang Hapones na sila ay kaibigan at pinapag-isa lamang nila ang mga Asyano sa bisa ng Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, dagdag pa ang pagdidiin ng Pilipinang tagasalin ng mga Hapones (Angelu de Leon) na ang mga Amerikano ay nagpapanggap lang na manunubos, hindi isang mahina at ‘di-sibilisadong kolonya lamang ang turing ng bayan sa kanyang sarili. Kailangan ng bayan ng pagsasarili, kaya matindi ang pakikipaghamok ng mga gerilya laban sa mga dayuhan upang hubaran ang maskara ng pagmamagandang-loob ng mga mananakop.
Bilang pangunahing tauhan sa kuwento, napilitang maging espiya ng gerilyang kilusan si Ignacio/Inya nang mabighani niya ng kanyang mala-babaeng ganda si Ichiro. Nagagamit ang mga impormasyong nakukuha ng nagpapanggap na Inya mula sa kasintahang Hapones para mabuweltahan ng mga gerilya ang mga dayuhan. Kahit na noong mapamahal na sa kanya si Ichiro dahil natanggap ng huli ang nadiskubreng tunay na kasarian ng una at kahit na pinaparatangan na siya ng kanyang lipunan ng pagtataksil sa bayan, nagsumikap pa rin si Ignacio/Inya na itaguyod ang kapakanan ng bayang lumaya sa patuloy na pagtulong at pagprotekta sa kanyang matalik na kaibigang Inya/Binya. Patunay ng konseptong malayang bayan ang nasa isip ng binabaeng Inya ayon sa ginawa niyang pagtulong sa mga gerilya upang mapatay paunti-unti ang mga Hapones sa kanilang nayon at sikilin ang makasariling kamalayang ipinagduduldulan ng mga dayuhan. Sa ganito, ipinagtatanggol niya sa kanyang sariling gawi ang kalayaan ng bayang may sariling kakanyahan.
Ipinakita naman ni Inya/Binya ang konseptong malayang bayan nang ipagpatuloy niya ang naiwang pakikibaka laban sa dayuhan ng kanyang nasirang asawa. Bago pa man siya naging Kumander Berto, nagbigay na siya ng makabayang suporta sa kanyang asawa kahit pa naging mas masidhi pa ang pagmamahal ng lalaki sa bayan kaysa kanya. Nangamatay na ang mga ipinagbuntis ni Inya/Binya dahil sa lupit ng digmaan at naging kakumpetensiya na nito ang kilusan sa atensyon ng kanyang asawa ngunit hindi ito naging balakid upang kumuha rin siya ng armas pagkaraang mabiyuda at ipakita ang pagkamakabayan. Nang magpasiya siyang sumapi sa kilusang gerilya bunsod ng lalong pagkakaintindi sa prinsipyo ni Edilberto, naging malinaw sa kanya na kailangang malipol ang mga Hapones sa kanilang nayon upang makapagsarili ang bayan. Tugma ang kanyang konsepto ng bayan sa konsepto ni Ignacio/Inya dahil dapat mawala sa landas ang mga dayuhan para makapag-isa ang bayan.
Pinakamatindi ang konseptong bayan bilang malayang lipunan kay Edilberto, na nakuha ang kanyang pagkamakabayan sa kanyang amang nag-aalsa laban sa mga imperyalistikong Amerikano, at sa katagalan, laban sa malulupit na Hapones. Nang pagpapatayin ng mga Hapones ang pamilya ni Edilberto dahil sa pagrerebelde ng ama nito, lalong nag-umapaw ang paghahangad ni Edilberto na talunin ang mga Hapones para makalaya ang bayan. Ginamit niya ang tulong ng lihim niyang mangingibig na si Ignacio/Inya para makalikom ng impormasyon mula sa mga sinusubukang Hapones para matambangan ng grupo nila ang tropa ng mga ito at sa proseso ay buuin ang kanilang kahulugan ng bayan bilang lipunang hindi kailangan ang dayuhang impluwensiya para magkaroon ito ng pagkakakilanlan. Sukat maipagpalit niya ang sariwang buhay-may-asawa para ipakipaglaban ang bayan, nagawa ni Edilberto dahil sagabal sa kasarinlan ng kanyang pamilya at lipunan ang presensya ng mga kaaway. Gaya ng kina Ignacio/Inya at Inya/Binya, konseptong bayan ni Edilberto ang nakapag-iisang lipunan na malaya mula sa paniniil ng mga mananakop.
Sa pangkalahatan, matingkad ang konseptong bayan sa pelikulang AISHITE IMASU (MAHAL KITA): 1941 sa pamamagitan ng mga tauhang bumubuo ng lipunang may hangaring ipagtanggol ang kalayaan mula sa mga dayuhan. Malinaw na sa pananakop ng mga Amerikano, dala nila ang kamalayang kailangan nila tayong tulungang magbangon ng bansa kahit pa hindi natin hinihingi ang tulong nila. Hindi mahirap isiping may hinihinging kapalit ang mga Amerikano kaya sila nagkakapital ng tulong. Sa puntong ito, makatarungan ngang magbuo ng konseptong bayan dahil kaya naman nitong magbuo ng kanyang pagkakakilanlan na walang hinihinging tulong kaninuman. May sarili namang kultura ang bayan kahit noon pa mang hindi pa ito nasasakop at hindi nito kinailangang manghiram ng kulturang Amerikano upang magkapangalan. Ipinaglaban nila ito sa pamamagitan ng pag-aalsa laban sa kapitalistang Amerikano at hindi pag-asa sa mga dayuhang ito noong panahong nagsisikap labanang mag-isa ng kilusang gerilya ang pagkubkob ng tropang Hapones.
Ganito rin ang kalagayang katatagpuan sa bayan nang dumating ang mga Hapones upang sa maskara ng nagkakaisang Asyano ay palitawin ng Hapon na nakaaangat siyang kultura kumpara sa karatig niyang bansa. Sa pagkakataong ito, hindi nagpabaya ang lipunang buuin ang kanyang konseptong bayan na may kalayaang lumikha ng sarili niyang pagkakakilanlan kahit pa sa mabalasik na pamamaraan ipinilit itanim ng mga Hapones ang kamalayan ng atin umanong pangangailangan sa kanila para magkaroon ng kultura. Sa kabila ng mga kamatayan sa kanilang panig, hindi nawalan ng tapang ang mga gerilyang Pilipino upang patuloy na makihamok laban sa mga Hapones na nagpahirap, nanggahasa, nang-abuso at nagpakaagresibo sa “kapatid” niyang Pilipino. Pinagsikapan ng lipunan na ipagtanggol ang kanyang kasarinlan at ito nga ay natupad nang sa wakas, makapag-isa na ang bayan pagkaraan ng Ikalawang Malaking Digmaan at pagkaraang ibigay ng mga Amerikano ang hinihinging kalayaan. Sa mga panahon ng pananakop higit sa anumang oras, lumilinaw ang konseptong bayan dahil sa nasyonalistikong hangaring maging malaya at ipagtanggol ang naisasapanganib na kalayaan bunsod ng panghihimasok ng mga bansang ibig wasakin ang kultura ng lipunan pabor sa paghubog ng prototype ng kanilang sariling kultura. Hindi hahayaan ng bayan ang imperyalistikong motibong ito ng mga mananakop sapagkat may kaangkinan namang matatawag ang lipunan, at kailangan nito ng kalayaan para lalong yumabong ang kaangkinang ito kaya ganoon na lamang katindi ang pagkilos upang ipagtanggol ang kalayaang ito sa anumang paraan. Nakita ito sa mga tauhang sina Ignacio/Inya, Edilberto, Inya/Binya sampu ng kanilang mga kanayong nagkaisa para pahinain ang mga puwersang kolonyal. Isang testamento ang AISHITE IMASU (MAHAL KITA): 1941 ng matingkad na konseptong bayan na ang bansang marapat na makapag-isa ay ipagtatangol ang kalayaan ng mga bumubuong mamamayan sa kanya.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

the missing link of three universes: a review of roger penrose' the large, the small and the human mind

The Large, the Small and the Human Mind by Roger Penrose (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Canto Edition, 2000) present an interconnected story from Chapters 1 to 3 implicating how the relationship of one component to another will complete the puzzle that the new, non-computable physics is. Chapter 1 or “Space-time and Cosmology” presents the current way in which we perceive the universe, a perception that is admittedly problematic because of the discrepancies in the theories governing the study of the universe. The Big Bang theory is popularly imagined to be an explosive process working in a flat phase, but considering time-space relativity will rectify that as the universe widens, it occupies space and, therefore, a new set of physical derivatives should explain the theory. Meanwhile, Chapter 2 or “The Mysteries of Quantum Physics” elaborates the problems of quantum physics and the need for them to be addressed by quantization. Classical physics and quantum physics cannot be swapped to expound on each other, but a bridge between them begs to be uncovered in order to unlock the aforementioned mysteries. Finally, chapter 3 or “Physics of the Mind” aspires to develop linkages among mathematics, physics and the human mind. The execution of the mathematical process of thinking is, surprisingly, something the computer cannot carry out, which points to the fact that other channels of perceiving are somewhat done in non-computational ways, too. Taken together, the three subjects harbor mysteries about them that not only upsets the foundational physics we were informed to be administering their behavior, but also proposes the inevitability of a new physics to describe the workings of each. Hence, Penrose’ study of the Large (the universe), the Small (the quantum physics) and the Human Mind (psychology) related to each other to manifest an altogether different face of physics unknown until now.

Significance in Science at-large
The formidable if controversial proposition of Penrose provides one of the missing links the absence of which demonizes the step-by-step consummated understanding of physics and, in general, of science. Science is our present superstition, and inasmuch as we are informed to believe fundamentally what can be accurately measured by science only, the monumental discovery by Penrose helps scientists to take one step ahead regarding the human goal of reaching a utopian state. With the begging discrepancy of the current perception of the studied universe, acknowledging the necessity for quantization is a bridge that just fits the idea of scientific development needed to complete our way of seeing the world at-large. On the other hand, the mathematical aspect of quantum physics seeks to provide answers parallel to the ones required to uncover the aforementioned missing links in cosmological physics. That being addressed, two scientific developments involving two not entirely different disciplines will be had, appropriating the same quantization. This is time-saving as well as less complicated. While Penrose’ intention to contribute to the development of science is meritorious, his proposal’s greatest glimmer so far is inciting a few interesting but as yet unsuccessful efforts in theoretical physics. Ultimately, the scientific investment of the human mind’s indispensable computational functioning cannot be downgraded since this shows the mental complexity leading us to believe that the mind’s capacity can still be tapped to fullness—a condition that’s a prerequisite to engage scientists in an endless pursuit of the discipline’s progress, in a way beneficial to humanity. This utilization of the non-computational ability of the human consciousness may truly be the missing link as regards the kind of physics required to unveil the mysteries of the Large and the Small.
On the other hand, Penrose’ controversial findings affect the way people imagine the deterministic principle embodied in physics and science at-large. If exact mathematics of pure elegance can fall short of describing how the universe really moves after the Great Explosion, then what else can be untrue about our cosmos? The seeming denunciations of Penrose can be likened to the time of Copernicus, who “heretically” proposed a heliocentric universe versus the popular Catholic notion about a geocentric universe. Penrose may not suffer the loathing of the whole Christian world, but surely people who have become so accustomed to the classical physics explaining the movement of the universe will find his proposals suspicious, unorthodox, disturbing to their mindset. Why not, when all along these people were led to believe that this is the axiomatic of cosmology, and then they suddenly get corrected. A redressing in physics in such a way that it is able to explicate accurately the governing laws of the Large far outweighs the persistence of the turmoil Penrose’ proposals has created. It may only take some slow adjustment on the part of people regarding the new approach to understanding the ways of the cosmos. The same is true with the recent retraction by National Aeronautics and Space Administration that Pluto, that tiny celestial body swirling at the obscure edge of our Solar System, is not a planet any longer. Pluto was discovered about 80 years ago, and by then the planetary system was raised to nine bodies. In the midst of extrasolar planet discoveries in faraway galaxies, Pluto is scrapped from the Solar System. My point here is that the constant changes happening in physics as in other science disciplines somehow negatively affect the stature of science as an institution of truth. Our modern world ideologically views science as an irrefutable structure, a body of knowledge that becomes a basis for the answers to practically every question. While indeed there is always a vast room for modification even for science, the modification nonetheless negates the incontrovertible image people have about science. To offer major facelifts to the applied physics of the Large and the Small is unexpected, hence controversial. The people will either dispute Penrose’ findings or interrogate Science altogether, no matter how vital it is in understanding the world today.
All the same, considering the non-computational capacity of the human mind as against computer is basically out of the question. The failure of modernity to deliver a utopian state for the whole of humanity has rendered computers playing second fiddle with regards to thinking capability. Human mind being indispensable in doing more than computing, the scientific side of psychology has enhanced the nature of science. Penrose’ proposal that the consciousness’ might to offer non-computability as a means to surface new physics in explaining the Large and the Small universes is a welcome contribution to science which reeks with puzzles yet unsolved because of the shortcomings of even elegant mathematical accuracy. Other than leaving a gap on the incompatibility of present physics used to depict the world, it is acceptable to generate new ways of possible explanation, especially when these new ways involve the unconventional non-computational ability of the human brain.
Significance in Science and the Society
The technological dependence of the contemporary society will benefit from Penrose’ discovery inasmuch as science, being a composite entity, relates physics and chemistry and biology, et cetera, to each other—thus, these components’ developments are a boon to the society in ways great and small. However, this benefaction is not without a problem especially for the sectors of the society that need fresh adjustments regarding the new means to view how the universe and the atom behave. Since in the long run the fine-tuning will give privileges us a more stable concept of cosmology and quantum physics, the only major problem is how this new knowledge may be accessed by everyone, not only by the privileged few, i.e. the West, the capitalists. The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki proved the deadly face of unlocking the secrets of the atom, and this was only advantageous to the First World countries who used the weapon to advance their subsequent motives of capitalizing on Japan’s nation-building. The world entering the Information Age values data in order to empower itself, but modernity is generally concentrated in the Developed countries only. This means that the Third World societies cannot fully participate in controlling Penrose’ findings or other information for that matter, since mostly First World societies control these facts and theories which they use to propel them toward advancement. The West’ sociological and economic influences on scientific concept building, Penrose’ theories included, renders it impenetrable in terms of taking hold of hegemony. At this juncture, science becomes a tool of the dominant in order to propagate the imperialism over the dominated.
Penrose’ acting on the physical world and changing how the universe should be viewed, create a parallel modification in the nature of the society. This physical reeducation will necessitate intellectual and psychological adjustments to the society receiving it, in much the same way that scientific inventions always create capitalism-associated alterations in the modes of production. Thus, Penrose’ discoveries will somewhat help replace gradually the values of people living in the Information Age. Nonetheless, the allusion to mathematics as an elegant and accurate discipline will remain unchanged, and hence unchanged in the consciousness of the society.
Significance in Science and the Philippines
While the country is still largely pre-modern and just about to partake in the drips of modernity originating from the West, the proposal made by Penrose can be helpful to the Filipino physicists who do not only want to be updated of the path to which physics is leading, but also wish the Philippines to sign up for modernity before the latter ever expires. Since this major work of Penrose tells that there are irregularities in the present state in which the universe is perceived, the country cannot afford to be belated in the increasingly modernizing world. The rest of the globe feeds on information to be empowered, so the country itself needs to be in the know.
Our human resource teems with scientific capacities that almost always get utilized by the First World , which partly explains the pre-modern structure of Philippine society. Inventions like the fluorescent lamp and the moon rover were West-appropriated given the influences the West wields over Third World countries such as ours. Rather unfairly, West-generated theories such as those being proposed by Penrose cannot be molded to fit the context in which our society exists without their imperialistic ideologies not permeating our consciousness. When the possibility comes that a Filipino physicist formulates that bridge between Einstein’s Relativity Theory, Newtonian Physics and Thermodynamics to explain cosmological physics in a different light, will he actually enjoy the privilege of contributing to the ocean of scientific knowledge, or will his likely foreign-bred education, training or practice benefit more by virtue of siphoning off his intellectual discovery in the false name of world development (false because it is more fittingly Western progress)? If ever, these proposals by Penrose will impact a not-so-potent significance to the relatively few scientists hereabouts unless the rate of modernization becomes staggering with or without the help of globalization. Only by then will the Philippines considerably use scientific information to exhaust whatever advantage they promise.
For an economically struggling country with most of its population mired in poverty, a significant component of its people joining the Diaspora and a languishing state of education, the Philippines at-large is not likely to relish such developmental research dealing with unsolved problems in physics. However, in consideration of the attempts to improve the condition of science and education in the country, these are greatly significant. For one, It is already mentioned that the natural scientific inclination of our people is not entirely dampened by the economic and professional exploitation being done against them, so there is still a possibility, no matter how slim, for one of our people to join the race in formulating the corrective physics that will support modern cosmology and quantum physics. Also, since Penrose himself believes that “consciousness is something global,” we are one with the universal rule that the functions of our mind can produce that much-awaited theoretical discovery. After all, understanding defies national and natural consciousness—Western scientists are people capable of indulging in scientific endeavors by virtue of social and economic privileges. The Filipinos, too, can do their own contribution by, say, obliterating the conflict between the principles of gravitational physics and quantum mechanics in order to solve one mystery in quantum physics.

Personal Experience
Reading the book, I was primed with the concept that always there is something new to be learned about physics, be it microphysics or macrophysics. I have a basic idea regarding the pattern of the universe—that is, it continues to widen in accordance to the Big Bang theory. However, I found out just now that its expansion is perpetually associated to space-time relativity. Perhaps like most of the Big Bang theory-inclined people, I also imagined the universe to widen in a flat manner, missing out altogether the possibility of the curvature the universal elements follow as they hurtle along. Indeed, it enriches the imagination to make out a universe gushing not in an even phase but in a flow that carves out volumes of space proportionate to the period of expansion. Needless to say, the E=mc2 expression has a clearer meaning to me now that I can visualize the physics of the universe. I also marvel at the fact that instead of the usual physics needed to explain the cosmos as students know it, a challenge for all physics-inclined is in the offing regarding the discovery or formulation of the right combination of scientific theories to come up with the correct way of dealing with Big Bang. While I am not necessarily a physics buff, who can stop me from entertaining the possibility that with circumstances going right, the formula will descend upon my head and I will be able to put forth the missing link that remains elusive to all physicists? Ultimately, what Penrose refers to as the elegance of mathematics is truly amazing in its accuracy regarding the depiction of the physical world despite the understandable shortcomings. Yes, the Large may necessitate a fresh, derivative physics to explicate it (meaning, the present mathematics governing the behavior of the universe is just not enough), but with such elegant precision and exactness of mathematics, the formulation of new universal postulates cannot be for long, as may be gleaned from the devotion of excited physicists of ample time for novel discoveries. I can just hope that given the likely First World location of the world’s greatest scientists, even the Third World will benefit from these scientific advances so that the whole global society will be justly empowered from newly-emergent knowledge and information.
Meanwhile, my experience in learning the mysteries of quantum physics gave me the knowledge that this physics, as opposed to the classical physics explaining the universe’ behavior, is an entirely different matter altogether. The dissimilarity notwithstanding, I see that there must be a convergence between these two physics, no matter what largeness and smallness form their difference. Because the spotlight of Chapter 2 fell on yet another accurate mathematics that’s quantum mechanics, Penrose believes that the so-called quantum physics mysteries can be solved, although he himself admits that this “is clearly a matter for the future.” For one, Penrose’ proposal in addressing the unification of otherwise incompatible relativity and quantum theories is well-meaning, and if only his idea of reduction of superposition proved to be flawless and, as befits the requirements of mathematical theory development, instrumental in devising a whole new physics, then the difficulty in understanding quantum theory concepts is somehow lessened. In such a case, students like me and even physicists who lament in finding abstruseness with this specialty will profit from the minimized complication of the physics of the Small. Then again, quantum physics to me is not so divorced from the concept of magic: I got to believe that it works despite its strangeness from my world.
The intricacy of the Small is less apparent in the last chapter dealing with the behavior of human consciousness. For a self-confessed non-mathematician like me, mathematics immediately invokes the ideas of computation, calculations, formulas and calculus. Getting reassurance from the book that mathematics can be introduced via a non-computational understanding somehow reduces the figurative nosebleed to relatively uninitiated students like me. Having known that a portion of mathematics emerges neither from computational exposition nor from computational algorithms, I have a renewed understanding that my consciousness and those of other humans can be explained even beyond computational processes. I also understood that this non-computational process helps explain the absence of a theory that connects the physics of large objects like planets and human beings, and of the molecular and atomic objects. I see the effort of Penrose in using our consciousness to expound what mathematical computation lacks in addressing the theoretical problems of the Large and the Small. Moreover, I learned that indeed, non-computation governs my knowledge of the existence of natural numbers—one, two, three, ad infinitum. I have known all along that they have inherent concrete meanings instead of symbolic ones, that there are a number of countable objects. While I can do this human activity, computers cannot decipher the symbolic meaning of such numbers despite its capacity to perform calculations using our numerical system. Penrose asserts how human understanding of number 12 corresponding to, say, a dozen eggs goes beyond the computational strategy to learning. When I assign the symbol “12” in a rack containing said eggs, I am aware that the designated number corresponds to the understood number eggs contained in the rack. Since I am conscious of counting the eggs in the rack, I can remember their number and understand that if one egg is missing, someone must have taken it. No computation is involved in my undergoing this process of the consciousness.
In general, my experience of reading The Large, the Small and the Human Mind is meaningful in that the field of physics continues to take shape as the society modernizes. It is a telling truth that the physical developments have direct and indirect repercussions to me and the society, and have a command in what future the holistic discipline of science is heading.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

you're not dealing with a voracious gapanese clone if...

my penchant for gastronomical stuff being hawked onstreet doesn't seem to let up despite my well-meaning friends' enumeration of diseases i might contract, from hepatitis to gastroenteritis. so many times have friends wrestled away congee, mekekekwek or quail eggs, bopis barbecue, squid balls, chicken balls, isaws of various lengths, liver barbecue and the like (except helmet and the foetal day-old--i feel like being a cannibal just thinking about wolfing them) from my hungry orifice, only for me to continue, say, filling my germ-infested mangkok with chopped onion, cucumber, salt and chili-sprinkled vinegar for my snack of orange flour-covered fried duck egg exposed to edsa's grime and dust and vehicular smoke. this i gulp down with sago gulaman whose "mineral water" is of questionable origin. what the hey, i like the cooling effect of sweet-tasting palamig after consuming sticks of sizzling animal intestines, for instance. did i mention how goto vendors wash their used rice bowl? they immerse these plastic or porcelain wares into nearly brackish water for three seconds, and then mount them onto the cupboard, ready for the next customer.
since liking and disliking are all a matter of taste, i abhor certain food ingredients, and turn up my nose altogether from meals containing tausi (chinese black beans), puso ng saging (banana heart), bayabas (guava), gata (cocomilk), patani (a kind of bean). eeeuuuwww. in 1997, my college classmate panda excitedly told me she has a gift for me, but more as a joke than a spite, the canned good turned out to be chinese black beans, "for escabeche, you know," she said helpfully. she must have read my column at the school paper, and while i was exuberant that my essay was actually noticed, i feared that cannibalizing my life on print has given known and unknown enemies the advantage of what kryptonite will sap up my energy. one time long ago, eating my fish sinigang, i sniffed something in the soup and grew aghast at the visible evidence of horror: guava seeds! my stomach went amiss, and i became bedridden with fever for a couple of days.
round mealtime, give me only spoon or give me death. not even formal dinners can make me use fork, for my right thumb can already serve the purpose of shoving the mound of rice onto the concave of spoon. one can make me go on bare hands or on chop sticks, but the use of fork may be spared (save that implement when i descend in hades, hahaha). this was particularly noticed by the kindergarten son of a burmese la sallian professor, but soon found notoriety when i started digging at spaghetti using spoon.
this is going to be the last of this list concerning my mouth and the stuff i put into it: how i just swallow food after minimal mastication. it must have been my aching cavities of old that rendered me swallowing without giving much work for my teeth to tear, crush, gnash my food. because my digestion is incomplete, my hunky biologist friend intimated, i don't get the optimum nutrients which are secreted in the initial digestive stage, hence my failure to gain weight. if i don't launch into some interesting talk over meal, i can be expected to clean up my plate like it wasn't filled with food to begin with or its content plummeted out of my clumsiness. this i likewise do in my second and third helpings--and throughout three platefuls, i seldom moved my jaw to chomp every mouthful. i'll leave you to think what else i swallow without chewing.

Friday, June 09, 2006

footloosing in the city with my best friend shadow

one person i can swap bodies with and remain distinguished as little gapanese (not the type that goes like, "our distinguished guest of honor is..." but something like, "this is him, accent, exuberance and all...") is my best friend shadow. she is so me in many-splendored ways, from being a teacher, english major, literary person, flirt of the first-class kind and all that jazz.
getting married has her adapting to many modifications ever since. she already bore a son and, like our dear friend boldteeth, seemed to have taken a 180-degree turn to refinement. as for the promising little gapanese, i according to observers have taken the road to perdition, so to speak. all the same, my best friend shadow is the ever unchanging friend who used to hold shouting matches with me at the arts and sciences lobby, collecting boylets with me even before the word became in vogue, joining forces to reap a place in a prestigious quiz bowl, transforming ourselves into just two of our university's answer to the fab four of sex and the city.
when she asked to be chaperoned to professional regulation commission in order to file her application for the licensure examination for teachers, i had to cancel all appointments to be with her. i even assured her that barring all acts of nature, i will keep her company. promise, i'd even ignore gorgeous' sudden request for a romantic date, since i know too well that fantasy won't happen in a million years. which doesn't mean he'll ask me out by the year 1002007 AD, because by then, some extra-terrestial civilization would have excavated his cryogenized body and mine for a cursory study of earth's paminta life-forms. my best friend shadow's husband, in his drunked stupor the night before his wife's departure for the metropolis, feared that i might succumb to fickle-mindedness, being a gay man. because she knew better than stoop to this gender-bashing, she kept mum. i nearly produced for her a dazzling gender-sensitivity trophy.
after a thousand boylets along the way, my best friend shadow finished her business and i begged her to accompany me to hansam's workplace, a mall beside the hall of the city whose mayor wore signature floral polos. en route there, we sojourned at a cd-burning shop and asked the availability of house and club music. praise heavens, we found moony's flying away and dove, milky's just the way you are (but not be my world), bonnie bailey's ever after and a healthy mix of disco staples like songs by madonna, cher and abba. since i felt it was too much to sing lyrics before the cd burning girl, my best friend shadow shamelessly did it in my behalf just so we may include current hits whose titles escaped our consciousness. sugababes' push the button cannot be excluded, for that reminded me of the time when a pandemonium broke out in pasig and simultaneously, an exciting "take care" text message from gorgeous sent me crashing several flights off our office' stairs in what seemed my sprained foot's sharing of plight with the stampede victims. my best friend shadow sang, "l-o-l-o-l-o-l-o-v-e?" and the girl exclaimed, "ma'am, that's ashley simpson's l.o.v.e." i wrote down the title while my best friend shadow busied herself vocalizing a rap song replete with censored parts before the girl, who pointed to me a song title that read, beef. thinking of beefcakes like hotqt, dreamboy, boy-next-door ad inifinitum, i submitted my list to the girl but later discovered that the song by pussycat dolls was in fact entitled beep. a conspiratorial leer transpired between me and my best friend shadow. i had a foresight that a mere mention of cattle meat in our exchange of texts soon will be enough to bring the house down.
on the way to hansam, my shirt which proclaimed "mean people suck, nice people swallow" kept attracting scandalized glances. that provided me the idea of gifting my best friend shadow with a shirt, since it's almost her birthday. she appealed that i should instead buy one for her son, but raving about a bodyhugging periwinkle-colored tee with cute eeyore on the surface, hushed, "purchase this for your godson, but since it's still several sizes too large for him, mommy can wear it meanwhile." the saleslady cannot help but chuckle. hauling our loot, we proceeded to hansam's workstation. i swore to have seen stars twinkling in hansam's eyes the moment he saw me. i introduced my best friend shadow to him and while we erstwhile boyfriends snatched optimum time to update each other with what's going on in our lives, i swore again to have heard my best friend shadow's brain gears rapidly turning round and round. alone in the confectionary section, she confronted me: "are you sure hansam's your boyfriend?" taking a glimpse of the hunky salesclerk at the chinaware section, i replied, "ex-." she insisted, "even so, you had a boyfriend that can launch a thousand bitchfights." i grabbed the bait and philosophized, "bakit, mukha bang lugi si hansam sa akin?" which made her laugh. nonetheless, that brought me to thinking: if a straight woman gets smothered by a handsome gay like hansam (or gorgeous, for that matter), what keeps me from returning to his arms? that answer, i believe, is my intransigent conviction that i can be happy even as a single gay. it's just a matter of surrendering to my growing adoration for gorgeous before i fall in love afresh. then again, i don't have the heart to betray gorgeous' friendhip. so, does it follow i have to settle for the second greatest offing that's to reunite with hansam? whereas i was seated in the avenida-bound jeep in my pensive mood, my best friend shadow pointed to me a roadsign that, according to her, best embodied my current situation that's a teriyaki episode replay, non-straight version. i looked at her reference, expecting it to be "u-turn," but grew crimson in the face upon seeing a sign with phallic overture: "no blowing of horn."

Thursday, June 08, 2006

"walang himala! ang himala ay nasa..."

out of sheer fun and having nothing much to do after doing an editing work, i texted paminta contacts the question "wala nga bang himala o ang himala ay nasa bibig ng bakla?" and with bated breath waited for answers from the quirky to the hilarious. the question was inspired from the story of mama joni's papa edwin who recounted that a gay beauty contestant, in a highly-charged ate guy-fashion, proclaimed to the world, "walang himala! ang himala ay nasa bibig ng bakla!" fortunately, no one among the entertained crowd fired a gun at the witty contestant, unlike in the cult film himala where a fanatic halted the character elsa's twilight sermon on the mount by shooting her in the chest.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

uphill (for y***)

one eve, rest-
less beneath the icy shadows,
i saw you amongst the clouds,
flashing your smile of invitation.
i recognized my salve,
and no pegasus to ride on skyward,
i scaled this snowy mountain
with bare fingers and feet,
frostbites be damned.
all these palms begged
was to touch your visage--
the elixir to heal my angry sores.
up, up i endured
to survive the top of the world
but at the speed of light,
your image swirled
out of reach of hands.
the earth's crest
and the sea level
harbor no difference
for the higher i ascended,
the farther away your drifted.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

kabit: a contemporary application of pinoy adultery

In the unique context that is the Philippines, both criminal acts of concubinage and adultery are being done in a rather rampant fashion, as may be gleaned in one of the passages in Jessica Zafra’s short fiction “Wordeaters.” Note the casualness in which the said passage was mentioned:
“Even as they live together, no one casts an iron stigma on [the adulteress and her lover]. [The society] views their relationship with a healthy pragmatism.”
The Philippines being a Catholic country, Filipino devotees attempt, with varying degrees of triumphs and defeats, to observe conservatism at all costs, more so at the sacred sacrament of exchanged vows. Marital issues are tried to resolve within the confines of homes, with the husband, being the padre de pamilya, doing mostly the piloting. Its former colonizer, Spain, is already liberated by allowing divorce among its married couples with unsuccessful relationships, but in the country, divorce is such a no-no that wives are left with no choice but to put up with their philandering husbands despite marriages gone sour. The Catholic Church does not tolerate adultery because it is a conscious violation of the two commandments namely, “Do not commit adultery” and “Do not covet thy neighbor’s partner.” Since the Church maintains that what God has united by betrothal cannot be torn asunder by man, divorce is out of the question and so it is up to the married couple to bear the sufferance of their disastrous union. Although one or the other or both may find who they claim to be the real person to bring them happiness for life (or be altogether wrong with their perception yet again), they commit at least two deadly sins if they get laid by any person they are not married to. This is especially supposed to be stricter for women who have been commissioned in the Bible to submit themselves completely to the husband, in which case men with patriarchal ideology working in their consciousness distort this to mean that they can do concubinage but otherwise interpret the same as a sort of restraining order for the wives to, say, commit the sin of voluntary sexual relationship with a man not her husband.
The Philippines is a male-dominated society, too, hence the double standards working for married men who engage in illicit affairs with women other than their wife, and married women who carry adulterous acts with men not the one they are betrothed to. Apparently, the former can be tolerated (even encouraged, if only for more macho points) to two-time for as long as they know how to play the game, but not the latter. An infidel wife is subjected to all proportions of social ostracism: calling her names such as the all-purpose expletive “putang ina,” casting her away from where the majority lives, having her undergo physical, sexual and psychological torment and the like. Men still view women as supposed to be as conservative as Rizal’s depiction of the Maria Clara woman: docile, modest, doting to her lover. If a woman so much as experiment, they already violate the Madonna template and therefore assume the image of a whore. For instance, a woman who enjoys sex or is outrageously aggressive before and during the sexual bout has gone the road to perdition, so to speak. They want to subvert the missionary position postulated by the Church and thus irreparably reduce themselves to the status of wild women. Adulteresses are typecast as wanton women for venturing out on a territory only men are ideologically privileged to populate. Needless to say, concubinage is more endurable than adultery. It is not uncommon for a husband to have second or third wife while the legal wife still lives, even keep all of them in a harem as some television human interest episodes would like to expose. Meanwhile, women who are found to be putting birdshit atop their husband’s head are lowly beings who are poked fun at, despised, loathed, or dismiss altogether as worthless women regardless of their academic, professional or social achievements.
Female sexuality always springs from human desire, which is always associated to the body and its senses. That being the case, sex is a basic need but according to prevailing social traditions, should not be done apart from the legal partner. By ideologically conditioning the “female body [to be] the territory that society [i]s built on,”female desiring is largely muted and politicized sexuality empowers males only. This partly answers why adultery has a more intense sting than concubinage: women are supposed to control their libidinal juices over hot men not their husband while men can go sow their wild oats, with less the hassle.
The very bedrock on which the society rests is the family, so the ruinous effects to the family in particular and to the society in general of a scandal caused by an adulterous mother or married daughter is tremendously unimaginable. An adulteress is a big shame to the family that tries to uphold social and religious laws. The Filipino family values honor and reputation, especially its flowers that are no other than its women, and what an ill-repute indeed if the family’s good name is tarnished by no less than the act of consensual deflowering of the family’s women.
As an examination, the following aspects of daily Filipino life are investigated as they are recorded in a contemporary book, a film, a song and two adultery-dealing reports on a celebrity icon and a nationally-sensationalized event:
Forbidden Fruit: Women Write the Erotic is an anthology of erotic writings by Filipina women who cavorted on sensual shores strewn even with controversial concepts like female masturbation, lesbianism and, yes, adultery. From among the literary assortments, a story in Filipino and a couple in English run the third theme. “Sila, Isang Hapon”from the novel-in-progress Sila, at ang Gabi narrates the illicit sex happening between two married heterosexuals, with the adulteress, Monica, lamenting that what she supposed to be an erotic fulfillment with Emil, a man not her husband is in reality the same mechanical act her husband Frank does with her. At the surface, it may be regret that overpowers the female protagonist in considering her supposedly bombastic sex with Emil turning dud, but in hindsight, it may be the guilt of having to get laid at the expense of committing adultery. Another novel-in-progress, Inday, presents the story of a wife who, in order to get even with an infidel chauvinist pig of a husband, will “lie on the bed beside [an American Captain]” and make love with him and “lead [them] both to destruction or salvation--” although in her religious and sociological contexts, it is the former all right. In the same vein, “The Other Regina” is another vengeance story with the female protagonist, Regina, chooses “a better life” than the one offered by her polygamous husband Miguel—an affair with an American who eventually leaves her for another Filipina in New York. For attempting to rectify a sin with another sin, this is what an adulteress gets.
Meanwhile, Mano Po 3: My Love by Joel Lamangan (Regal, 2004) is a film dealing with the adulterous affair of a Chinese crime crusader, Lilia Chiong (Vilma Santos), with her lover of old, fellow activist Michael (Christopher de Leon). As she was preparing to celebrate her silver wedding anniversary with Paul (Jay Manalo), she ran a chance encounter with Michael in Thailand, and so their relationship that was abruptly cut short by Martial Law was now illicitly continued. A terrible intrinsic conflict in Lilia ensued: will she proceed with her adulterous relationship with Michael because “may batas bang nagbabawal sa pusong magmahal ng dalawang tao? [is there a law preventing the heart from loving two persons?]” or will she choose to be faithful to Paul for the sake of her family and marriage? Ultimately, Lilia has to choose her lawfully-wedded husband and her family over her personal happiness, Michael, not so much as the society and her cultural background demand it as her unbraiding conscience eclipsing her raging passion. After all, love in its universality means sacrifice and letting go. Lilia's case shows why it is not just the adulteress' emotions that should be considered but a whole slew of things from her relationship with her husband and family, her status in the society and her personal values. If she so much as carry on with her will, she is going to compromise her marriage sanctified by social law and God's, and her career which earns for her the respect and admiration of the society.
Hiram by as interpreted by Zsa Zsa Padilla possesses sensual lyrics suggestive of an illicit affair between “unavailable” lovers. They only sneak out time for each other, but the persona, the adulteress, slowly falls in love to the addressee despite the passion that can never be by moral standards. The persona realizes that there comes an end to the kisses and stolen time and yet, she holds no regrets over carrying on with her unfaithfulness, her objectification (she being “hiram”) and dehumanization (“hindi dapat magdamdam”) be damned. She goes on to invoke her human frailty of being smothered by passion and of surrendering to temptation (...ako'y tao lang na/nadadarang at natutukso rin”) and, like a typical wild woman of adulterous proportions, won't mind hell breaking loose because it is heaven in her lover's arms (basta't kapiling ka'y langit). The justification of the act outweighs the gravity of the committed sin by the persona. The full text of the song follows:
May isang umagang `di mo hahagkan Ang mata kong `di ka magigisnan Turuan mong ako'y h'wag masaktan Kahit ako para sa `yo Ay `sang hiram At hindi dapat magdamdam Di mo lang alam na kahit pa mali Naging langit ang bawa't sandali Magmula nang halik mo'y dumampi Pag-ibig mo pag-ibig ko kapwa hiram Wala ka bang pakiramdam Di ba ako'y tao lang na Nadadarang at natutukso rin Maiaalis mo ba sa `kin na matutuhan kang mahalin Sa bawa't sandaling hiram natin Di ba ako'y tao lang na Nadadarang at natutukso rin Maiaalis mo ba sa `kin na matutuhan kang mahalin Sa bawa't sandaling hiram natin hah hoo May isang umagang `di mo hahagkan Ang mata kong `di ka magigisnan Turuan mong ako'y h'wag masaktan Kahit ako para sa `yo Ay `sang hiram At hindi dapat magdamdam O hiram na kung hiram bawa't saglit Wala ako isa mang hinanakit Basta't kapiling ka'y langit Walang sa `yo ay papalit Hinding-hindi ako sa `yo magdaramdam Kahit hiram…hiram
The song Hiram was used as a soundtrack to the wildly successful television soap of the same title, which stars the ever controversial, former presidential daughter Kris Aquino. This is a befitting segue as Kris herself carried on an adulterous love with Joey Marquez that whipped all of Philippine media into frenzy. While the hot item has since died down and the popular show host-actress is now blissfully married to cager James Yap, the celebrity icon confessed to having Alma Moreno's former husband as her greatest love. Kris' brazenness in her previous, tabloid-and-rumor-mills-material love affairs with older, married men did not cast her in bad light, nevertheless; puhlic trust on her did not wane as may be gleaned by her more in-demand multimedia advertorial image. However, it should be considered that public personalities such as celebrities and politicians are likely to be condoned for their misdeeds by their starstruck followers. For these admirers, it does not matter who these personalities do extramaritally but who they are as the public imagines them. It is easier for popular icons like Kris to get away from being pelted with stones than the average adulteress.

Jessica Zafra, “Wordeaters.” In Manananggal Terrorizes Manila an Other Stories (Pasig: Anvil, 1992). p. 6.

Jan Campbell, Arguing with the Phallus: Feminist, Queer and Postcolonial Theory (New York: Zed, 2000). p.25.

Lualhati Bautista. In Forbidden Fruit: Women Write the Erotic. Tina Cuyugan, ed. (Pasig: Anvil, 1992). pp. 40-47.

Cecilia Manguerra Brainard. In Forbidden Fruit: Women Write the Erotic. Tina Cuyugan, ed. (Pasig: Anvil, 1992). pp. 64-67.

Susan Lara. In Forbidden Fruit: Women Write the Erotic. Tina Cuyugan, ed. (Pasig: Anvil, 1992). pp. 69-73.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

my mutant brothers

i saw it coming, this loss of wallet and i'm thankful i just lost a replaceable atm card and a few unimportant items like expired company card, membership cards, computer repair receipt, negligible phone battery and duplicate keys. yeah, i may have lost a few bills too with which i could get home, but i have contacts nearby up campus who readily hitched me along. what i didn't expect was the bad luck following the heel of that embodied by my disappeared money keeper.
my new employer informed me that i was to be appointed to an overseas teaching post. this, for someone who sees diaspora as a last career option to take. awesome: i was made to wait till late may for my appointment, preparing pre-employment requirements meanwhile, and i was being asked to limit my choices. fancy thinking i would grovel upon the company's feet and beg for a local post. enough with sadomasochism outside the bedroom.
so sulking i went to a theater to catch three consecutive screenings of x-men 3 which i, like gorgeous, cannot let pass unwatched. when gorgeous told me he could miss da vinci code but not this legend of our generation, i had to miss the controversial film starring tom hanks and stand not to miss hugh jackman in his reprisal of the role wolverine in this final installment of the marvel trilogy. mutants and gays--who cannot miss the analogy? both attempt to assert their identity in a world custom-built for their "others."

Friday, June 02, 2006

a comparative discussion of traditional and modernist perspective of sikhism’s history and beliefs

The history and beliefs of Sikhism according to the Singh Sabha tradition date back to the time of Guru Nanak or more than five hundred years ago. Lest the Sikh identity dissolve in the midst of the dominant Hindu society, the nineteenth century revivalist group practiced a conventional system of how Sikhs should go about with the religion, how they should dress and how they should act according to the norms of Guru Nanak’s time. Sikhs’ observance of their rituals is nonnegotiable—meaning, Sikhism should be viewed as a non-evolutionary religion. Modern Sikhs still interpret that the Singh Sabha tradition should be upheld no matter what.
Meanwhile, the academic work of W.H. McLeod offers an alternative perspective regarding Sikhism’s history and beliefs as evolutionary. The scholarly research of Mcleod argues that the religion in question was spawned by the mother Indian tradition that is the Sant convention. The mystery, philosophy and social customs supposedly inherent to Sikhism are in fact diverted from Sant movement. Nanak himself was a philosopher known for his link to the said parent religion, whose golden age saw light during Nanak’s time.
The Singh Sabha organization claims a simplistic view of Sikh history to show that there is hardly a major change between Nanak’s time’s disciples and the modern believers. For one, Nanak’s soteriological message is deemed original, unencumbered by the dynamic socio-historical milieus time after time. This attempt to be preservative is understandable since orthodoxy in religion is necessary to keep the faithful within the thrall of traditionalism. Whatever is the interpretation of the philosophy and concerns of Sikhism, the guru’s transmission is as universal and as original as it should be.
Meanwhile, the more historically plausible study proposes that Nanak’s soteriological message, for one, is comparable to Gobind Singh’s social message, citing that their philosophical tangency may have been drawn in some ancient teachings. From a pacified, guru-bhakti organization tied up with Sant tradition, Sikhism bloomed into a religious system that evolved by sourcing out teachings over the half millennium from the mother institution, in response to the needs of the socio-historical context. To cite an example, the harmonization of Islam and Hinduism is not an original idea bent on advancing a unifying Sikh doctrine. It was more like the two religions were inadequate to redeem a believer’s spirit unlike the Sant customs, which saturated Nanak by virtue of customs such as meditation, ethereal discourse and rejection of the caste, face-value rituals and of worldliness.
It is not beyond anyone (save for conservative Sikhs) to confirm that Sikhism evolved with history to prove the dynamism of religion at-large.